Product Stages

When working on a product, it is good to have an understanding of what each stage of completion means. For different teams, these concepts will vary, but this is the way I like to do it:

  • A development version is a messy thing. You shouldn't expect much from it, and you should be ready for the application to blow up at any time without notice. We never deploy an application at this stage.

  • A beta version is stable, and as far as developers are concerned, it's bug-free. Of course, at this stage, the product needs much more testing, but you should be able to use it without too many issues popping up. You should never deploy a beta version for an audience wider than your beta group (definitely not to your production customers!)

  • A stable version (or final version) is good to go on production, and there are no major known bugs. Ideally, there aren't any bugs, but depending on what you are building, this might not be a reasonable goal. You should feel proud of getting to this point.

You might have a different definition for each stage of your product, but what's important is that your whole team understand what's involved in reaching each one of them.

By the way, trying to keep bug-free versions of your product could be extremely hard, and I've had to relax that constrain before because of multiple factors (time and money being high on that list.) Nevertheless, I always try to squeeze that bug list down as much as I can; there's nothing like feeling proud about the work you do.

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