BlogDon’t Forget to ‘Release Early, Release Often’

Read this blog if you want to understand why the concept of Release Early Release Often is integral in app development.

When it comes to app development and building custom software, agile methodology is a term you will hear often. Gone are the days of using the traditional waterfall methodology, which had one big deployment with all hands on deck on the release date and all hearts hoping that nothing goes wrong. With agile methodology, how app development is carried out has made a complete 360.

The use of agile methodology ensures customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery. 

In this article, I will cover one of the key principles of agile methodology, i.e., Release Early Release Often (RERO).

What is Release Early Release Often (RERO)?

Release Early Release Often (RERO) is a development strategy focusing on frequent, early releases

Let me try and paint a picture: earlier development teams would carry out large deployments only once or twice a year. During those times, one major challenge was coordinating all the features one wanted to release. If one feature got delayed, everything else got delayed along with it. 

Here’s another scenario: let’s assume that your development team worked on something for eight months only to realize that the release had a major bug. However, your deployment had endless lines of code and pin-pointing to what actually caused the bug—well, almost like finding a needle in a haystack! 

The Release Early Release Often (RERO) approach is all about shifting the mindset away from the want to deliver that perfect app where every feature functions the way it should to delivering value to the customers in smaller iterations. What this means is that with RERO, every development is thought of in terms of incremental iterations, the recent one always being better than the previous draft, so to say. With RERO, development is a permanent work in progress, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as will be explained in detail in the following section.

Advantages of Releasing Early and Often

With RERO, development teams can move away from feature-based releases and focus on time-based releases after the end of each sprint, perhaps! Here’s how you can ensure that the releases are done properly:

  • Decouple features so that one feature doesn’t hold back the release of other features.
  • With Sprints, focus on releasing functioning components of a feature
  • Prioritize deliverables, so they align with your MVP
  • Make it a habit to release on time (a pre-set date)
  • Set clear expectations from the get-go
  • Request feedback from stakeholders 

In case you are still wondering why you should be releasing early and often, here are the benefits of doing so:

1. Creates a feedback loop

RERO helps create a feedback loop between testers, users, and developers. With an early release, users can use the latest iteration, and if they find a feature inadequate, they can respond much faster. Once the feedback is received, the developers and testers can steer the development process in the right direction so that the preferences identified by the customers are addressed. 

The goal of having a shorter feedback loop is to promote faster, higher software quality that better meets user needs and expectations. When you RERO, you get actionable insight into what the users want, and that’s a good place to be in. 

2. Allows you to pivot

RERO gets good features into the hands of users very quickly. If the feature is good, the users see the benefit rather quickly. If the feature is not up to the mark, the quick feedback loop will make it evident, and the development team can pivot quickly instead of continuing further work and building the product on shaky foundations.

With traditional release cycles, it often happened that the development team wasted time and money on building out features that were never used. As they didn’t know what the users wanted and so pivoting became almost impossible.

3. Saves time

A completed feature should ideally be released to the client as soon as possible. Longer periods between releases mean increased pressure on the development team to make the release meaningful–more code, features, and testing. And to add, possibly more bugs and more time spend fixing those bugs!

With RERO and incremental iterations of features that are smaller and can be done faster, less time is spent fixing bugs. 

4. Saves cost

When it comes to fixing bugs, early debugging is critical. Fixing bugs becomes more and more expensive the later they are discovered in the software development lifecycle.

With RERO, frequent releases would mean that the lifecycle of the bugs is also shorter and less time is spent locating what’s causing the bugs, unlike going through 1000s of lines of code like with the traditional release patterns. 

5. Improves User Experience

The crux of RERO is that users/customers have a say and get the features they want as opposed to the development team developing something based on their reasoning of what they think users might want. 

Early releases allow users to test new features in real-time. This helps identify bugs and fix them quickly. After all, no matter how competent the testing team is, certain scenarios are not easy to replicate or even discover without putting the product in the hands of real customers. 

And engaging users means that they feel invested in the development of the product. Users’ satisfaction increases not just based on getting what they want but also on being able to contribute actively to the process. RERO is all about encouraging user-centric development. 

This ultimately means a better product-market fit, more flexible software development, and happier customers. 

Key Takeaway

It is easy to get swayed by the idea of wanting to release a perfect product. And the longer the time between releases, the more attractive the option of holding off on a release until that big feature is ready. But the fast-changing technology doesn’t sit well with this want for perfection. Customers want usability, fast turnaround, and improved efficiencies across the board. So, you need to Release Early, Release Often if you don’t want your business to be left behind in the race to success. 

My advice to you is: Don’t forget to Release! Also, a caveat, beware of the update fatigue! 

Get the Minimum Viable Product into the hands of your customers as quickly as possible. At Aerion Technologies, we help you do just that by helping you not just get to the MVP stage but also manage the releases.  

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