The First Release

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After my last post I got to thinking about what should be in a first release to make it worth the download, worth the “Get” from the App Store.

Sometimes you need to ship the imperfect ship to get it out the door and start getting feedback from customers, but if it’s a dog’s breakfast you are shipping, it will be a dog’s feedback you will receive from your customers.

Some general thoughts on what makes a first release succeed;

  1. Establish Table Stakes – this is the minimum quantity of what must exist in the release to be considered a success. These features must work 100%, be well documented and function as expected, everything else is gravy.
  2. Make Gravy – Table Stakes aren’t always the sexy part of the release, the Gravy is what keeps people coming back and gets them excited. Give your users some gravy so they can talk about it to other potential customers. Gravy can be ideas and concepts that might not be fully fleshed out but there is enough of it there to get the user interested (this is the imperfect part) and get their feedback. When delivering Gravy, you should always be asking for feedback.
  3. Support – First releases with no support are the equivalent of shoveling snow onto your neighbours driveway – not my problem – but it is your problem, it needs to be your problem and you want it to be your problem, because they are your customers.
  4. Next – What comes Next is what defines the first and the second releases. You should always have this clear demarcation in mind when you are building out your first release. You only have so much time to ship the first release and if you know what is coming next, you can start promoting that to your customers to get them excited.

There could be more, but these are the first few items that jump to mind when thinking about building the first release and what needs to be there for it to be a success and get the usage that you want and need from it.

About the author

Greg Thomas

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