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Understanding the Importance of Release Early, Release Often


What Often Happens when Commercial Source Developers "Go Open"

This is a pretty common tenet in the Open Source world and where commercial developers often go wrong.  If you are an ex-commercial developer then you want desperately to reach a "1.0" stage or a "near functional", "mostly baked" stage before going live.  You wouldn't want to release something piece meal, would you?  After all -- that's the way it's done

Actually no.  In the Open Source world, that's not how it's done.  The best Open Source projects tend to start small, release early, release often (RERO) -- even if it's only a little bit of functional (but useful) code.  Projects can release anything as long as it stands on it's own feet and is at least minimally useful to someone beyond the initial developer.  Open Source projects tend to evolve as much or more than they are developed.  Most projects are an ever changing, ever morphing response to the constant customer input that "release early, release often" brings. 

The practice of release early, release often benefits you as follows:

For more on Release Early, Release Often, see this Google link [ Go ]

Notes from Personal Experience

Now bear in mind that I am an ex-commercial developer and product manager.  And not following RERO has definitely impacted my own work.  I started writing some Open Source software this past summer and the project quickly bloated into a mass of 1/2 done elements.  Yes I kept it usable regularly but I didn't have the driving force that comes from being Happy and Shiny from user feedback.  This meant that when I hit a snag I didn't get have the incentive to get back to it.  Even when you aren't being paid, knowing that someone out there wants what you are doing is a huge motivator.

Since that point I've cut the project down, refocused it and I can see a release in sight.  Sure it won't work right in all circumstances but getting that input from Release Early, Release Often will keep me and the project on track.