Monday, 29 November 2010

So what is an Alpha Version?

Many software products I’ve used in the last years comes with these strange titles like Alpha/Beta/Release Candidate (RC)… But never once have I seen any definition of what those terms means.

What’s the real difference between an RC and a final release? what should I expect of a beta version? should I even try to use an alpha version?

When coming to release Rapid-Dev we knew that its is not fully ready, so we needed to do some thinking on the exact term to use. On one side the product is clearly not complete (check here for details). But is in in Alpha stage or beta stage? How can I tell the difference? Should we wait and make it more stable or are we waiting too much risking investing time and money in the wrong directions?

For me the most important things is that the product will deliver value to my users and that they are fully aware of its state (transparency).

Alpha Version – My interpretation

When we came to title the release we did so in light of what we needed to achieve at this point. For me getting users feedback as early as possible, is critical. I want to know how best to help our users. even if i ran the risk of exposing a not 100% stable version.

Therefore we released as soon as the version met the following criteria's:

  1. It gives enough core functionality to actually be of help.
  2. it demonstrates what exactly we want to achieve and how we are approaching this.
  3. its stable enough (hopefully) not to annoy too many people.

and that’s what I call an Alpha.

Its all about gathering feedback, that’s the main purpose for an alpha version, it might (and probably) not as usable as it can be, Its probably not as stable as it should be. However it is a good base on which I can start the discussion with my users.

So when you try an alpha version, please invest five minutes of your time to let the developers know what you think, otherwise the main point of an alpha is missed.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Rapid-Dev - A Continuous Testing Add-in for VS2008

Over the last year I have been working on an Visual studio Add-in with the goal of minimizing the waiting time of developers for test execution. I'm happy to say that the Add-in has reached the state in which we would like to share it with other people and get feedback on how they find it.

to get more information about you can either go to:

The site has a short demo of how the add-in fits into the VS development environment (and of course a download link), while the blog will be used to share the story of the product development.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

How not to Organize an Event

I've been running this blog for 2 years now and so far I have kept my ranting to a bear minimum. Today I'll make an exception (hopefully the last one).

I got a distributing call a couple of days ago, telling me that unfortunately there are no more places at the Haifa Agile Tour event and "were sorry but please don't come".

In itself not a big deal, I've missed more than one event dues to space limitations. Getting this calls just TWO days before the event (which I registered a few months ago) AFTER I got a a confirmation email saying "please come and here is where you park" is a just plain wrong.

When you organize an event its ok to:

  1. Limit the amount of people that can register
  2. Its also ok to register everyone and later on confirming only part.
  3. It's even ok to delay the even for almost the last minute while you are doing your best to arrange for a bigger place.

Emailing people saying we managed to increase our venue please come, just to call them so late in the game apologizing with no clear reason is NOT.

Doing so disrespectful and insulting. It clearly states that some sort of criteria was applied other than first in first served. Really the last thing I would expect at an event sponsored by the Agile Tour Organization.

So I contacted the organizing firm and I got the following answer, no nothing unexpected has happened at the last moment, just that they ran out of place and:

Sine this conference is more relevant to people of the industry more that it is for consultants, sadly we had to unregister consultants

That is only "developers" were let in. Agile "Coaches" and other (none potential customers) were left out. since clearly this is less relevant for them.

So here's a couple of questions for Ignite people:

Is that how you regularly do business?

Do you really think its wise to tick of people (specifically the kind that makes a living by connecting to people) just in order to attract a couple more potential customer?

If you are refusing people, why was the registration open while doing so?

And my blog title is IMistaken...

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