Has the value of the big product launch changed in an era of continuous deployment, lean startup, and ongoing experimentation?
I think all the wonderful innovations in CI/CD (both tools and mindset) have confused many discussions around the proper pace of business process change and change management.
- Prospects and customers can only process so much change. A launch is one great way to focus interest, be it a new product or new company. No matter how many features you launch in the days and weeks after.
- Quarterly updates are a good way to focus on incremental change — even if in reality, you push new code every day. You can get customers ready ahead of time, send out release notes, and keep most new feature off by default.
- And annual releases are about all the core process changes most customers want. New UI/UX “improvements” (that many may not want). Core changes to how the heart of the product works. Etc. Once a year is plenty — even if you launched 100 new features along the way.
At least if you sell to businesses — concentrate your nominal releases, launches and product announcements to annual and quarterly. No matter how often you actually push code to production. Any more than that will overwhelm many of your stakeholders who simply want to dial in a new process — and have it work seamlessly.