Advice: Create Layered Products

Project management advice: Create layered products that allow you to release new updates once a month.


I was originally planning to title this post ‘Create foundational products’ and then I quickly realized that the foundation is only the first layer of this strategy.  I’m advocating short, quick releases, in layers.

I’ve found that big, monolithic product releases have several downsides.  They are often riddled with bugs and usability issues, and sometimes require several slipstream releases to resolve all the bad stuff.  Developers bite off more than they can chew, and the product becomes so complex that complete testing is not possible.

Small, frequent releases solve this problem.  With each release, you have the opportunity to fix prior bugs and advance the grand design a little further.  True, you can’t toss out your ‘take over the world’ design in one giant release, but given some patience, you’ll get there.  And the product will be a lot more solid when you finally reach that point.

Start with a simple foundation.  It probably won’t have all the features customers are screaming for, but it gets you started.  Follow up with several small releases that fill in the gap.  Listen to beta users and customers, and build the grand design with their input.  Trust me, you’ll be a lot better off in the end.