I swear I wrote about Release Dates here once before, but based on some of the comments and questions, I feel like I need to address the topic again. My personal feeling is that unless a product is completely finished and ready for release, software and release dates just don’t mix.
Read on after the jump to learn more about my philosophy on Release Dates…
Although we make heavy use of release dates in-house to help us to manage our time, I HATE publishing release dates and typically, we do not do it. The ONLY reason we did it for the eWallet for iPhone with sync is that we wanted to make it extremely clear to people that didn’t know us, that we were serious about getting sync out. And we did it – 8 days late, but we did it! Lots of folks have had bad luck with software developers who don’t come through and we wanted a way to reassure people. As for eWallet on Mac, I knew how eager folks were to get it so I made a guess at when I thought it would be out, but it was always that – a guess.
Here is the thing about Software and Release Dates; unless the software is already written, they just don’t go together. Writing software isn’t like assembling cars where you know how long it takes to do it. You don’t just put the pieces together and it works. Software, especially our productivity software, is insanely complex. Every interaction can cause reactions throughout the program. Throw in an operating system that we have little control over (this is essentially true on ALL platforms) and you add a whole new dimension. Throw in hardware and now you expand the complexity exponentially.
And when a piece of software is done – it’s not done. If you test it in-house and run it through beta testers, you never know what will crop up. That great “Do It Now Button” you designed? Suddenly you discover that no one even knows how to use it. Without warning you are going back to the drawing board and significantly redesigning the underlying code. Or maybe you find a bug that acts like the loose string on the knitted sweater. The more you pull, the more everything unravels.
Don’t get me wrong – we have AMAZING developers here. It’s just that there are always unforeseen difficulties.
Oh – and the biggest danger – you publish a release date and then STICK to it and fire off a product that doesn’t work right! Do that and you just make everyone miserable – you are better off not releasing at all.
So that’s why you typically don’t see release dates in this blog. You probably already noticed that eWallet with Search just appeared out of the blue, and Kings Corners showed up without warning. We just hate to make a promise that we either can’t keep, or that we’d have to cut corners to keep.
In the end, I’m happy to let you know about what we are working on, but don’t look for release dates. The whole eWallet sync thing was an exception to a rule we’ve had for years here at Ilium Software – and one we follow for a very good reason!