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Effective UI by John McRee, Jonathan Anderson, EffectiveUI Team, Robb Wilson

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Chapter 9. Release and Post-Release

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If you were able to follow an iterative development process, the experience of bringing the product to release should be more pleasant than other projects you might have worked on. Wrapping up a project should be much more like winding down after a long run, rather than making a life-or-death sprint. Releases should be anti-climactic, and anticlimax—the absence of surprises, drama, and uncertainty—is a good thing in high-stakes situations such as product development.

For projects that follow a waterfall or similarly sub-ideal process, releases are often the first opportunities for serious QA efforts, user acceptance testing (UAT), and stakeholder review. In other words, the releases—the moments that are ostensibly the unveiling of a finished product—are some of the first significant opportunities for feedback. The relative lack of feedback during development guarantees that the first release will miss the marks of success, quality, and expectations. This ensures that the unveiling of the first release is stressful and fraught with acrimony; it will be viewed as a failure by stakeholders and users. This underscores the importance of following an iterative development process. It’s natural that the first major iterations of anything are going to miss the mark; that’s the point of iterating—to check in and see how to change course. But if an iteration ...

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