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Should Companies Delay Products for More Features? 136

conq writes "BusinessWeek has a piece looking at if it makes sense for companies such as Sony to delay the release of products to ensure that when they do come out they are absolutely top of the line. From the article: 'In the tech world, where consumer trends can rise and fall and product cycles are short, that's more often the exception than the rule. The penalty for a delay can be severe -- even catastrophic. One of the biggest risks in postponing a product launch is being out-hustled to market by rivals.'"
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Should Companies Delay Products for More Features?

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  • Is it soup yet? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:16PM (#15124322) Homepage Journal
    Should Companies Delay Products for More Features?

    Companies should release products when they are *done*. This means that they define a set of parameters they want to meet and then complete them. Putting a product out in a date driven fashion is a sure fire way to release crap that you end up beta testing on your customers while trying to add in new features/technology results in version creep. Want to please your customers and get them to come back for your other products? Release a product when it is done and if you want to introduce new features, that is an incremental release.

    *Disclaimer: This only works if you do not have a monopoly... :-)

    • Re:Is it soup yet? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mazda6s ( 904056 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:25PM (#15124439)
      But to start a project without any notion of a deadline is a sure fire way to never release anything. I believe that projects like this require a "happy medium".

      Come up with a list of features to implement, estimate those features (and those features only), design, implement, test, release with re-assessments (and iterations) happening throughout the entire life-cycle of the project, adjusting estimates as necessary.

      At some point the companies need to publish a release date to the public. That should be somewhere near the end of the project, assuming the re-assessments warrant it.

      Do NOT allow new features. Period.
      • But to start a project without any notion of a deadline is a sure fire way to never release anything.

        I understand his point to be that a goal with a reasonably projected timeframe needs to be set, then met. Forcing a deadline will only result in half-finish crud going out the door.

        To use the aforementioned DNF reference, Id Software releases games when they are Done(TM). Yet they still manage to release them while 3D Realms has gone over a decade without a release. Why the difference?

        The answer is in sett
      • Like you say, you can err too much one way or the other. Apple's a good example of the same company making both mistakes. Before Jobs came back, they kept screwing up their next-generation OS projects because they kept trying to add in everything except the kitchen sink, and ended up with these huge, overambitious projects with too many programmers and too many features which got bogged down. For a while, it was unclear if we were ever going to see a new OS, or if Apple was even going to survive.

        On the ot

    • Re:Is it soup yet? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hotdiggitydawg ( 881316 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:29PM (#15124478)
      ...and in the meantime your competitors have released slightly inferior products much earlier and captured your market share. Then they've used the funds from their initial sales to boost their resources, and started working on the next generation of your product before you've even finished the current one.

      From a customer's point of view, your comments hold water. From a shareholder's point of view they don't. Guess which group of people companies care more about?
      • Re:Is it soup yet? (Score:3, Informative)

        by patio11 ( 857072 )
        You can find plenty of examples either way on this. iPod/iTunes was beat to market by essentially everyone, and they absolutely revolutionized the MP3 player industry, making people pay premium prices for what used to be commodity hardware. On the other hand, take a look at WinZip. WinZip got to market with its core functionality -- zipping/unzupping in a GUI environment -- and approximately nothing else. This would not have been difficult functionality to implement, considering the actually zipping/unz
        • That is very strange, when you can also use the program in evaluation mode just by clicking one window beforehand. 60% of what? Of all people who unzip files? And how many of those people actually bought winzip? I remember in high school a friend who had a program that could get your a personalised password (eg matched up to your name, not just passing around his own password).
          • WinZip was an unbelievably profitable business. Check out it's net profit margin. In 2004, WinZip made a profit of $15.5 million on $24.9 million in revenue. That's a 62.4% net profit margin. In 2003, WinZip made a profit of $16.2 million on revenues of $25.3 million. That's 64.2% profit! By comparison, Jasc had profit margins of only 6.8% in 2002 and 10.3% in 2003.

            From the indispensable A Shareware Life [asharewarelife.com] blog.

            • The profit margin has nothing to do with sales (directly) - it sounds like Winzip had $25.3million worth of sales, which is quite a lot, but says nothing about their market share. They must have spent 35% or so of their revenue on marketing and paying employees, and the rest is profit for them. $25.3 million is pretty small fry for a lot of companies, but for a company that's selling a program, that you can actually use for free, and for which you can get alternatives for free, it's pretty good going!
        • The iPod didnt revolutionize anything except for higher prices. It is a bettr product, but it is a natural evolution of MP3 players and that is it.
      • It doesn't matter that market share has been captured. Superior (read as more usable and/or less buggy) products, all else being equal, will easily recapture market share. The fear that inspires management to rush to market is generally indicative of either a failure to understand the market or the product they are selling.

        Failing to understand the market means that they haven't really worked out who their user community is and it could therefore be questioned as to whether or not the product they are selli
    • Real Artists Ship. But seriously, there is such a thing as "good enough" and sometimes waiting too long is a sure way to someone else eating your lunch. Was anyone really still excited about Starcraft Ghost?
    • I heartily agree. Take Duke Nukem Forever, for instance... A textbook example of how good software is made.

    • Why can't they just do what most open source projects do. Release what is ready, and then when all the bugs are worked out with the stuff that wasn't done at release, then release that. I don't think there's anything wrong with releasing what's ready, and then giving your customers all the new features for the next year or two. Look at the way microsoft does it. They release something, and then nothing, except bug fixes until the next version. Look at Windows XP, it's been forever since they've added n
  • by Lord Duran ( 834815 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:17PM (#15124341)
    You just have to find the right balance.
  • Who is kidding who? (Score:5, Informative)

    by WebHostingGuy ( 825421 ) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:18PM (#15124349) Homepage Journal
    Read the article and the real reason is plain as day:

    "The main holdups were a copyright protection mechanism for the PS3's high-definition DVD player."
    Yeah, right, top of the line cool features are delaying shipment. By the way, I have a bridge I want to sell you; and Vista is shipping this month!!
    • But you have to admit delaying Vista is really a good idea from a sales perspective. They are still selling XP license as well as 2003 license for servers. Hell many people are just now moving to 2003. There is almost no marketting reason selling a new version would net them much more income. What they really need is something drastically improved from XP. Of course they are currently scraping features to get it out the door.. Its not like they are losing money while it waits.
      The PS3 on the other hand is so
    • by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
      I think your quote should read more like:

      "The main holdups were a desire for absolute control over all the bits that will ever pass through a PS3's DVD player"

      or: "the main holdup is greed".

      Remember kids: copy protection is the symptom, not the disease.

    • They barely had any launch "Video" demos that looked anywhere near a completed game (killzone and maybe 1-2 others, the rest were just tech demos) by last month. The hardware is so bleeding edge that they've only just started making the factories. Even if they launched it this spring it'd be rushed with bugs and possible shortages if it were popular.
  • If a company can show sales figures at a particular time in the fiscal year, it may be more of an advantage over the lag in release date. It is a balancing act that is dancing between marketing promises, top line sales, etc. There is more to it that quality and features.
  • If it wasn't for more features, we might actually have to care about the actual tech itself.

    Isn't my Frogger mouse just the coolest thing ever? See how it matches the green case?
  • No (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:20PM (#15124385)
    they should delay until all the QA testing and debugging are done. Adding features to buggy products leads to Microsoft Windows-like products and no ends of pain for customers/users...
    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tktk ( 540564 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:33PM (#15124524)
      QA and debugging will never be done. There will always be some bugs.

      Companies deal with the bugs that will affect a lot of users and ignore the bugs that will affect only 12 people. But the trick is telling between the two.

  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:20PM (#15124386) Homepage Journal
    Purely by chance, this story breaks on the same page as the latest Duke Nukem Forever [slashdot.org] story...
  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by monkaduck ( 902823 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:22PM (#15124399)
    This explains Dunke Nukem Forever! They're just waiting for everything to be developed so they can implement it in!
  • It's a fine line (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teklob ( 650327 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:23PM (#15124417)
    There is no correct answer to this question. If you put out a crappy product ahead of the competition, nobody will use it - look at the hordes of expansion packs that are released for every successful game. If you wait too long, everyone will have settled for what was available. The bottom line is that companies need to schedule a release date and meet it. If they can't get the product out the door with the original quality on the original timeline, somebody is not doing his job and the marketplace will reflect that.
    • If you put out a crappy product ahead of the competition, nobody will use it

      Yeah, like the Xbox 360. (OOOH BURRN!)


  • also known as (Score:1, Redundant)

    by minus_273 ( 174041 )
    Duke Nukem Forever Syndrome
  • Good Example (Score:5, Informative)

    by XMilkProject ( 935232 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:25PM (#15124446) Homepage
    Bethesda is an example of a company that typically waits until everything is 'just right' before releasing.

    The company rarely gives any public information about timelines, they simple say "It will be released when it is done". Which often includes many long delays, but when the product finally is released you can always count on getting your money's worth.
    • "Bethesda is an example of a company that typically waits until everything is 'just right' before releasing... when the product finally is released you can always count on getting your money's worth."

      "Money's worth"? I got one word for you: Horsearmor.

      (Flamebait aside, I mostly agree with you although a better example would be Nintendo, specifically their Zelda series).
    • Re:Good Example (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sholden ( 12227 )
      Yes, because there weren't any obvious bugs in Daggerfall.
    • Re:Good Example (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lando ( 9348 )
      The Bethesda products that I have purchased have all had major bugs that should have been caught long ago. However, I'll agree with the fact that when they are developing code to fix the bugs that they make sure those fixes are bulletproof. Of course, you can't prove any problems with bugfixes that are never released. Bethesda does/did have some nice concepts, but they are not, repeat, not a company that releases quality code. I did like the concept of their games originall
      • Valve has publically stated many times that if they were to ever go out of business they would release a final patch for Steam making your games accessible without logging in to the central network, in case that helps stem any fear you might have.

        I agree that Valve makes excellent games. I do think that they are going the right way with Steam though. It's much easier to ship a product to people using only bandwidth and not a truck. Not only that, without the publisher being in the way, they cut out the mi
        • Yeah, I haven't heard too many horror stories about them yet. However, I would feel more confortable if the code was already done and deposited in a source trust so that it would automatically release on a certain date or when certain effects occured in the future. However, that being said, I don't run windows so they aren't losing a sale on me either.

    • Re:Good Example (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Xugumad ( 39311 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:54PM (#15127001)
      This would be an version of "just right" that involves spending 6-9 months fixing bugs that should have never got past QA? I can't remember all the bugs I've hit so far, but the most recent one is hilarious:

      My character was being used as bait for someone to ambush... the ambush springs, my backup leaps into action... At this point, two Imperial Guards come around the corner and start mashing my attacker as well. This makes me happy. Finally, they defeat my attacker, and start pureeing my backup. Eek, glad I didn't need them for anything important!

      Beyond that; game balance is poor, and clearly intended that you play a combat-primary character. Playing a stealth-orientated character is a painful joke - sure, I can do 3x/6x more damage on my first hit, but I'm still being slaughtered by single opponents while travelling. This is particularly frustrating when I've just fought my way through HELL, got back, recovered, walk outside town and am torn to pieces by a passing WOLF!!! Other times I've become so bored of combat against a single, random encounter opponent, that I've just given up entirely on the game and done something else.

      Oh, talking of balance: http://acidforblood.net/2006/04/09/the-debate-abou t-gender-in-oblivion/ [acidforblood.net]

      In several places missions don't provide options that should be fairly obvious , or doors are plot-locked (*cough* Dark Brotherhood haven *cough*) because they couldn't be bothered dealing with a good stealth character breaking into them.

      Did I mention that the entire stealth system seems to depend on your footware more than anything else? Not to mention, many places don't provide enough cover to creep around, or you are expected to deal with dodging guards that go in and out of zone breaks (as in, doors which do not open, but instead NPCs simply materialise infront of).

      Oh, and you can't kill the plot NPCs, they're merely rendered unconscious, which makes the escort missions a joke. Although the fact that you can fast-travel while escorting someone doesn't really help that either.

      Then there's the points where the game engine holds your character in place so you can't interfere while a character is killed (the start being the obvious example, but there are others).

      Hmmm... found some weird stuff too... broke into the Imperial Palace, pulled a key off a guard, walked down to the entrance to the main chamber, and unlocked the door infront of the guard. Okay, I can accept he didn't stop me there, just about. So I pull my bow out, and try assassinating the head guy whose name escapes me now. You know what happened?

      The arrow goes straight through his head, and sticks in the chair. He continues to ignore me. I empty a few more arrows into the chair, before finally realising that whatever I do, the game won't let me hit someone sitting down.

      Personally, I'd consider Oblivion "barely acceptable" in terms of polish. If Bethesda didn't produce such incredible freeform, diverse games I'd have given up on them years ago. As it is, I'm mostly incredibly frustrated by the wasted potential.
  • Competition? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:25PM (#15124448)
    One of the biggest risks in postponing a product launch is being out-hustled to market by rivals.

    In an industry where there is no originality, only evolution, having your competitor's product out before yours doesn't mean much. People will buy yours if it's better or has features they want. If you're making another XBox 360 but calling it Joe 180, it's your own fault. I for one wouldn't mind things slowing down some, more in software than hardware. Pay programmers not for the final product (or the nth iteration of the product), but for their work on it. Windows' backward compatibility and long next-version-time-to-market is probably the best thing going. Better than having to try to make your product for a particular version of Linux and then right 20 pages of documentation detailing how to get it to work with another version.

    • Better than having to try to make your product for a particular version of Linux and then right 20 pages of documentation detailing how to get it to work with another version.

      This is FUD! You don't need to read the instructions to install programs - just 'emerge firefox', done! Could not be easier. Never had any problems, and everything works just fff#""!#%!"#%
  • by crowtc ( 633533 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:26PM (#15124451)
    I don't see how this is truely a new problem. Feature creep has plagued the software development industry for decades. Considering that everyone wants thier new toaster to properly toast bread, bagels and muffins, the next logical step is of course: how can you bake cookies with it?

    It's the marketing zombies that keep trying to one-up each other adding features and screwing up us programmers. There must be a limit placed on the madness. Get the thing working NOW, then worry about what you *can* do with it later.
    • exactly. a better method is to do something similar to what Will Wright does with his Sims games. he releases the basic game (Sims 2), then does add ons for each new feature set (Sims 2: University, Sims 2: Night Life, Sims 2: Open For Business), charging the customers who want those new features.

      Then, at some point, they release a combined feature set, with all the bugfixes, at a reduced price.
    • Considering that everyone wants thier new toaster to properly toast bread, bagels and muffins, the next logical step is of course: how can you bake cookies with it?
      No, apparently the next logical step is: how can you listen to music with it [wards.com]?

      Now that's feature creep.

  • by geoff lane ( 93738 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:27PM (#15124458)
    You can always make your product better by killing one feature.

    This rule is recursive.

  • Too late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eric Bishop ( 967966 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:32PM (#15124512) Homepage
    If you're asking yourself at the end of the development cycle if you really need some features, why have they survived the design phase?
  • This always comes down to the will of marketing vs the will of the developer; guess which group gets to work late into the evenings and weekends when a release is due? As for more features, it's usually a case of if you put in more features you'll introduce more bugs, before existing bugs are addressed.

    Of course you can tag it 'Beta' and release it, ala http://.google.com/ [google.com] projects!
  • by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:37PM (#15124554)
    I wait until stuff is obsolete to get it.

    You can get obsolete stuff (anything more than a year old now) for rock bottom prices and often you can pick it up off of trash piles for free.

    I grabbed a really nice mf printer/scanner/copier off a trash pile the other day that works great, they even put the manuals inside. It was clean and in perfect working order. I guess they had to have the bleeding edge product of the week.
    Works for me..

    You can't imagine how much cool stuff I get out of trash piles and how much money I save. I wasn't born with the "trendy gene"..

    • You are a very wise man. The problem with a lot of computer products is that they still meet the needs of most users, even if they are 5 or even 10 years old. You would not build an aircraft and then throw it away after 2 years - why should we be doing the same with computers?
    • I'm too late to the game to be modded -- or possibly read -- but I love this line of thinking. It works in pretty much all facets of life.

      For example, 5 years ago, I was driving a car from 1986. It was in great shape, ran well, etc. A buddy of mine sugguested, "Hey, let's go test drive some new cars! Just for the heck of it. It'll be fun!" And I said.... no, thanks. I know there are cars out there that blow mine away, but I'm *happy* with what I have, and I don't want to make myself unhappy by sampling t
    • My basement has in it an old HP LaserJet 4 Plus that came out of a dumpster. One drum kit later, it was working, and has been churning out perfectly acceptable pages for two years now, maybe more. The plastic is yellowed and a bit of trim is snapped off, but who cares? The price was certainly right, and I don't have to by twenty-dollar ink cartridges every two hundred pages.
  • Doesn't make sense to delay the release of a product to put more features in it, when you can just add them on later in the form of an expansion pack for a huge wad of more $$$!

    The trick is to make it just good enough, so that people will want and buy it in the first place, but just incomplete enough as to make the expansion packs really worth getting to the point of being essential for complete fulfilment.

    Best case in point that I can think of off the top of my head is Rollercoaster Tycoon. Good game (if y
  • Decisions, decisions... Release a product before it's ready, and have your crap sell no copies, or wait until it is ready and have your competitors beat you to it?

    Ah, capitalism...
  • ...is to stop blabbing and hyping products when they are still on the drawing board. Look at Apple -- the iPod would have been considered late to market if they had announced it when they first started to design it. Compare that to Sony, which has been going on about PS3 ever since the PS2 hit the shelves. I'm not saying that they shouldn't say *anything*, but that they shouldn't get consumers' hopes up so far in advance that by the time the product is released nobody cares anymore.
    • Sony, which has been going on about PS3 ever since the PS2 hit the shelves.

      Sony has learned a lot from politicians. If you hype something enough, people will gladly bend over to receive it, no matter the ACTUAL quality. They've also been doing this for years. I think claims were made that the PS2 would be able to render Toy Story in real time, and games-on-demand would explode when the hard drive and network adapter were released. Yeah right.

  • Or, like Oblivion, remove content before the release of the game (Horse amror, the Orrey) and then sell it for $2 each just two weeks after the release of your $50-60 game! 3. Short turn profit at the cost of your good image!!
  • It all comes down to the dollars.

    If it will make money like it is, ship it.
    If the problems will cost more than they make, delay.
    If it was promised to the market, ship it (limited release).

    Managers make these calls, not geeks, and there is a reason for that.

  • by WombatControl ( 74685 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:44PM (#15124610)

    The short answer to the query is "absolutely not."

    Adding "features" is the last thing a successful company does. Added "features" are what delineates a Creative Zen or a Dell DJ from an Apple iPod. The former two concentrated on adding a bunch of superfluous "features" designed to placate a narrow audience, while Apple just built the best damn music player they could before starting to add things.

    "Features" are the enemy of a shipping product in the same way the perfect is the enemy of the good. How do you know what "features" are really useful and what "features" are wastes of time and energy. You don't - at least not if you're honest with yourself.

    Successful technologies like the iPod are based on simplicity. Bad products, like Windows Vista or Office, are based on trying to jam a bunch of features down the throats of their users. The iPod isn't a success because it has the most features of any digital music player, it's the king of the hill because it does what it does damn well. Hell, the iPod shuffle is about as simple as it is possible for a music player to get, and that simplicity is why it was the success that it was.

    Good design isn't about adding features. It's about ensuring that every feature is essential . If you're delaying ship dates to add features you think are worthwhile rather than features which really are essential (and those are rarely overlapping sets), then you're doing something wrong.

    • This is interesting to me personally because I work for a contract development shop. This usually means that we're the code junkies behind someone's idea. Now, don't get me wrong, because the project coordinator (not part of our company) is a great guy, but he has a problem with dragging out QA and throwing features in. He hired someone full time for QA (which is good, except for that she just gives me more work to do... --:o), but now, because bug testing is much more thorough (as it should be) it takes
    • There is a big debate going on in the gaming industry right now about accessability. When these things started out, we had a joystick and one button. Then it was a joypad and four buttons. Now we're up to a joypad, four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, three menu buttons, two analog joysticks, and two joystick buttons.

      Put the controller in front of a new user, and they will have no idea what to do with it. Even advanced users are getting confused all the time as to what each button does. I've met h
    • "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

      -- Antoine De Saint-Exupery
    • " "Features" are the enemy of a shipping product in the same way the perfect is the enemy of the good. How do you know what "features" are really useful and what "features" are wastes of time and energy. "

      Because Steve Jobs tells me which ones are good...
  • Sony would have us believe that they only care about the consumers here, and just want to deliver the best product they possibly can. I think that's a load of malarky. Sony has essentially admited that the delays are due to blu-ray, which ads really nothing to the gaming experience. It's not about gamers, the best product possible, or even the gaming division of Sony. The reason Sony has included blu-ray is simply to try to gain a foothold in the HD-TV vs Blu-Ray battle, at the expense of everyone else.
  • Is the cause for delay relatively small feature that can be added without significant trouble, or is it a whole redo new design/rewrite? Is the product completely unsellable or unusable without it? Is it important or just eye candy? If not perfect, would it work acceptably as it is and get an upgrade to be even better in the near future, or is it not upgradable at all?

    I work at a semiconductor company doing chip layout. There's been times when we're close to finishing what we were given to do and marketing
  • New technology is always becoming available. It's always possible to improve the specs of a product by the time its released. Unfortunately if you always try to have everything top of the line, the product never gets released. If you want to ever actually release the product, you'll have to make some cuts. What companies need to do is know what features they want to have and complete it with the best available technology. Constantly adding features to a product that's never going to release (or is going to
  • Iteration is a good thing. The "this will be everything to everybody" model of product development is a tar baby.

    Check out Getting Real [37signals.com] if you're interested in seeing how less can be more not just in theory, but in the real, rough and tumble world o' business.

  • What's more important is that the features you do release work well.

    The only thing worse than a product that is late to market, is a product that is early/on-time, but is buggy. You will only get a bad rep by selling hardware/software with broken or buggy features.
  • Really, how much time a game takes to produce has no relationship with the overall experience the game provides. It depends on the developer.

    Exhibit A: Blizzard and Nintendo. All of Blizzard's games are high-quality because the developers basically dictate their own schedule. Diablo II and obviously WoW have huge followings because they put so many things into the game to keep people coming back. Their releases are few and far between, but you can bet they'll all be worth your money--every time. The s
  • From the article: 'In the tech world, where consumer trends can rise and fall and product cycles are short, that's more often the exception than the rule. The penalty for a delay can be severe -- even catastrophic. One of the biggest risks in postponing a product launch is being out-hustled to market by rivals.'"

    Vista got delayed.... Caution stampeding rivals at the horizon!
  • Why do that when they can just take those additional features (and any they feel like scraping out of the initial release) and sell them as "add-ons" for a couple bucks a pop? *cough*Bethesda*cough*

  • If you turn that phrase around it becomes easier to answer I think. "Should companies rush products to market even though they are not complete?". This happends all to often and we don't like it. A few incomplete products from the same brand and consumers will start noticing.
  • Design the products as per the design requirements.
    Make it *extremely* patchable.*

    If new features are to be included during any time of the release, patch the same to it.
    Even after the release, you release patches to make it jazzy and cutting-edge et al.

    *This needs a VERY solid base design, though.
  • I've spent quite an amount of time testing professional software applications. One thing I have found out time and again is that having all of the possible features does not necessarily make better software - it is just more likely to consfuse the user.

    There is an old addage:-

    KISS - "Keep It Simple Stupid"

    Do your market research, put the features in the customer wants. If the customer wants more features, it can be used as a good excuse for an upgraded version of the software. Above all make sure your so
  • Maybe companies should spend less time marketing their products years before they come out. The hype surrounding new product launches is started long before hype surrounding films (which you rarely see or notice delays in). For film, usually you'll see maybe one "teaser" trailer up to 6 months before release and then nothing until around 2 months before release. In software, it seems like the marketing department hits the press as soon as the developers think about adding a feature.
  • It's sane to delay if a fuature missing is "our main character dies when he's near wall" but it's insane to delay product if you'd like to add "an e-market where you can buy branded underware and send e-mails with .MID song attached"
  • By most QA standards, a product should be considered "feature complete" once it hits beta. If a feature doesn't make it in by that point, too bad. The rest of the development time should be spent in QA, and the product should ship when all of the bugs that were found have been fixed, or reasonably addressed.

    Companies that do otherwise need to address perhaps a bigger problem. *points to management*

    Communication between development and marketing is key.
  • Should Companies Delay Products for More Features?
    Yes, Microsoft should delay Vista to put the features they touted long ago (that we all looked forward to, even if we'd never use Windows) that they since reneged on.

    If that is what you were asking, you should have just asked it. ;)
  • Well, this applies more to software than hardware, but the philosphy of open source is to release early, release often. For closed-source companies, there is still no reason not to follow this. Everyone gets caught up in the feature war, when the user just wants a stable product that works.

    My company is following that philospohy with our latest product: http://www.turnwatcher.com/ [turnwatcher.com]. It's an Initiative Tracker for table-top RPG DMs. The idea is when you buy a copy, you get free, downloadable updates for one

  • Duke Nukem Forever is being delayed is due to the addition of so many new features. I've heard rumors that Duke Nukem Forever is going to be THE best game ever, and also a fridge, stove, and deep freeze killer.
  • Sony's playstation has a pretty long lifecycle, i.e. years. If it is a feature that comes with the hardware itself, it is very difficult or kludgy to add it on later.

    Imagine if the first Playstation 2 systems had a half as much RAM initially? It would have been crazy for the developers to be able to depend on the system specs when the update came out. That's why I think it's a great thing to have a standard hard drive for the playstation 3 and why it might be a mistake to not have i
  • 10 Delay product to incroporate top-of-the-line features
    20 New top-of-the-line features are created
    30 GoTo 10
    40 Never End
  • ...more stable!!!!
  • Seriously, from microwaves to cell phones to remote controls -- it seems that very few companies are actively trying to make their products usable.
  • by jskiff ( 746548 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @06:35PM (#15125705) Homepage
    As other posters have mentioned, the key to releasing a successful product is all about balance. As a product manager, I would love to be able to wait until the product has 100% of the specified features and zero bugs before we ship it.

    That's just not feasible in the real world, though. While first to market does not necessarily provide an advantage, being las to market is a tough hole to climb out of. Additionally, there are always pressures to meet revenue expectations, especially in a public company. This is why I try, as much as possible, to define requirements early, to work with our engineering team early to get initial (and continually refined) estimates, and to know which features I can sacrifice when we get to crunch time and the product has to ship.

    Having worked on both the software development side and the product management side, my impression is that most programmers and software engineers are not aware of the pressure to meet revenue targets. It is the reason (in a lot of cases) why the company exists. Waiting "until it's done," in many instances is just not feasible...at least if I want the company to stay in business.
  • There is no such thing as a stupid question. Only stupid people. Well, "Should companies delay products for more features?" is a stupid question . The only reason a company should delay is if it will make them more money in doing so. Like waiting till Christmas season to roll out a new game. Best to roll out WTF I early and incomplete while working on WTF II which will have cooler graphics but only be marginally better so people will have to buy the newer version. Delays happen for a variety of reasons, lik
  • Why would you want to have the *all* the latest features? What if some of them aren't of any interest to people? Isn't it better to release products with a few features and try to work out based on feedback, what would be of most use?
  • i) Divide requirements into two groups: 'Core' and 'Nice to Have'

    ii) Schedule a realistic release of the 'Core.' Design, develop and test your core to bits. Verify the product against the original spec. Meet the deadline and release a really robust application/device around the Core requirements.

    iii) Now that we have a stable and released core, move onto the nice to have's and release a pricier, enhanced or updated version in the same fashion. Yes, some will be gutted. I was gutted when my GB Advanced

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.