Ballmer Promises Shorter Release Cycles

By Michael Flanakin @ 11:00 AM :: 2376 Views :: Technology :: Digg it!
I'm at Tech Ready this week, which is an internal conference to give the "field agents" at Microsoft an update on things they may not have had a chance to get on their own. One of the nice things that I'll be looking forward to is getting some insight on the future of key products. Not that there'll be a big update, but any insight on the general plans for the future is always nice. For instance, one of the things I'm very happy to hear was Ballmer promising shorter release cycles for our products, which means no 5 year gaps. Now, I'm not sure how this will really pan out, but it's good news. With every system I've worked on, I've tried to get them down to quarterly releases. I like this model a lot. You get things out to the field and customers see an almost immediate benefit, which drives satisfaction up, obviously. With the right staff, it's even possible to stagger development so that you can have releases every 2 months with this same 3 month dev cycle; or, even more to the extreme, one month releases with 3 month dev cycles. In order to do this, however, there would need to be some major changes to how a product was developed and you'd need a very good team that was capable of covering such a rigorous cycle, which most teams don't have. The Windows Live team has been working on quarterly release cycles, from what I hear. I'm glad to see this. Hopefully, other teams will follow suit.