I'm old enough to remember the software factories of the early 1990s and the extensive testing of software that was done (excluding Microsoft, of course ... ). Planning and execution was a major exercise executed with meticulous attention to detail by large teams of highly skilled people.
A generation or two on, and I think the game has changed significantly in a number of ways.
Software as a whole feels a lot more reliable today. It's not just that you can see this by looking at how ingrained software is in our daily lives. At how much we rely on it functioning well. It's that in terms of trully innovative new products, the big teams are gone - at least during the stages when these products emerge on to the market. Small, talented, and focused teams are delivering amazing products whether as 'classic' apps, cloud services or mobile web apps like Bridger.
I claim that Bridger is truly innovative but ultimately the market will decide if it is an innovation that matters.
What's amazing to me is that the small team that is Six Degrees Of Data has delivered a minimum desirable product and something so complex so quickly. It looks like a million dollars has been spent so far. That's nothing like the truth - the investment to date is well under seven figures.
We have done this by standing on the shoulders of giants: those developers of open source software and API's. You just have to look at the software components and services that we have baked into Bridger to see how extensive this has become. Take a look at the end of the help texts in the Bridger app.
That is the game changer. I can call on vastly superior libraries and services and combine them in innovative ways with incredibly lean teams. This is an exciting time to be developing.
It is these thoughts that are now making me take a pause and re-think the rational for beta testing.
We are just a couple of days into the beta testing of Bridger but already I'm feeling that the name we give this stage is a misnomer. Our aims are to soft launch and see that Bridger works as we want with a small but growing number and type of users. That's testing. On the other hand, what is also happening is we soliciting feedback not just on how Bridger works, but discussing what it is intended to do and exploring ideas for new functions and directions.
I think that this is leading towards what the lean movement calls pivoting. If enough beta testers say similar things then a pivot to change direction is what we will do. Isn't it wrong to call this beta testing?