Mattermost Team Edition and Mattermost Enterprise Edition now ship new releases every month.
We last shipped March 16, 2017, we’ll next ship April 16, 2017, and we plan to continue shipping Mattermost every month on 16th.
Here are the key reasons:
1) Small improvements sooner – With monthly releases we can quickly ship small improvements and bug fixes in a matter of weeks.
2) Large improvements sooner – When a large feature isn’t ready to ship by our release cut-off date, we only need to wait a month to try again, instead of two months.
3) Higher quality – Running our release and end-to-end testing every month, instead of every two months, means finding issues more quickly.
4) More rigorous prioritization – Short release cycles means we’re forced to select vital additions over ones that are merely compelling.
5) Simple to understand – Saying “Mattermost ships monthly on the 16th” is much easier to explain than a two-month cycle.
That said, this wasn’t an easy decision for us, as there are trade-offs with a monthly release as well:
a) Higher release management cost – Running the process of release, with meetings, checklists and testing, has a high cost, which takes energy away from designing and building improvements to the product.
We’ve focused on automation and streamlining to reduce this trade-off in order to get to monthly releases.
b) Need for notable announcements – Internally we worry when a release goes out whether we’ll have enough compelling new value for people to upgrade. We risk pressurizing ourselves to ship before new improvements are at the appropriate level of functionality.
We’ve decided that we should be comfortable with shipping “boring releases” occasionally, where we may focus a release on creating test automation or bug fixes for an entire release with no compelling “headline” to upgrade.
Overall, we decided monthly releases are best for our users and customers and we’re making investments to ensure that’s the right decision.
As an extra benefit, it does help align Mattermost’s release schedule with GitLab’s release schedule, and they’ve been champions of the monthly release cycle for many years and it’s worked well for them.
Back in September 2016, we made the decision to go from monthly releases to releasing every two months, and in the end, we decided to shift back. We’ll let you know how it goes.
Have thoughts, experiences, or feedback on what frequency of shipping works best for your products?
Please let us know in the comments below.
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