Discussions On The Perfect Product- What do the Founders Say?

In a column yesterday, we put forth a question about launching a product: Should you launch a product if it still has minor bugs? The question, a rather tricky one, brought forth some really thought provoking ideas. Here's what a few people who've been there, done that, had to say:

Gaurav Mittal, MD and CEO at ITCONS e-solutions Pvt. Ltd:

No product can ever be 100% bug free; so if you wait to make it 100% bugs free then you will have to wait for whole life and then product shall have no value to it's customer and some other competitor would have taken a lead already... Remember you still keep getting security and other updates from Microsoft for all of their products launched 10 yrs back...

Ravi Chava, CEO at Metier HR:

the product should have a road map and designed to be modular so that part by part can be built up. At the same, keeping a product in stealth also becomes critical to retain the critical IP of the product so that you do not end up losing the market advantage if you do not act as fast as your competition in gaining the market acceptance.
The client environment would be the best playing ground to understand the end user compatibility and product capabilities to mature the product.
All in all, I agree with the view that no product can be perfect and it is best to launch the product as soon as possible, when the market is ready and you have built enough traction to take you through the drive and consolidate your market presence.

Kapil Kaushik, Co-Founder at Sparsha Learning Technologies:

It is always a good idea to publish a list of known bugs and provide some workarounds for them, so that the users understand that you know the problem and are working to resolve them...it makes them comfortable !

Pradeep Soundararajan, Founder and MD at Moolya Software:

Poor testing of software is the easiest task to do. Just check if things work the way it is supposed to and push it to production or release. Good testing, not to be surprised, is intellectual and different from what most testing companies do.
What I mean by good testing is - to determine risks rather than just bugs. Companies have been put to shame not because they made release decisions with bugs known to them but bugs unknown. The unknown bugs cause a huge problem. If it is known, you could determine the impact it has and make a release decision. So, how do you determine the unknown is the big question every product company has to ponder over.
There is no way you can find all bugs. No way. If someone is telling they can, please run as fast as you can away from them. You could, however, determine risks. Every bug you find is a symptom of a bigger problem. So, instead of fixing the symptoms, fixing the mother bug that is giving birth to bugs could be of more value.
While some people think fixing software bugs are easier if you have an auto update feature, the risk to determine there is - what are the ways in which auto update fails.
For a company as large as twitter, which has one of the greatest user base, had a few bugs in its Android app a month and half back. As a user I don't want to stop using it and hence I updated and also know my colleagues did so. However, for a start up, who is yet to make the impact, losing customers gained the hard way is THE MOST DANGEROUS thing to their future.
In one of the intellectual software testing community, context driven testing group, we think of bug as anything that threatens the value of the product. Rather than saying intellectual, I should have said "natural".
The game works different for startups and multi billion which can temporarily suffer a loss (although it could have a ripple effect).
The other aspect is to determine the cost versus value. You may want to ask yourselves, what is the cost of NOT fixing these bugs. Am going to unleash some secrets (err, what you should know) about how to evaluate the bugs you find:
- Is this going to threaten my reputation?
- Is this going to impact my sales?
- Is this going to cause a user to be irked and bad mouth about my product?
- Is this violating any standards that I should be following?
- Is this causing harm to the existing value I am adding?
- Is this going to make my existing customers shy away from the product?
- Is this inconsistent with users' expectations?
- Is this violating the requirement we had in mind?
- Is this going to add to the trouble of fixing other bugs?

Sriram V Iyer, Founder, United Mobile Apps:

It all depends on what kind of software it is; If it is for a pacemaker embedded in heart, MRI or controller for a fighter jet, then no bugs are tolerable. However for some web based / social networking it makes a lot of sense to ship it fast. Eric Ries says that if you are not embarrassed to ship, you are shipping too late. IMO, if you don't antagonize your users with the bugs and some core features you want to test are done it makes sense to ship.


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