Beta Products – Do We Ship Today or Make One More Improvement?

Working with a high-performance and highly conscious team has its challenges. One of them is to balance the business needs with the desire to improve the product “just one more bit.” Let me be more specific: The team I am working with has a short-term delivery deadline. The deliveries are to early-adopter beta customers who are eager to receive the product, which is a pharmaceutical research instrument. Once the beta products are delivered, the project continues with the tasks to collect feedback, freeze the design, transfer to manufacturing, product launch and sales.

And, this is where the challenge is. Every day the team spends on the beta products, there is a strong desire to make the product a bit better than it was yesterday. Of course, this is the enemy of meeting our delivery date. The product is ready for beta testing in every way and, like everything in life, it can be made better with effort and time.

So, what would one do? Here is what I have done:

  • Make beta delivery visible to the full team – emphasize the business (revenue) and technical (feedback on performance) benefits.
  • Make delivery top-priority and pull in the support of senior management.
  • Assess risks and get agreement on areas that were obstacles to the shipment.
  • Display a high energy and focused attitude to remind the team the importance of delivery to beta customers.
  • Park improvement ideas for future assessment and possible implementation. This way, the team knows that we are not ignoring the ideas.

This approach is working well with this team.  If you have other ideas & suggestions, I am happy to hear them. Please write to me at

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