Speed vs. Quality

Efficiency versus reliability. This is one of the main issues that predominates in the modern age of technology. Is it better to release a product earlier and then improve it over time, or is it better to delay a release so as to fine tune the product and ensure that it means all of the initial expectations.

Recently, I have contemplated this with two particular instances which took opposite approaches. First of all, app design clearly tends to lean on the philosophy that the speed of the release is more important because updates and bug fixes can easily be made and implemented soon after the release and can be made continually with only minor interruptions to the user. However, I personally find this philosophy unsatisfactory at times, especially when an update is released for an app which supposedly improves the design but actually also hinders its functionality (thus calling for another update). The YouVersion Bible app for Android, for instance, was rendered unusable in its most recent update due to the fact that it now crashes immediately after opening it. Now, I know for a fact that this app was functional and very well designed before this update. When looking at this example, it is clear how proper care and testing would have made the difference between a useful and a useless app.

In comparison, however, I would also like to look at a very different market, Kickstarter. I have paid the most attention to board game projects on Kickstarter (since playing strategy board games is a hobby of mine), but the debate on quality versus faster releases has been discussed across the board on Kickstarter. One project in particular that lives and breathes the philosophy of quality over the speed of releases is the Alien Frontiers 4th Edition Kickstarter project and the Rocket Dice Kickstarter project. Both projects are reaching toward being a year overdue, but both projects emphasize great attention to quality. In addition to fulfilling stretch goals which were not originally intended at the announcement of the release dates, the designers have taken care to start over with new materials if the samples were not up to standards and constantly having the backing community double check for any errors that the designers missed. This may seem ideal to a consumer, like me, who so highly appreciates quality, but I am still left with a frustrating feeling of how long I must wait for a projects that were supposed to be completed nearly a year ago.

So what can we gather from this debate? The general principle that I can gather is that it is important for the producer to stick to his/her promises. If you promised to create a product with such and such features and with a professional quality, then fulfill those promises. If you promised to have the product completed and handed to consumers for a certain deadline, then meet that deadline. Now, to address the concern of rushed releases, producers must use beta testing and prototypes to accomplished quick releases. As a result, errors are expected, but a much-anticipated hands-on experience can be provided.

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