A lesson in release management

One of the first things I remember learning about managing projects came well before I even considered doing so. It came from the lore at the big telecomm company I worked at. They had an old telecomm switch that was doing quite well sales wise, but they had started working on their latest and greatest architecture that would pave the way to the future (which it did in the end). However, they were so excited, they started announcing it to their customers well before the release date.

Well, guess what happened. The customers got excited, too. They didn’t want to buy the old switches anymore, they wanted the cool new one. Unfortunately, the dates ended up getting delayed and that spelled trouble since sales of the old switches were drying up. Lesson learned, though, and you notice a lot of companies holding back release information for that very reason.

Well, I think the same thing is happening to the CDT. For the first three months of this year, we’ve been hovering around the 65,000 downloads mark. It’s not our biggest. That happened last October and November when we hit 85,000. But it was steady.

Well, I just did the numbers for April and found them at a disappointing 55,000. Maybe it’s just a glitch. Maybe people are happy with getting the CDT from other places, like Linux distributions.

But it makes me wonder if this is a side-affect of CDT 4. We’ve been making a lot of noise about it, and we’re finding that a lot of people are using the CDT 4 milestone builds, especially starting at M6 which just happened to be at the beginning of April. I haven’t been counting the milestone builds in our figures.

We’ll see how May’s numbers are, but it would be interesting if we’re seeing the pre-announcement affect in open source projects too. And I guess, why not?