18 Dec

For those of you not familiar with the terms alpha and beta, they’re used to describe the state of a software product. When something is very early in both concept and development it might be called an alpha, a first version that has not been fully thought out or developed.

Beta is the next step and in many cases where the software is made available to others, typically with some kind of disclaimer that things may not work as expected, with the hope that people try it and provide feedback so that issues can be fixed. Sometimes software lives in beta for a long time, for instance gmail was in beta for 5 years before Google removed the beta branding.

Having been involved in many software development projects over the last 15 years, I’ve seen projects in many states of alpha and beta as well as projects that have been released. Sometimes alpha software is released as a beta, sometimes beta as a finished products. There are no hard and fast rules about what makes something and alpha version vs a beta version vs a fully released version, and in these days of agile and iterative development processes, those line are blurring even more.

The point of this blog is to use those terms as a metaphor for life, alpha being something that we’re not so eager to share with anyone outside of a small circle of trusted people, while beta is pulling back the covers and exposing it to the world.

I hope to cover specific software development topics as well as more general project and team management struggles that I encounter in my job and hopefully some advice as to how I solved those struggles. Hopefully together we can get our lives out of alpha and into beta.

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