The 3 phases for web applications

A colleague at Yahoo! gave in a presentation a short overview of the 3 life stages for weba pplications:

Early phase

Think Brickhouse at Yahoo. Concepts, prototypes, blank sheet of paper, trying new features and new ideas.
The application is in alpha state or not yet live or private beta.
Engineers love this phase.

Squishy middle

Think Y! Answers or  Y! Video
The application is now live and open to the public:  nn million users but still rapidly evolving.
Extremely difficult to work with.

Sustaining phase

Think Y! Finance or  Y! Mail.
Large scale, slow evolution.
Well understood problem, well understood audience
squishy:

 

The middle phase is arguably the hardest to pull off:
  • Rapid iteration
  • Poorly understood problem space
  • Conflicting passions from User Experience, Product Management, Engineering

At Yahoo! (millions of users already existing) many new applications get very quickly moved into this phase.

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