Concept: Small Releases
Related Elements
Main Description


There are many developers who have spent years developing software and yet never had any of it released into use. Fortunately, this situation is becoming rarer, but it still happens. There are many reasons why some software never gets put into production, but often a key factor is the size of releases. Releasing software is much like integrating source code changes in a project: the longer you delay it, the tougher it becomes. Releasing software into production frequently is a good way of getting feedback. Users will often think of issues that they would not have without actual experience using the software. Getting that feedback early enhances the overall quality of the product.

In XP, we recommend release cycles of three to four months at most.


  • Small releases increase feedback. Discrepancies between the system that is needed and the system being developed are found early.
  • Putting pieces of a system into production frequently raises the quality consciousness of the project. The system must consistently be good enough to ship.