The Kiss of Death – A Full Product Rewrite

There’s a prominent Atlanta technology company that launched a new, full rewrite of their product this year. It was a disaster. I’ve been there as well. In fact, I know of several other software company CEOs who have similar battle scars.

A simple piece of advice: never rewrite a product from the ground up if you have a considerable customer base.

Here’s what I learned when we did a full rewrite four years ago:

  • It literally will take twice as long as your worst case scenario
  • Morale will be significantly affected on the engineering team
  • Sales will suffer as reps continually think the new product is around the corner
  • There will be major bugs upon roll-out, even with significant product QA

Now, we’ve all heard these issues happen to normal large IT projects, but not to software companies that specialize in this, right? Trust me, it doesn’t matter. People are overly optimistic that things get done in a shorter amount of time. My recommendation is to plan the big rewrite but to implement changes incrementally, instead of with a single release.

6 thoughts on “The Kiss of Death – A Full Product Rewrite

    • Thanks Coty for the great links. Two separate people brought it up to me today that the Netscape software rewrite was considered the death knell for the company.

Leave a Reply to Coty Rosenblath Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.