Building a product or feature is one thing but how you release it to your users is equally crucial.
If you roll out a flaky pilot or update too quickly, it can jeopardize uptake. You need to gradually open it up to allow for damage control.
Here are 5 ways to roll out releases or do beta runs:
1. Exclusive beta
Capture sign-ups & then send a beta invite to certain users with no pass-ons.
If the product already exists, you can run a beta in parallel & invite only loyal customers.
2. Passing Mailman
The same as point 1 but you also grant users a limited number of invites to bring people from their network to create gradual organic growth.
Ex: Gmail in 2005
3. Radial Shockwave
Break up your audience into cohorts based on their usage and engagement. Sort them.
Roll out to the top cohort keeping the count tight. Then, after sensing stability, keep releasing it to the next cohort in line.
Release the update or product to one geography at a time.
Ex: Netflix, common release practice at Bayt.
5. Opt-in beta
Run a parallel beta but open it to all your users with an open option to use either version with a disclaimer about the stability of the beta build.
Ex: HubSpot often does this for re-designs.