Smile: Your company is in beta


A message has become particularly common on our mobile screens: ‘update available’. Regardless of the mobile device or operating system being used, users are regularly offered to upgrade their applications for enhanced features. Even if the feature has already been tested by millions of users, its development never ends. This state of continuous progression in which the product is being constantly renewed, now also applies to companies. Welcome to companies in beta! The beta concept comes from the software world, where new products are often launched before they are commercially ready. A beta development tends to be fully functional, but might still contain some bugs. The users in this phase are piloting the product and expected to report errors so these can be corrected. Now, we have become used to the beta phase, which has become the ultimate goal of the company that regularly redefines itself. This has started in the Microsoft environment of regular updates, but mobile applications have taught us that a product can be available that is not completely finished, but meets the needs of a certain number of users. This philosophy is moving successfully into the world of business.The concept of permanent beta has been implemented following the lean manufacturing and lean startup concepts, which advocate that a company does not require large investments and doesn’t need to launch a perfect product. The product is developed in dialogue with the customer, so it can reflect their experience and preferences. Requirements for a beta enterprise: Being a lean or beta enterprise is not easy. Not all companies have the agility required, in particular the management of the company. It is hard to commit to permanent change and ongoing testing when companies are used to a more traditional management model. A few aspects should be considered:

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