Mattermost 3.x is a maturing product and we’re considering a move from monthly releases to bi-monthly releases. We’re posting about it here to get early reactions.
- This means instead of releasing monthly (e.g. October 16, November 16, December 16, January 16…) we release bi-monthly (e.g. November 16, January 16…)
- We’ll continue our existing policy to ship hot fix releases for priority security issues and priority feature issues.
Here are the pros and cons discussed so far:
More improvements - The release process at Mattermost is extensive, including intense manual testing and preparations. By reducing the ratio of release-to-development effort, we can ship more improvements in a year on a bi-monthly schedule than a monthly schedule.
Less work for IT admins - It is asking a lot of IT teams to upgrade Mattermost every month, especially in large organizations. Bi-monthly releases mean less work, and more improvements per release.
Fewer out-of-date deployments - All other things being equal, going to 6 releases per year from 12 reduces the number of Mattermost deployments that aren’t on the latest release.
Easier to accept contributions - Monthly releases means there’s very short windows to accept and merge community contributions. Bi-monthly releases make it easier to work with the community.
Waiting longer for improvements and fixes - If we miss a feature in a monthly release, it could be out in 4 weeks. With bi-monthly it would take 8-9 weeks.
Possibly longer to react to changes - Right now, it’s natural to plan monthly based on releases, using the latest feedback and data available. Bi-monthly releases may slow our decision making if we’re not mindful.
Having too much to document in one release - Thanks to our community, we ship a lot of new improvements monthly, and our team is under pressure every month to document everything properly. If we don’t have a continuous documentation process properly set, bi-monthly releases makes documentation even harder.
We’re thinking of trying bi-monthly for at least a few releases and if it seems monthly is better we can always switch back.
UPDATED: Added note on reducing upgrade latency, thanks to @JeffSchering.