Tuesday March 31, 2015

The 6 Stages of Technology

These were originally presented in a talk by Stu Feldman, given at a USENIX conference in approximately 1988 or so...

A "technology" can be anything: software, a technique, a process, a document, a product...

(I think Stu originally had only 5 stages. Either what I have numbered 0 was missing or 2 and 3 were combined. I think this is more accurate.)

I've had this posted on my web site for years, but never put it into my blog. I think it will be easier to locate if it's here.

Stage Description


New / Under Development

Usage: Only the author/creator and/or a small number of "edge" leaders. Use may be irregular or ad hoc.

e.g. for software: Still in planning stage. Developer makes changes as desired. Essentially no support. Documentation is very simple or nonexistent.



Usage: More people (e.g. your friends and colleagues). Use is more frequent, perhaps stil irregular. Still considered leading edge.

e.g. for software: "alpha" or "beta" release users make changes and submit them; send feedback and bug reports. Still little support or documentation, but these are improving.

example: Voice Over IP



Usage: Friends of friends; frequent and regular.

Standards are being developed. Books are written.

e.g. for software: First release. Less frequent changes. Minor support; changes are sent out to users; better documentation.

example: Caller ID



General distribution

Books, papers, talks, reference material are all more available. Minor variations cann be found in the marketplace.

Usage: Widespread. Lots of people are using it (people even your friends don't know)

e.g. for software: Real support; good documentation; regular release cycle.

example: Call Waiting




Usage: People do not have to explain to anyone why they are using it.

e.g. for software: Changes propagated quickly; good support, good documentation.

examples: cell phone



Best of Breed.

Usage: People have to explain why they are not using it.

e.g. for software: Backward compatibility, maintenance releases, better documentation, support, new features, user groups...

example: telephone

A friend added:

This reminds me of my "theory" of product stages.

stage criteria for moving to this stage
----- ---------------------------------

Development -- It seemed like a good thing to do.

Alpha -- Your manager keeps bugging you about when it will be done.

Beta -- Marketing keeps bugging your manager about when it will be done.

Final -- Customers keep bugging marketing about when it will be done.

-- EV

The 6 Stages of Technology ( in category Computerware , Odd Corners , Retrospectoscope ) - posted at Tue, 31 Mar, 14:26 Pacific | «e»

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