WebRTC Expert Feature

May 15, 2013

Is WebRTC Not a Candidate for Lean Development?

Sometimes a term gets popular and the meaning gets lost. “Lean strategies” are about how to develop rapidly and cope with feature creep. Associated with the concept is the recognition that failure is a way to generate knowledge and is to be learned from, not dismissed.

In Tsahi Levent-Levi’s article about fast failures in WebRTC, he makes the point that failing fast is silly given the head start that Google has given everyone. A royalty-free codec and code base make it hard to imagine the ways a software development team can fail financially with WebRTC in the early stages. 

Even running the network, in analysis that Phil Edholm has shared, is so much cheaper than existing systems, there should be little chance of a financial drain from letting it run.

Every WebRTC company should have the Field of Dreams view that “if you build it, they will come.”

In theory, if you want to use WebRTC as the lingua franca of Web communications, the last thing you should be doing is closing up things that are not working. In reality, once you have an implementation, if you are not knocking it out of the park, you should have business development working on partnerships to federate your service.

And if the service is a flop, you have enough experience to go off and build something new or expand the features.

The reality is, we are not at a point where failing is an option.

Now Levent-Levi’s view that the big dog usually wins is valid, and we should be looking to succeed fast. To me, that means getting a use case from a customer base that is interested in a hurry. Ubiquity has done that with the financial community; I expect there a few others that have found a niche customer to build out their base. 

Phil Edholm sees the fertile market in call centers and I see opportunity in Web support. I am also thinking speech recognition, gaming and workflow are places where real innovation can break out.

However, for lean development to work properly, the goal is to sprint to working code in a hurry.

So let’s separate the use of lean for development from the adoption phase and see if we can create a fat fertile market of applications all based on WebRTC. 

It we accomplish that, we all will have “succeeded fast.”

Edited by Rich Steeves
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