In the world of SaaS software, nothing is as sure a sign that a project will fail than calling it The Next Generation. No one wants the next generation of your software! Your clients don’t want The Next Generation, they want the service that they’re paying for. If they wanted something revolutionarily different, they wouldn’t be your clients. Your internal users don’t want The Next Generation, they want tools that help them do their job.
The Next Generation is something created by developers to sugar coat a full rewrite of the existing software. The Next Generation has no business value. If you need The Next Generation of your software in order to write a new reporting module, it’s a sign you’ve given up on the current system.
When developers pitch The Next Generation they are being lazy. It in an admission that the developers do not understand the business or care about client needs. The Next Generation has no release plan other than replacement, and any theoretical client value comes at the end of the project. At the same time it consumes resources that could have been used to for incremental features or code improvements.
The Next Generation starts with great fanfare, then goes silent for 6 months. Then the team starts growing! Not because of success, but the sunk cost fallacy. The company has spent so much and things are so close. Good money after bad, critical months after lost months. Around 12 months management starts to micromanage. At 18 months the project is declared a failure. The team lead leaves. Often the managers are not far behind. After millions of dollars spent on The Next Generation, you’re still where you started.
In SaaS, clients are buying This Generation. If your developers are done with This Generation, you don’t need The Next Generation, you need to find your Best Alternative to a Total Rewrite!