A lesson in Big Bang Change, or: We thought this bike would be ten times better than the S2 because we fixed everything”

September 22, 2020 ☼ systemsperfection

VanMoof, the company behind the S3 connected e-bike”, has shared some interesting lesson they learned.

They just released the 3rd generation (S3) of their electrical bikes (the connected normal” bikes have been discontinued with generation 2). VanMoof had with both S1 and S2 some reliability / quality / production issues. No wonder for a company growing like that. So everyone was hoping the S3, combined with more support places, would improve things.

The Verge has an interesting quote:

We thought this bike would be ten times better than the S2 because we fixed everything,” explains Ties, the engineer. But new issues presented themselves soon after the first few thousand S3 bikes shipped, creating 10 times as many customer support calls instead. We calculated in about 1 percent — 1 out of 100 bikes within the first week or so would have something important enough for a customer to give us a call. But that turns out to be closer to 10 percent,” he says. The company’s support team was quickly overwhelmed, creating a backlog of help requests.

The same can be seen in Software. Imagine you fix all bugs and improve many of the things your customers request, but you do so for one big bang perfect next release. Now version 2.0, we fixed all the bugs and added everything you wanted, it is perfect!”. You are laughing, but this was how people were working not that long ago!