In the last few days, I've heard the term "fast follower" mentioned several times. It's used in the context of an unresolved bug/issue that (supposedly) will be quickly fixed and implemented.

Is this some new corporate jargon? I'm aware of a fast follower strategy, or second mover strategy (as described in this wikipedia article), but that doesn't apply in the context.

  • Maybe they're using the terms wrong. If so, it'll either catch on and become the new buzzword, or it won't and they'll just keep looking stupid. I've never heard the terms. Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 16:59
  • Perhaps in relation to the software being released while the bug will become a fast follower post release... Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 17:07
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    Can you use it in a sentence? Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 23:01
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    FWIW, I did finally track this down. It was one of our project managers who came up with the term to put a positive spin on items that didn't make it into the release. Sadly, this term has caught on and is now part of our corporate jargon, as well as some of our vendors. Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 15:48
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    I don't think this is "fast follower", but rather "fast-follow(s)". Basically, things that aren't implemented in the initial release, but are planned/scheduled to be implemented shortly after that release. (A major new feature/expansion in functionality wouldn't be a "fast-follow", but a simple bug fix might be one.)
    – V2Blast
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 23:40

5 Answers 5


Sometimes a quick and temporary fix is applied to restrict an application to deal with a serious bug. It's a temporary patch, and not a fix. When the fix is a priority, it is often fast tracked and released immediately after the temporary solution. This could typically be called a fast follower.

Sadly, I think this is more a case of the Pointy Haired Boss and his marketers using jargon to make something sound more interesting that it probably should be.

Note: Any comment that appears immediately after my post will not be considered a "fast follower" :-P


"Fast follower" is a code word for we have already failed because we don't take any calculated risks on implementing our own innovative ideas. It means we won't do anything until someone else has succeeded in doing it and by then it is too late in the game.

I worked for a billion dollar a year company that used to espouse this as a virtue. Guess what they laid off half the company ( 900+ ) people in a single day and the stock has been in the tank for years because of this idiotic mind set.

In your case someone is using a term they don't understand in the incorrect context.


The term fast follower is a term related to a situation where there at least 2 leaders in a market. The first is the market leader who will create the innovations and the 2nd is the fast follower and quickly copies the innovations of the leader to maintain its position in the market.


From a software engineering prospective, a fast follower is usually a term for a release that happens after a major release. Let's say a team has been working on a big release for 6 months. 10 days before the release, someone discovers an issue. Rather than delaying the 6-month effort release, a new ticket is created that will address the issue.

Manager: "We are going to address the issue with a fast follower after the main release on June 1."

Other jargon for this includes hot-fix and production patch. Typically, the fast follower is released within days/weeks (instead of months) instead of planned releases.

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    +1 It can also be used in reference to a feature that isn't going to be released initially. In my experience this approach is used when a feature is deemed highly desirable but not required OR, the feature is not required at the same time. For example, processing transactions of a certain type may have a deadline of July 1, but a monthly audit report for those transactions is not required until Aug 1. Failing to meet a July deadline because of something that wasn't needed until August is, frankly, stupid,
    – JimmyJames
    Commented May 22 at 15:28

I think this has more to do with the business "fast follower" that might be releasing similar software with bugs of the original developer fixed hence taking advantage of an idea and original's problems.

Though I have not heard this used in such a context.

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