Software development for startups having a high level of chance that you may find yourself quite confused. Things start getting even more when your idea is a part of the Internet Of Things(IOT) solution or includes big data analysis, or requires integration with other software systems.
In this blog, I am going to highlight every single thing that you should consider before start working on your project from theoretical data analysis to hands-on organizational and functionality tips.
It is very important to understand that the process of development of a product is quite software specific development process. Below we have listed a few points that will help you defining product development and so you need to give your attention to them throughout the project.
Users And UI
If you already have an idea for the functionality of your product, then you need to ask yourself who will find it useful. After creating a list of all the various possible users for your product, you need to think about their purposes. If you want to know how exactly each person is going to interact with the product, then you need to create different scenarios that will help you see that what kind of features would make people buy your product.
No matter how rare is it get into that scenario, your product should never impose any kind of complexity on the user. You need to make sure that the UI isn’t overwhelming and navigation throughout the application is well self-explanatory. The visual appeal is essential too, for both catching the attention of users at the very beginning and for making them invest their time in a long-lasting positive impression of your product.
Taking an example of a medical device, you’ll need to think of all of the users who are going to use it. Its users can be nurses, patients, doctors, etc. You also have to think about the purposes of the users using it. If your user base includes a user of different age groups like children and the elderly, then you might want to make features of your product more easy-to-understand with a simplified UI version.
Features choice based on Demand
The list of the scenarios in which a user can be is endless. Yet, you should always try your best to satisfy the various needs of your users. If your product will be too complex then it won’t be successful on the market. Chances are, it might face a problem even hitting the market any time soon since you are going to need a good deal of time to develop such a good product.
Since it is impossible to fill in all the features based on every kind of scenarios, it’s important for you to draw a line and limit the features of your product, so a good option for you is to create an MVP. Firstly, you need to make a list of all the features that are common among different scenarios for different user personas and make the features of that list, the core of the initial version of the project.
Security and Quality
Your software product must be as error-free as possible. Even if you are going to fix the issues in already released product with a freely downloadable update or provide them the next version, the users of your product are more likely to already have a negative image of the product by then and would hardly trust you enough to invest in your product in future.
Furthermore, really buggy and insufficiently secured software also can push customers away from your product since you product can cause them data losses, and the cost for covering things up is something that you might not want to include in your business plan.
So, concentrating on the quality you deliver and the secure code of your product is a good idea, and you can easily do that by developing your product around the guidelines of a Secure Software Development lifecycle policy.
Evolution and Delivery
The more evolution of your product takes place, the more it would be able to cover different scenarios. Besides, no matter how hard you think of your future situations and take precautions, users won’t miss a single chance to surprise you with their unpredictable needs and expectations from your product which would ultimately lead to the creation of even more scenarios.
Technology related aspects
Apart from all the general product development aspects we’ve listed, there are also a bunch of technological approaches which don’t necessarily according to every project but can be applied and taken into account individually.
The SaaS model works for providing direct online access to the content of product software hosted on the cloud servers to its users. It is a very convenient way of product software delivery since it saves you from getting into a lot of product distribution troubles. Moreover, the SaaS model doesn’t narrow your user base or target audience to a specific type of hardware or platform users, as all your customers are just required to have an internet connection and a subscription of your product to use your software. One more advantage you get with this model is the possibility of setting flexible pricing options and deliver updates anytime instantly.
Application monitoring is basically the process of making strategy which helps you track the performance of your product in use and get all the important information about it to form the consumer’s behavior. For example, to address and understand the performance problems of a user, you can easily retrace the code transactions.
Moreover, you can access the review reports of your users on how they interact with the software in order to understand what your users expect from the product’s UI and functionality in a better way.
Integration with different hardware
In case you are working with software application development companies that produce its own hardware – such as Samsung’s smart appliances, industrial machines, or mobile devices – you are well aware of the fact that these devices require specific kind of software to function. The development of product software in this type is quite specific too since the development team of the software will most likely require access to the hardware part of the product you manufacture for complete integration.
You also need to think about the shipment of your product before selling it: if your hardware product is quite expensive to ship then you should look for a local vendor for the trade of your product.
Available for Mobile devices
If your product isn’t aimed for mobile devices, the userbase or the market will expect it to come to the mobile platform also. Depending on the usability of your product, there are several ways in which you can introduce it to the mobile platform. Some of the ways are listed below:
- Make your product adaptable to mobile screens(in case you are running a web application)
- Create a cross-platform or native mobile version of your product.
- You should also try to make a remote app for controlling your product(in case your software is intended for specific hardware)
Organizing product development (Business Perspective)
Whether you are planning to develop your software product from an in-house or an outsourced team, you’ll definitely need to organize the whole development process from the business perspective. Software development for startups requires high precision by a business perspective as many starts up plans can afford to take any loss in the very beginning of the project. Here are a few major points you should take into account.
Management of costs and time
- Value-based Design
If you work according to the research-based strategy, you can concentrate and understand how a product might bring benefits to your company. Based on your own perspective of ‘value’, you can choose the field of interest. Whether it would be competitiveness or the brand image, the ultimate goal of your company will define the feature choice of the product. If you precisely follow the laser-focus approach, you’ll be able to disjoin unwanted secondary features to cut both the time and cost of product development.
- Reusing components
It is not always necessary to create everything from scratch. But, realizing that your product can use an already available platform, framework or services before the launch of development is beneficial for both your company and your product. Your company should reuse as many components as it can unless it compromises with the quality of the company, as this can help in cutting out the arrangement cost and time for new components.
A plan for risks management is always required for the success of your product software development. There are different risks areas which you should take into account such as – time, performance, budget, etc. -and accurately estimate each of them. Once you prioritize different risks, based on their potential damage and probability rate, you’ll be able to develop different strategies for each of them.
There can also be some development vendor issues, such as – improper scheduling, lack of productivity and communication problems, which can lead the whole project to a downfall.
These risks can push back your scheduled release date by some serious amount of time and can make you release your product to avoid the losses but compromising with the quality of the product. For which you need to release software application maintenance programs, and that would surely cost you some extra investment which you might not be planning to include in your budget.
There are many different kinds of decisions, which are so important that they can define the success of your software development for startups program and must be made at the very first stage of the product’s lifecycle.
Before choosing the functionality pack, you need to make sure that who is going to be your target audience and have a well-defined list of all the user based scenarios that you are going to consider.
Focusing on the quality and security will help you in avoiding after release hurdles. Consider SaaS and integration with hardware depending on the type of the project, as well as give monitoring of the software performance and availability to mobile devices a serious thought.
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