A Guide For Startups: From Idea To Product Launch With Software Development Partner

December 17, 2014 1478 Views
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A Guide For Startups: From Idea To Product Launch With Software Development Partner

A good software company is not just a contractor for a startup, but rather a partner. That's what MobiDev has always been. A great partner will provide the startup owner with all of its expertise and grow with the startup, lead it to success by developing a great product. This path is at best trodden together, with mutual efforts. On the contrary, it's bad when the software company has a diminished role or simply cannot fulfill all of these responsibilities. MobiDev set its goal as being a genuine partner for every Client.


Here we'd like to describe the initial stages of building a startup. We'll discuss the most important moments, milestones, considering startups' expectations and the reality that awaits them, showing how exactly a Software Development Partner can help the startup owner at each stage of development.


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This illustration shows the lifecycle of a company from 'courtship' to 'death'. Product development, from idea to launch on the market, lies within first two stages, 'courtship' and 'infancy'.


Courtship: All organizations begin as someone's vision. At this phase, the organization is merely an idea. Generally a need or opportunity has been identified, but no commitment has been made. Initial discussions about the idea are filled with enthusiasm and expectations. Often there is an entrepreneurial spirit associated with the idea. The focus is on the future, and expectations are often overly optimistic. There is an unspoken but nagging concern: what if it doesn't work? Expectations are high. Convincing talk is abundant. The champions of the new organization are trying to convince themselves, and others, that the core idea has merits. Courage and commitment are important at this stage.


Affair: The organization can die before it's born if there's nothing but thinking over ideas, without any commitment to work hard or follow through.


Infancy: At some point, the commitment is made, and the risk is taken. The organization is born. The idea has become a reality and now requires time, commitment and resources. Each day brings new challenges. An 'infant' business needs to be fed. The emphasis is on making things happen, producing results, selling, and surviving. There is little planning, everything can be non-systematic. Energy is high, consistency is low. Firefighting is a way of life. The entrepreneur/founder is the driving force in the organization. This is often a one-person show. It takes dedication, energy, and hard work to keep a new organization alive and productive.


Infant Mortality: The organization may die in its infancy from lack of cash, lack of commitment on the part of the founder who becomes detached, or if the organization remains in its Infancy too long, and people give up (too much continuous pressure on money and time with no short-term rewards).


What exactly do these stages include? Let's take a closer look:


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The illustration shows 5 stages of product development: idea (1), which is at the courtship stage; requirements analysis and design (2), MVP - Minimum Viable Product (3), launch and feedback (4), and depending on the outcome – either a finish or a re-analysis of the requirements (5). The last four stages are in 'infancy'.


Stage 1: Idea


You do not have a company or product yet, you just have an idea! You can but imagine a project in works, you can imagine its result, but hardly anything more. So what are your expectations? How Software Development Partner can help you at this stage?


Your expectations:


  • • What you can get is feedback – a proof of good concept that's worth implementing.

  • • You cannot get the understanding as for the complexity of your project and the estimate.
  • • Estimates are impossible to obtain, because ideas change all the time, and the overall picture is not clear, you don't have a comprehensive specification to back it up.
  • • Therefore there is no clear understanding of the requirements for your software partner.


What can Software Development Partner do for the Startup?


  • • Provide technical expertise and share the experience gained with similar projects.
  • • Evaluate the viability of the project on an emotional level (if the startup is able to showcase the idea, to impress and inspire, it will be possible to sell it).
  • • Create the startup canvas, mission, goals, customers, channels.
  • • Prepare a project scope.


It is important to get as much feedback as possible in the beginning, to evaluate how viable the idea is. At this stage your startup can get free valuable information from your Software Development Partner, based on experience and expertise.


Expenses: $0.


After getting the feedback on your idea, you have to make the decision to start. Take a look at this block diagram and answer the questions that follow:


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  • • Do you feel the same enthusiasm for your idea after receiving feedbacks?
  • • Do you have the time to bring it to tangible results?
  • • Do you have enough money?
  • • How will you implement the idea? Do you need help of your Software Development Partner?


The company is born when its founder moves from words to action, when the risks are taken. Then it moves to the stage of 'infancy'.


Here the everyday reality begins. Dreams come to an end – it's time to act. The charm of romance goes away, you don't have enough time – you need to work. At this stage, you don't have enough money – and this is quite normal. A baby-company has to eat well to grow up while relatives and friends have to endure some inconvenience until its grows up and gets stronger. So happiness is not about the money. But where's happiness at this stage? It is in the work. In the unity. In the enthusiasm for a better future. Thus startuppers try, make mistakes, correct them and gain experience.


Stage 2: UX/UI Design


Here's the transition from the idea to its realization.


Design always has utmost importance because it:

  • • allows you to focus on the users and their needs ➡ you must elaborate usability
  • • overtakes the selling role ➡ provokes the wow factor
  • • allows to visualize the image ➡ receives feedback on the idea
  • • enables creating an interactive clickable prototype, which is the important minimum for investors who evaluate how many resources have already been invested in the idea


Your expectations:


  • • The main bulk of requirements becomes clear for the startupper and the software partner
  • • The startup will get a clear picture, a prototype of the product, and the estimate


What can Software Development Partner do for the Startup?


  • • Write documentation: a detailed specification or a set of standard user stories
  • • Implement the startup idea, taking into account user requirements and sales objectives
  • • Give the estimate
  • • Inform about possible risks: those associated with the contractor and handled accordingly (human factor, dismissal, illnesses); technical risks (third-party APIs, new OS/platform versions); communication-related risks


Remember that most startup owners try to save money and prepare specifications and designs on their own. It's an outstanding kind of homework, since it makes easier to understand the product, and saves time and money indeed.


On the other hand it is necessary to understand that self-made sketches, drafts, non-professional designs are not the ones to live by. Professional designers take into account user experience, the latest trends in design, and they have the ability to make a high-quality prototype.


At this stage requirements become clear and you come to the question:

Should I try to find investors or be a bootstrap?


Expenses: $2500 and up.


Stage 3: MVP Development


Making an MVP is a good practice in software development for startups. This is the minimum functionality product that allows you to get meaningful feedback from the market.


M (minimum) means cheap, you can save money.

V (viable) means it must be beneficial and functional. You must find a balance between minimum and viable.

P (product) means the product that comes to the market, therefore it must have worthy quality. Minor bugs are generally accepted, but not critical crashes! Quality assurance and beta testing requires expenses.


An alternative option would be to release a demo that you can show to investors privately. Demo is an advanced prototype, and can be a good idea in case you have a very small budget.


Your expectations:


  • • Establishing the development process
  • • Getting a product that's ready for release


What can Software Development Partner do for the Startup?


  • • Implement the product
  • • Generate ideas, offer implementation options
  • • Give examples of other successful products on the market, based on the experience
  • • Adapt the development process to the peculiarities of your business – make the process easy and efficient for you. Choosing suitable methodologies (e.g. Agile, Scrum, Kanban) and tools (e.g. Jira, Redmine, Trello, Git, Jenkins)


Please note that at the MVP stage you have to take the following steps:

  • • Determine the release date (linking to the routine life of users)
  • • Think over promotion, marketing and advertising campaign
  • • Prepare servers and staff that will gather and handle user feedback
  • • Consider analytics to track the success of your product
  • • Monitor the comments and react instantly


Expenses: $10000 and up.


Step 4: Product Launch & Feedback


This is the first test on the market. You should be prepared for the cruel reality and discard the romance.


Your expectations:


  • • You can't know whether the market has a warm welcome for your product. It's no bed of roses, and users tend to be very skeptical and demanding.


What can Software Development Partner do for the Startup?


  • • Implement the data collection tools
  • • Track feedback and respond
  • • Conduct further product support, implementation of new features


Expenses: marketing – $0 and up; servers and support – $120-1200.


Your Software Development Partner is always interested in your success. This is our philosophy at MobiDev. You should listen to the advice, use our expertise to the full, and communicate thoroughly to make a product of excellent quality. Growing unique and successful products is our mutual goal. Always have an ace up your sleeve and a plan B to back it up. For our part, we'll do everything to make your product grow healthy and strong. Contact us with any further questions, we'll be glad to help you.

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