How to Avoid a never-ending Product Development Process
When it comes to building applications regardless of the project that you are working the process remains the same. What varies the most in these projects are the choices that you make and the actions you take (sorry). This varies greatly dependent upon your industry, your product, your team and the resources that may (or may not) be available to you.
The process usually begins in the conception or ideation phase. This is the "aha moment", which can be described as the moment everything begins to make sense. In this moment is probably the most excited you probably will ever be about this idea. You might feel like you finally solved the problem we've all been waiting for, or even better discovered the question to what it means to be human. Nevertheless, this is a milestone moment that you should be proud of. Next steps usually include going home, googling #Allthethings, documenting a tree-stump's worth in notes and seeking out if there are any players within the market.
Once you are confident in your idea, you begin to seek out validation for it. Is this a good idea? Does it solve a real problem? Who is my ideal target demographic? Where are they, and how do I find them? This is a never-ending process, even for the biggest companies in existence, as the competitive landscape is constantly evolving, especially with a consistent flood of new products and clientele from around the globe, promoted through globalization of course!
So far everything that we have covered really only touch upon the surface of the product development cycle. Dependent upon how robust your idea is, it could realistically take anwhere from 6 months - 3 years to get your product to market. There are a lot of factors that come into play that are out of your hands.
- Do you have a team of designers who can articulate your vision?
- What about developers who can build it out?
- Did you consider hiring a product manager, or someone who has familiarity with keeping developers accountable, on time and can act as a bridge of communication between your team?
- How about resources? Is this project being boot-strapped?
- Do you have access to funds? Do you need to pitch?
- Would pitching to an Angel Investor be better for me?
- How about a Venture Capitalist?
If your face is melting off at this point then you're in for a treat, we are still miles away from where you aim to be. This is exactly why entrepreneurship isn't for everyone, while for others it comes natural.
Lets be honest, there is a lot to cover on product development, or for short entrepreneurship, which we are very excited to discuss in other posts later in the future. For now we are going to let you in on a little secret that will not only save you thousands of hours, but will save you thousands of dollars in the short and long-term!
If you guessed Prototyping then guess what, you win!
While it would be very easy to say prototyping will save you thousands of dollars, and countless hours of time and headache, we really need to dig into the details as to why in order to better understand the reasoning behind it.
It's A Communication Tool
Wether you are a first time entrepreneur or a seasoned one, not all businessman are made alike. The ability to communicate and articulate your vision doesn't always come natural. Using visuals to accompany your presentation will not only allow your audience to grasp an idea much faster, but chances are you will get them hooked longer.
What you want to avoid doing is trying take pitch your business idea without one, especially if you are new to the venture business. It's scary, tough to go-it alone, and if you don't have a lot of experience on stage, investors can smell it like blood-hounds and will have you packed and shipped home faster than this really funny (and sad) image of this hamster (below).
For the purpose of development costs, or what I like to call "sizing up your bid", a prototype allows for the agency or engineer(s) to better understand your product. This benefits both parties for a few reasons. It allows developers to better understand your product (huge), which in return gives you a more realistic time-estimation and a more accurate pricing estimate.
There are plenty of horror stories about working for or with a startup, but we hope (and pray) that these problems don't start at the onset. You should start by focusing all of your energy into getting through the early stages, don't worry because problems will surely find there way into your life!
Take the early Wins, Avoid losses like crazy
It's much better to take smaller, easier wins in the beginning while building up your momentum, rather than going for the most difficult parts, which could lead to failure early and often. A prototype usually happens early in the process, if not one of the very first things you could do. It's also one of the cheapest things you will ever do when it comes to building technology. Take our advice, go for the smaller barriers to step-over, avoid climbing the mountains early on. If there is no reason to be stuck in a traffic jam, just avoid it all together!