1. Developing a solution that isn’t scalable. We get it…you can’t wait to get your hands dirty. You’re excited about your idea and now that you’ve found a web or mobile developer, you just want to start coding right away. Plus, the more you delay, the more time the competition has to rear its ugly head. Well, hold on. We’ve spent far too much time cleaning up other people’s mistakes or starting over from scratch. Startups often forget that developers aren’t technical architects (most of the time). And in their hastiness to get a product going, founders often think they can cobble together some basic requirements and end up with a product that’s exactly as they envisioned. Without the proper planning, it won’t happen. The truth is if you spend the time upfront to put together a roadmap that defines all the features your startup team can brainstorm, this will save you time in the back end. By clearly understanding, documenting, and prioritizing all the features for at least the next 3 releases, your technical architect can create a technology solution for you that is scalable and work with you to create a schedule that works for your startups’ needs.
2. Blending make/buy decisions. So you’ve got an idea that has some pretty complex technology needs – the problem is it’s going to cost a TON of money to develop a custom solution for your specific needs. Luckily, there are a bunch of out-of-the-box solutions available on the market that address some of your needs. All you’ll need to do is add a few customizations here and there to the out-of-the-box solution. Be careful. If you’ve got a couple tweaks to make, that’s fine, but the moment you start adding a long list of customizations and large features to a “buy” solution, you’re signing yourself up for bugs, delays to the timeline, and communication mishaps. That’s because out-of-the-box solutions aren’t meant to have such a high degree of customization – what will likely happen is the company you sign with charge you through the roof for the customizations you desire, and you’ll end up paying close to what you would have for a custom solution. Even if they don’t charge you a great deal for your customizations, they will wait until they have an internal product release to complete a version of the solution that contains your customizations. That means lots of delays and frustration. If you’re really strapped for cash, choose the “buy” solution, and make it fit your needs without a lot of added features. If your idea takes off, you can then use the money you receive to develop a custom solution that fits your needs.
3. Overdeveloping without customer feedback. We know you have a vision of what you want your product to be in your head, but chances are, your customers won’t see things the way you do. It’s better to get a basic version of your website or app and have some alpha or beta customers test it out and offer you feedback. We’ve found the feedback loop is the most important component of developing a technology product. Customers are like toddlers – they have short attention spans, want what they want, and will quickly forget about a product they’re not interested in. By getting customer feedback in small, iterative releases, you can ensure you keep them coming back to use your platform and they’ll likely tell their friends about your product. Besides, we’ve seen too many startups fail because they don’t get the user experience right. Even if you have a great idea, if people don’t like using the product you’ve created, they won’t use it. Take time to design a basic solution, and then keep getting feedback on it!