Starting something new means you take a particular risk. This applies to anything, especially to business and the development of software solutions for your company. You should know what startup phases exist to properly build the process of working on software. In fact, a large-scale software development project is often considered a startup, especially if you enter a field with few similar software products. So how to proceed with such a task? Who will tell you what to pay attention to and what to ignore? Find out in this article.
What can be a startup? Any idea you have that you would like to implement can become a startup. Often, large companies exist for a long time in a specific familiar paradigm – and then start developing software for their needs. Due to this, they grow not only significantly but also wholly or partially change their view of work and its direction.
Which of all phases of a startup should you start with?
- It all starts with an idea.
Decide on the direction and analyze the trends in this direction. If you still need a clear idea, some tips may help you. There is an opinion that it is almost impossible to invent something completely new. After all, there are so many offers and options on the modern market that no idea can be at least partially different from others. But this is a good thing: by researching the market, you can determine what exactly you would like to change in the currently existing software. This could become your Points of Difference and help your future software stand out from the rest.
In general, there are different approaches to optimization and the creation of new ideas. In particular, there is a methodology of Design Thinking, which helps to develop creativity and look at all tasks in a non-standard way. Applying elements of this approach will become your magic wand for cases when you need to change the way you look at what you have invented.
- Check how viable your idea is.
You should determine what kind of customers you want to see and what problems and pains your startup would help these people solve. First, a survey of the potential target audience will help in this. You can start with in-depth customer interviews if you create software for your existing company. With the help of recruiting agencies, you can easily recruit a few people for interviews and check if your initial vision coincides with how these people would prefer to solve their tasks and problems.
- Think about the safety of your idea.
First of all, register the idea and obtain copyrights for its implementation. This is one of the critical startup development phases because if you have invented a really promising product, there is a high probability that someone will want to steal it from you. In this case, no one will be able to create the same product and say it is his invention, not yours.
Secondly, take care of eliminating internal threats. In other words, draw up an agreement with lawyers on the non-disclosure of information related to your product. This agreement will have to be signed by all your employees and everyone who is somehow involved in the development of your startup.
You may think that the extra “running around with papers” and all this bureaucracy take a lot of time and energy. It is hard to argue with this. However, these papers will protect you and your employees from possible risks. In addition, it is a great natural filter of who is worth hiring and who is not. The lion’s share of potentially dangerous employees do not want to run the risk of being caught, so they will not sign such documents – and will not be hired because of this.
- Hire a team.
If you want the startup product development stages to happen correctly and make sense, you will need a team of people who will work on the project with you. Even if you came up with the concept and have a lot of experience in the field, you will likely need help doing everything.
Another question is how to choose between in-house team and contractor services.
An in-house team is convenient and profitable if you know that in the future, you will be able to employ these people continuously, and the project will not be limited to two or three months of fruitful work. If you want to test the idea, for now, the services of a contractor will be a more profitable and comfortable option because you do not have to look for and hire each specialist separately. Usually, contractors provide services in the form of already formed teams that have been working together for a long time and are sharpened for a specific product or programming language.
- Create a work plan.
Not for nothing, there are methodologies such as SCRAM. Before the invention of this approach, the development efficiency was many times lower, and the percentage of procrastination among employees and misunderstanding of the general workflow was much higher. SCRAM helps to optimize the workflow: it divides the work into so-called sprints – time intervals for which it is necessary to implement a specific part of the tasks. In addition, it provides a clear roadmap, divides the team into functions, and systematizes the work through regular team events. This helps each process participant be aware of what other team members are doing. It helps to know the long-term and sprint goals and also allows you to track progress on specific projects.
You should sit down and work with the future team on the roadmap. This is a work plan with specific (more or less) timeframes for implementing features. You should also set clear goals and define metrics that will help you determine whether you have achieved these goals in the required period of time.
But there is a critical remark: you should not perceive the built plan as the only steady source of truth. It is needed instead to be a guide. There are often delays in working on a startup, and some features are implemented faster than planned. But having a shared vision is essential, and that’s what a business plan and roadmap are for.
- Identify a source of funding.
On top of your savings, you would need to attract investors.
They can be very different: from grant amounts provided by various funds to one or two millionaires interested in developments in the field you represent. But be prepared that every investment is not just given to you: first, you may have to sell the rights to your idea partially. Also, you will sign a contract on the terms of a gradual return of funds or distribution of profits when the startup is launched.
- Prototype, MVP and development.
Here we can already talk about the direct work on the product. The prototype will help you see how the future product will look and work for the first time. But how to start working on a prototype? This is where UI/UX designers who are good at it come in. They would definitely tell you that you first need to conduct a series of interviews with your company’s customers or competitors’ customers. Speaking of competitors, don’t shy away from learning from their experience and avoiding their mistakes. Another UX design tool that will help you with this: is competitor analysis.
After in-depth interviews, your designers can more accurately determine your target audience’s needs. And after that, develop a prototype with abstract functions and relationships that should be implemented in the future software product.
After the prototype is finalized, the stage of development and testing of the Minimum Viable Product often comes. MVP will help you test hypotheses, define core features, and get your first loyal customer base. In addition, you will be able to remove the unnecessary and focus only on the product’s primary functions.
And based on MVP, you can already safely create full-fledged software, refine the logic and expand the capabilities of this software product.
The last stages of development are testing and going into production. Of course, you can improve and scale the idea to infinity. But you can release it from the beta version. A promising idea will tell you when to scale it! Get customers, start covering costs, and think about product development only then.
Who will help you in software development for a startup?
Magnise offers you software development and support services for various startups. Our dedicated teams will apply the best practices, and latest trend approaches.
To find out more details, sign up for a consultation. We will help you go through all the stages of working on a startup easily!