The two biggest factors that can lead to app development delays and increase in costs are poor … [+]
The two biggest factors that can lead to app development delays and increase in development costs are poor communication with the team and constant change in the development scope. Over the years, I have seen numerous startups fail before even launching the product. Delays and redevelopment costs are easily avoidable. Here is how.
1. Don’t Prepare A Project Specifications Document
A project specifications document, also known as a product requirements document, outlines the flow of your app, its logic, features and technical specifications. It includes everything a development team needs to know about your idea and your expectations.
If you are a non-technical founder, don’t prepare this document, let the team prepare it for you. If you do it yourself, you could be suggesting a flow, logic or features that can significantly increase product development scope and thus costs. Additionally, in many cases, it is not the plan you need to solve the problem you intend to solve with the apps.
The right team will ask the right questions, listen carefully and translate your idea and vision into a plan with a higher probability of success while minimizing development time and cost. Instead of a project specifications document, answer these key questions:
- What is the main problem that my app will solve?
- Who is my ideal buyer?
- Who are my main competitors?
- How will my app be different from existing solutions?
- What is my idea’s riskiest assumption?
- What progress have I made so far?
- Where do I see my app in the next 5 months?
- What is my vision?
Detailed answers to these questions are all what a development team will need to get a clear picture about the problem, solution and plan.
2. Create A Wireframe
In addition to answering the questions above, one of the best ways to clearly convey your idea to team members is through app wireframes. There are many online tools that can help you quickly build wireframes for your idea. In fact, even drawing the key pages on a piece of paper is enough to convey your vision for the app. Remember, the goal is to tell your story as clearly as possible not to impose a development scope.
In your presentation, make sure to clarify that the wireframes are for explanation purposes only. The team should turn your vision into an interface and experience that best serves the user.
3. Work With Entrepreneurial Programmers
Most importantly, none of the two steps above matter without the right team. You want someone to tell you how to minimize costs by building only the core features? You want someone to show you what those core features are and how to delight the user? You want someone to create a clear development plan and make sure the project won’t get delayed or go over budget? Hire entrepreneurial programmers.
Programmers with startup experience will help you build a startup not just an app. There are tens of thousands of great apps without a single paying customer and there are thousands of apps that work and look OK but have many paying users.
If you contacted a person or team with a list of features and got a quote right away, take it as a sign that this is not the right partner. Entrepreneurial programmers will challenge your assumptions and plans even if it cuts the scope of their involvement and thus income. Best of all, them creating a plan of action means they understand the project which minimizes the chances of startup failure due to poor communication and misunderstanding.
This initial planning and scope creation period can take time especially if it includes insights about the market and startup launch suggestions for validation and sales. The roadmap is essential for every new venture as it predicts costly mistakes like building an app no one uses.
Finally, one of the most discussed topics about hiring programmers to build a startup app idea is related to fear of revealing too much about the idea that someone can copy it. In my opinion and based on a decade building startups, entrepreneurs should share their idea with as many people as possible.
While someone could technically copy it, chances are no one will turn it into a successful business. The reason being, ideas represent a tiny portion of the startup success equation. Without longevity, a good team, funding and entrepreneur’s hustle, ideas are worthless. When you hesitate to share your idea, you’re betting on the other person taking the next 5 to 10 years of their life and a lot of resources to make it a success. Don’t be afraid to share your vision with the world.