Working with developers to build your product is no longer just a possibility for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. This is partially due to resources like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer, with which building a team to execute on a product idea can happen quickly, including managing time and billing.
Building a development team can be intimidating. This may be your first time working with developers, or maybe you don’t know what to look for when it comes to creating a great development team.
As someone that is involved in development and project management, I think you should follow these steps when getting started:
Establish your target platforms
So you have an idea for a product. You’ve talked to some people (investors, domain experts, friends, etc.) and you have some validation and support to move forward. What do you do next? How do you know what kind of experts you need to make this a reality?
A good start in knowing what to look for is to decide what platforms you are trying to target, and which ones you want to prioritize. In this day and age, Software lives everywhere from a fridge, to a doorbell, to a phone. Knowing your target platforms can help reduce the noise of possibility.
Is your goal to get a mobile app on the iOS App Store or Google Play Store? Maybe you want a web site in the cloud that users can log into and engage with your service. You may want both! That is perfectly fine, but it helps to go in knowing your target platforms. Making this decision will let you know if you need a Web developer, IOT(internet of things), iOS, or Android developer, or some subset of those.
By prioritizing you may realize just having a Web developer at first will work, and 6-12 months in you can bring in a Mobile developer. Additionally, you’ll have to be clear about the domain expertise you are looking for. There are developers out there that specialize in financial applications for example, whereas others are generalists and can adapt to the industry of the project. Spend the time prioritizing and establishing your targets.
As you continue in your efforts you will discover that building software can be a big lift, so setting goals and prioritizing them will save you from getting crushed under all that weight.
You’ve got your idea and you’ve set priorities and the target platforms. The next step, and possibly the most challenging, is in making sure everyone involved understands your vision, and that you understand what it takes to make your vision a reality.
Give your developers as much information as possible. Your developers are taking a risk as well into agreeing to work on your product. Make expectations and goals clear to your developers. Will they be building your grand vision, just an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), or are they jumping into something that had already been started? Given that, is there some kind of knowledge transfer, maybe documents, slides, etc.?
Giving this information to developers will help them gauge timelines and the effort to get certain tasks done. I have seen many times where conflicts arise because the owners of a product fail to communicate the goal, which leads to developers being stressed out, overworked, and skeptical. Communication and expectation management is extremely important. The sooner everyone is on the same page the better.
Leverage tools to get the job done
After some meetings, your product will be broken into a set of features for a developer. Both parties need to be able to track the development of these features. You need to make sure things are being done in a timely manner and within budget, and the developers need to establish their development process and design the architecture to complete all features.
Luckily there are many tools to help with this process. Some popular Enterprise Project Management tools are Atlassian’s Jira and Microsoft’s Azure DevOps. Both of these are packed with features to run your teams using popular methodologies (such as Agile), set deadlines, track hours, manage code, and even have communications. Simpler tools are also available like Trello and Asana.
The ultimate goal of these tools is to increase productivity and management across the board. Every tool has it’s advantages and disadvantages. I highly recommend newcomers to this world explore Trello or Asana first.
Plan accordingly and hustle
Following these steps will help you start your development process and will help in growing a proper development team. Knowing the terms and using the popular tools won’t make your product succeed. You still need to hustle and stay on top of these tools and technologies.
Need help getting started? We love to help entrepreneurs and business owners develop products. We have implemented these tools and technologies for a variety of industries such as HR, Real Estate, Finance, Oil & Gas. Contact us through our chat service or contact form.