Software Product Development For Your Startup
Alan Winters

The process of shepherding a startup idea all the way to its launch as a software product is a lengthy and perilous one. However, there are ways to smooth the process as much as possible. This is especially true if you have chosen a solid software development partner who will build your solution for you expertly and painlessly.

Choosing the right software development partner is crucial, though it is only half of the entire process. The other half involves developing an innovative and thoroughly documented idea on your end as the startup founder.

Initially, it is difficult to forecast whether your product will be popular with end users and will connect to the market. As a result, the first iteration of the product ought to be able to solve the primary problems it has been conceived to solve without a lot of excess functionality. Choosing a workable scope for the initial version means you can limit your investments, which is a relevant issue to most startups. You can further decrease your investments by outsourcing the project to a company that will become accountable for developing and delivering your working software.

What You Should And Should Not Outsource

One of the primary advantages to outsourcing your software is that you will be freed from the responsibility for handling a number of activities, including:

Office space, equipment, and other procurement
Human resources management, regular workload and salaries
Project management routine and distribution of tasks

While your outsourcing partner will handle all the above mentioned activities, there is a handful of matters which should never be outsourced. These naturally form the core of your startup, and include:

Your startup mission and main business goals
Determination of values brought by the software product to end users
Marketing strategies, promotion, and sales activities
High-level strategy and vision of further product evolution

Finally, there are several aspects which may or may not be outsourced, depending on your personal preferences and business environment:

Accounting and financial reporting
Legal activities and support

Now, let us turn our focus to activities involving outsourcing partners, and how you will communicate with the software development team as you work toward the final launch of your product.

Product Requirements Analysis

At the beginning, the requirements analysis will involve you and your remote outsourced team in regular communication regarding your expectations, demands, and goals. In this stage, you will utilize technical experts to compare tech stacks and come up with the optimal one. You will discuss your budget, the deadlines you need to meet, monetization of your product, and your overall goals as a business. As this process plays out, you will end up finding new issues and considering brand new features for your product.

As a result of this analysis, you will have project documentation at hand. Besides the structured vision, it will cover the technology stack, the list covering supported operating systems, browsers, and devices, and the general functionality of your future product. This documentation will for the backbone of the upcoming project, and will come in handy during UI/UX design estimates.

UI/UX Design

UI/UX design is one of the most important stages in software development. Here is where you will iron out the logic behind your system and resolve any ambiguities regarding your requirements. At this phase, your documentation, however abstract it might be at the moment, will become solidified in concrete and precise specifications for your product.

At the beginning of the UI/UX design stage, you will decide on the scope of the project. This covers the vision behind the product, what it will be capable of, and what resources will be needed to build it. This is absolutely crucial because many of the details discussed at this phase may otherwise be overlooked or neglected as the project progresses.

The UI/UX stage results in a well-determined workflow and a group of files, ready to be implemented.

Iteration-Based Development

At the beginning of the implementation stage , you will have a blueprint which your software development partner can use to start your project.

There are four typical parts of the implementation phase: development of product architecture, development of product functionality, quality assurance, and the closing phase, which includes final testing and deployment.

In most cases, development is carried out in iterations, which allows you to be flexible and respond to any changes in current tech or business environments.

What else can be done for a successful product launch?

While your product is being developed, there are a handful of activities that you need to take care of:

Create a plan for promotions. Marketing should begin well in advance of your ultimate launch date. You will want to begin to engage your well-defined target audience long before you go live with your product. You may also want to consider setting up a beta testing phase with a plan for reacting to user input.

Create a structure for monitoring and evaluating activity of your end users and provide them with feedback means once they begin using your software. This should be considered well before the product rolls out.

All of these activities will necessitate some level of supplementary investment on your part, and they can impact decisions about the functionality and structure of your project. You will want to handle them as far in advance as possible.