Digital Product Startups: How to Avoid Product Issues
JUNE 16, 2019
5 min read
The moment an idea sneaks in the startuppers’ head, it occupies every free space it can. One doesn’t want to evaluate it. One just wants to deliver it on. The entrepreneurs who are led by such a vision are great. They can find thousands of ways to release it. Sometimes it seems like they are out of this world. They don’t see any blockers, only a target. You might have experienced such inspiration yourself while working with startuppers.
Creation of a new digital product is like building a new house. You start with the purpose and the vision of a construction. The next step is architecture and design. The step which results in the creation of the concept for exterior and interior. Only after the listed above stages are completed, a building process starts. If you have no experience in building constructions, you may face a lot of gobsmacking bugs.
Like a “construction company” of mobile and web applications, Dashdevs helps businesses and entrepreneurs to bridge the gap between their idea and realization. Especially we are loyal to startups. The entrepreneurs have innovative ideas, bright heads, and extremely high motivation., Our primary goal is to help companies meet their objectives on time. Because the timing calls all the shots for startups. Your product is thriving for users only during some period and under certain circumstances.
During the last few years, we noticed that our various clients have the same recurrent issues in their vision of product development.
Let’s run through the list.
- MVP and the cost of work around solutions. There is a false proposition that one can develop a small cheap application and build up the functionality after release. MVP means a minimal viable product. It is like a foundation of your future application. You definitely would not overbuild three floors from concrete on the wood basement. The same is with applications. Sometimes startups need to show their investors a reliable prototype of an application to get initial investments. So, startuppers build castles in the air that is based on dirty workarounds under the hud. They get a seed round of investment. But instead of using the resources to rebuild an app from scratch, startups continue the development of unreal castles.
Dashdevs’s recommendations: The wrong approach to an MVP starts from the first steps made on the path in the very beginning. The correct way is to create the design and architecture of an entire product, estimate it, and then reduce the scope task by task. Reducing the scope, you need to keep evaluating the impact of each excluded element to the system in general.
- A monitoring system for your server side. We tried to recall cases when the clients came to us, and the monitoring system was in the requirements list from the start. But couldn’t… Furthermore, we do remember situations when clients have no idea what’s going on with a system. The monitoring system of an app is the same as the surveillance system of a house. You need to know when something is wrong at the moment it starts to happen. The smoke starts before the fire. Implementation of the monitoring system takes time, but it allows you to react quickly when some services are not performing well or are down. The problem is that usually, we receive such notifications about issues from real users. Waiting for real customers’ feedback is a really costly type of monitoring system.
Dashdevs’s recommendations: If you plan to release a successful application, set up a monitoring system from the beginning. This system must definitely have notifications and problem escalation policy. If somebody tries to get into your house, it is not only you who must be notified. Police, security department must receive the message (call), too. On some projects, we have the severity of the issues, and deferent people are triggered when a particular class of errors appears. Moreover, at the moment a problem occurs, we have already had logs and information for investigation and fixes.
- System maintenance. This point comes out straight from the previous item. Situations when we release the complex system, and it lives for years without any support from the tech side are really rare. Even Stonehenge requires some cleaning service from time to time. The complex buildings that are in use require maintenance of supply systems, construction monitoring, and their revision. In applications, there are always some issues with third-party services. For example, the methods that are used in the application become deprecated, or they have been changed. In 2018, Facebook has changed its policy for analytics. We needed to add descriptions to the tracked events and resubmit applications for the review for quite a big number of applications. And so on… You can’t predict the behavior of any integrations. Another common issue is hosting. Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure are rather stable providers, but even they have rainy days.
Dashdevs’s recommendations: Discuss with your development company the cost of the system maintenance so you know that there is always a developer who can help you with your problems. Include this cost to your annual budget.
- Prediction of the scale. Everybody dreams about the success of their products. Millions of users are in love with your application and use it every day! Do you think your backend is ready for it? For example, you built a small townhouse for your family. But suddenly all your relatives come to you and start living with you in your small townhouse. Even your second cousin once removed and you have hardly seen her ever! Is there enough space to sleep for everybody, having dinner together, or simply a room for you to stay alone? The speed and the quality of the data processing may go really bad in high-loaded systems. In some cases, we need just to change hosting preferences. However, some products will require system optimization, load balancers, and serious architecture changes to stand up the load.
Dashdevs’s recommendations: You need to discuss with your developers the current solution and its potential scalability. You can ask your team to estimate the cost and time of further changes.
- Technical advisor. Are you ready to lead the process of a real house development now? You need to take responsibility for choosing the right place, evaluate all risks, do the calculations, create architecture, and plan all the action. If you don’t, you need to find an experienced person who has already created a few townhouses, malls, and business centers.Such a person is what many startups are missing. The role of a technical advisor requires an understanding of business & product development, architecture, and coding. Startups teams often copy some approaches from their previous working experience or famous brands. However, you need to know that applicative transition is not working well. An entrepreneur needs to have someone who can evaluate the solution and suggest ways of implementation.
Dashdevs’s recommendations: A technical adviser is an experienced person who can assess your idea and your vision from the point of view of the technical solution you want to build. This person is required to join your team from the very start. Your idea can have a variety of outfits with modern technologies. And you need someone to help you to take the right decision.
What kind of product do you want to build? It may be a cozy townhouse for your beloved family, monumental Notre Dame de Paris, or well-known commercial skyscraper in London — the Gherkin. Your digital products are similar to the buildings. The inspiration of the Visioner empowers the size, positioning, and style of the product.
External circumstances define the timing, but the speed you are moving your path depends on you. The main rule for startups if you are failing fast, learn faster. Use other people experience to advance your development speed a thousandfold. Give your product a chance to be the next Apple or Google.