At the core of a startup, as with any other business, the idea goes first. If you have some concept and think it’s worth a million, you need to know how to turn it into a successful business. As the IT niche develops very fast, it is an excellent idea to construct an app or other software. But if you want to start from killer-featured software, you should know that you will have to face several product development challenges on the way to success.
Fortunately, this article will describe the most common problems and instruct you on how to eliminate them. With the help of the information below, you will speed up the development process and minimize the number of mistakes you can make.
Key features of software product development startups
Software development companies are able to bring you real success. But not all new companies are considered startups, as well as not all of them expand to successful enterprises. For almost 50 years of its existence, this term has long grown its scope, and people often use it in various fields. We want to summarize some key features of a startup:
- The business has a unique concept and innovations: You should desire to invent something that will be valid for society in your region and all over the globe. Your idea should be original but realistic. The company’s philosophy is to meet the latest needs in the market.
- The development process is fast: Software startups are small companies that develop rapidly in the market and scale up in the shortest possible time.
- Entrepreneurs lack relevant background: Traditional startup founders are young enthusiasts without experience in the business. But they have grand ambitions and innovative software product ideas.
- Low upfront costs: All new business entrants have low expenses for the production and implementation of their ideas but require capital investments for further development.
If your company meets all these criteria, you can rightfully call it a startup.
Product development challenges and their solutions
Product development is the main driving force in the information technology world. The software industry is an excellent way to get rich and influence the market. But if you want your startup to be successful from the very beginning, you need to be aware of all the product development challenges you may face. Likewise, you should know how to solve them with minimal risk to your enterprise. We gathered the most common problems below.
A lack of a clear idea of the product development implementation
One of the most critical product development challenges is translating your vision into compelling software. Startups want to cover as much ground as possible and spend time and money on unnecessary features or complex product tasks. In addition, a lack of experience leads to wrong-headed decision-making and turns your software product idea into a failure.
Ways to fix
You should understand that the development process is complex and time-consuming, and you should spend much time planning it in detail. For this reason, it is better to create a product management plan. This document is your business strategy with clearly defined milestones for today and the future. It should include the following information:
- Software product needs of the market you will cover with this project.
- Technologies you want to use to realize your output.
- The stages of product development service.
- Estimated costs of the development process.
- Outline the expected outcome.
- IRM (integrated risk management) plan to avoid unexpected issues.
This roadmap will help your software product development company to estimate the needed resources, meet timeframes, stick to the initial concept, and engage investors in your project.
To overcome this challenge and create a perfect plan, you may try the Discovery phase approach to software product development. You should analyze the market and figure out the following things:
- Your target audience.
- Actual value that users will get from using your product.
- The average price customers are ready to spend for such a service.
- The opponents, if they exist, and their effective strategies.
If you are not ready to comply with this job or are worried about the quality of the result, you can turn to specialists that offer software product development services. They specialize in software product management and can assist you with planning the project.
Product development challenges with budgetary constraints
One of the problems you may face as a founder of a software startup is money. Traditionally, entrepreneurs have limited financial resources, which mostly consist of personal savings. One more thing is the excessive desire to get rich quickly and find investors for product development. But the concept of a startup as a business is to launch software development projects with low initial costs. Also, being new to software product development, you don’t know or cannot correctly estimate all expenses for the development process. Finally, your desire to reproduce all the ideas and features in the first version of the product leads to excessive costs and poor quality results, not to mention the slowdown of all the development due to a lack of money.
Ways to fix
To deal with one of the most significant product development challenges – funding – you should follow several rules:
- Assess your capabilities and allocate funds in such a way that you can cope with the basic needs to create a quality product.
- Develop your financial strategy and stick to it.
- Manage costs according to software product needs.
- Prioritize tasks that have more impact and make them work perfectly.
- Approach the search for investors wisely.
The last point is critical because it determines the future growth of your company. Alexandru Stan, CEO of Tekpon, suggests searching for investors from private markets instead of public and focusing on long-term growth during fundraising.
Large-scale ambitions for the success of the project
One of the most common product development challenges that young entrepreneurs come close to is the overestimated expectations of their software. When you are just starting, your idea inspires and motivates you the most. So, you want to create a multifunctional app with many cool features. Scalability is an important aspect of product development, and you should consider it in the initial stage. It is a good plan, as your software should change over time and be relevant for as long as possible on the market. But constructing all at once and in one go can bring unnecessary costs, a lack of positive outcomes, and rarely results in startup’s success.
Ways to fix
It would be better to focus on the most outstanding features during the development process to draw potential customers to your product. Then you can improve them with new additions and characteristics.
One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to use the MVP (minimum viable product) approach. It is a practical model for startups, as you can create software products with minimal costs, estimate their efficiency on the market, and gather feedback before diving deep in the development and spending impressive budgets.
Besides, you can invest earned income in improving the software product ideas and features. In this case, you can gradually provide product development and grow your company with minimal risks.
To create MVP, you should do the following steps:
- Indicate the most valuable features of your software;
- Make a prototype with a flexible architecture that is easy to change;
- Consider the needs of the audience and make your app user-friendly;
- Construct a catchy design.
- Analyze the feedback and create a further plan following the audience’s preferences.
Using the MVP during software product development will help you to test your idea, make changes in the framework, correct the target audience, and get stakeholders interested in investing in your startup.
Сorrectly define your motivation in software product development
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said in one of his interviews that ideas and innovations should be your motivation. He also believes that every time you start a new product development service, it has to be better than the previous one – that’s how the brain learns. You may wonder how these statements apply to software startups. But the essential point is that you must set the right business priorities. The desire to make capital is reasonable, but if only money motivates you, it can be unworkable. In startups, innovation initially defines the entire process.
Ways to fix
You should construct products that will change the world with users in mind. This software should provide USP (unique service proposition) for users and cover all the real-world benefits and pains.
We suggest you a few things to help you specify your priorities and how to use them to your company’s advantage:
- Outline the principal philosophy of your company.
- Point out reasons why your product is a necessity for people.
- Involve investors in your product development service that share your vision.
- Propose your services to non-commercial organizations to gain support from reputable associates.
These steps will help to clearly understand your startup’s purpose and avoid several product development challenges such as communication with employees, stakeholders, and users.
Poor understanding of what tech stack suits your product development
Traditionally, innovative ideas require using the latest technologies as a basement for software product development. As a startup, you want your company to stay at the forefront and be unique. But the problem is that not all the latest technologies work well for your particular case. So if you choose the wrong technology stack, you can’t arrange product development correctly. Besides, the latest trends like artificial intelligence, machine, deep learning, and blockchain are pretty expensive. Haunting for buzzwords you spend your funds without achieving the expected results.
One more challenge with using innovative technologies in your software is the inability to predict the future. Each technology may have issues of relevance in a few years, opportunities for development, and flexibility. Is a new technology you consider sufficiently tested to be used in your software product development? These points make you hesitate when deciding on the technologies you will implement in your startup.
Ways to fix
To avoid mistakes in the choice of technology stack for your product development service, we suggest you several pieces of advice on this matter:
- Do an in-depth analysis of existing options and common use cases for them.
- Consider the scaling potential of your development project and the acceleration of technology.
- Consult with experienced developers from within or outside your team.
Mismatch of the team and the project
There are many product development challenges for entrepreneurs in the process of setting up their companies, and the choice of performers is the most critical. The development team is the key to success, as they are the ones who create the application’s functionality.
Here comes the problem of recruiting. On the one hand, you can lead the hiring process yourself and supplement your team with the few employees you need to complete the entire software development life cycle. On the other hand, you can use the services of the outsourcing company, which provides a team of specialists to complete the job. Regardless of which option you choose, there are a few things you should consider before recruiting programmers:
- Experience in working with similar projects.
- Their skills and compliance with the technologies you will provide.
- Their soft skills, including time management, responsibility, ability to work in a team, and so on.
- Their vision of your product and meeting your priorities.
These are the primary requirements the development team should meet to cooperate with you. But finding the most suitable employees can be a challenge. If you want to know how to cope with this, keep reading!
Ways to fix
As you can understand, partnership with engineers is a critical issue in product development. The co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, during his talk with journalists in 2020, told that your team should be ready to align properly formally, and informally. Likewise, they should understand all processes and be competent in operating with different frameworks, programming languages, etc.
Besides, when employing engineers do the following things:
- Shortlist those who have a background in working with startups in your industry;
- Describe the purpose of your software and ask their opinion of the idea;
- Outline the tasks developers will do and prefered timeframes;
- Find a team with the project manager or team lead to organize the development process correctly.
Trying to reduce time-to-market
Software product development consists of several stages and processes that form a cycle known as the SDLC. It includes:
- Creating requirements
- Designing product architecture
- Development process
- Testing time
- Release and support
This basic mechanism maintains the successful construction and performance of the software product. There are many different models of work, such as Waterfall, Agile, Spiral, RAD model, and so on. They have their advantages, disadvantages, and outstanding features. Besides, these SDLC models can vary depending on your product, budget, and other specifications.
Software development life cycle (SDLC) must be executed from A to Z, regardless of whether it is a small or large project. But as young product development software companies often have a limited budget, they decide to skip several steps, which leads to fatal errors. The common mistake is to avoid planning, architecture, and software testing.
Ways to fix
You have to learn one simple rule: no matter how small your product is, you have to go through all the stages of the SDLC. So let’s remind you how to stick with them:
- Fulfill all the points the list above, especially planning, budget analysis, creating accurate requirements, and documentation for the development process.
- Choose the most suitable methodology for your startup.
- Develop the software architecture and design and start coding according to it.
- Be flexible enough during product development to make changes fast.
- Allocate your budget on each stage of the software development life cycle (SDLC).
From this point of view, rapid prototyping is one of the most efficient SDLC models for this business. It allows you to change your strategy and make adjustments at any stage of project development.
Meeting the needs of user-friendly UX/UI design
Usability and design are the most significant product development challenges you may face. Many young entrepreneurs invest their time and money in technologies and technical features and ignore the design of their software. But it is the crucial point in the whole process. Usually, only enthusiasts or professionals pay attention to some technical details. The majority of users evaluate the quality of the application’s design and comfort of use.
One more problem is the lack of time, so they don’t pay attention to the design to release the product as soon as possible. In addition, you may face inconsistency in design solutions and functionality with the program. It leads to low usability and a negative user experience. Incorrect product development testing can be a reason for this issue as well.
With a limited budget, you want to save on designer services, which leads to incorrect design decisions and low quality of the product.
Ways to fix
To avoid this challenge, you should take care of UX/UI design quality during the planning phase. Do the following things:
- Involve a qualified designer in your team on freelance or resort to a software outsourcing company.
- Ensure the designer cooperates with developers and product manager to create a product with the perfect interface and understandable design.
- Keep an eye on the development process and try to avoid intricate ideas and design solutions.
- Put yourself in the user’s shoes to check the usability.
With these steps, you won’t spend much money to fix design errors.
To summarize this article, we can say that creating a startup company is a responsible and risky venture. You may face many product development challenges that can slow down the creation process and influence the final quality of the software.
- Build a detailed plan and indicate all information about the development process as well as risks, growth strategy, and expected profit.
- Wisely distribute your budget and choose investors.
- Select a team of professionals with experience in developing startups and working with your technologies.
- Be flexible enough and ready to change your strategy and approach to software product management.
- Construct the MVP to test it on the target audience.
- Analyze all feedback carefully and provide the product development service that customers need.
- Monitor your competitors and the market to be informed of their development.
Finally, don’t forget that you want to bring your innovative idea to the world and be one of the product development software companies that have achieved great success.