Building an online product – does it have to last from 6 to 12 months?

5 August 2018
Mikołaj Lehman

Six months, three thousand working hours for programmers, and 50% of project budget – that will be the cost of a product specification, and we didn’t even start coding. That’s a common scenario for waterfall methodology. Is there an alternative? Is there a chance to diminish work time, effort, and money spent on a project? Yes, there is, but we will have to embrace one crucial aspect – prioritizing.

Creating our app or any other online product can be a long and stressful process. It can take up to a year from start till the launch day, and we have to brace ourselves to overcome meaningful pain points and critical moments. Does it have to look this way? Fortunately, it doesn’t. Before we begin the very first meeting with our software house, we need to create a strategy. Where shall we begin with?

Priorities, priorities, priorities

It should be a basic mantra for all IT projects. As a client of a software house, setting bold priorities is the very first thing we should come up with. If we don’t do our homework properly, then yes – it will result in a long delay in our project, and yes – it will go on from 6 to 12 months. However, if we do things right and our purposes and priorities are set in stone, then it turns out that within just a few weeks we will have most important features ready to go. A vital step is to reveal our priorities to the software house, discuss them, and work them out during product creative workshops.

Avoid bad habits in IT projects

If from the top we decide to create full project documentation in waterfall methodology, we have to be prepared for the worst. For instance, three programmers will work for six months just to get a product specification only. To be more specific, they will spend three thousand working hours, which will eat up 50% of our project budget, and they won’t even touch a code at this point.

Leave the waterfall behind, dive into Agile

It’s a flawed approach when it comes to any type of IT project. Waterfall generates delays and additional costs. Instead of that ineffective method, we can gain more results if we choose to cooperate with a software house very closely. Our IT partner should recommend us 2 weeks of product workshops. On a regular basis, we work on the priorities, goals, and how to build, develop, test, and deploy. Armed with that knowledge, our software house is able to wrap up a product prototype within just a couple of weeks. Stunning? We demonstrate it to our team, to our friends and close business partners to gather useful feedback. Another few weeks from this point, our company holds the MVP, ready to present it to the digital world. What did we achieve by this methodology? In a significantly shorter time, the code was written, the product got tested and improved, and we launched the product based on business outcomes and priorities.

“Year after year, we analyzed dozens of technological projects. Hence we know that difficult questions are better to ask at the workshop stage” – says Nick Lehman, the CEO of GMI Group Software House. “If we choose this way, the product has a chance to become a real business, not just another startup that will fall.”

Cheaper, easier, and more productive

We got to the point where we are all set with the product, and, what’s most important, we didn’t rob ourselves from half of our budget just for making a specification. Moreover, the money we saved on switching to workshops and MVP, can be used to upgrade and improve our product to make stand out from the crowd. Finally, time is on our side. If we decided to go by the waterfall, we would launch our application after 12 months of constant frustration. What we did was the opposite, and as a result, we are able to keep in the game with all the competitors.

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online product