1. Have a clear idea of a product you want to develop
You should clearly understand your business idea. What do you want to achieve with the product? What is the challenge and how does your product solve it? You can’t come to a development team and say you want something similar to Facebook. Having an accurate and detailed set of features will help you achieve results faster. The discovery phase will help to identify unique scenarios that have not been thought about before.
2. Be dedicated to the development process
First of all, you should choose somebody from your team to perform a role of a product owner. The product owner should have a clear vision of what is to be built and then work closely with the project manager on prioritizing the features the product should possess. This will help you to see all the features of the product in detail and to understand which one is more important and therefore draw the line of MVP (minimum viable product).
If you are vigilant, and if you thoroughly discuss all product requirements, you will get the desired result with less time and money.
3. Small MVP – better final product
The minimum viable product is a version of a product that has core functionality but minimal bells and whistles developed.
Many clients tend to ask for all features to be implemented before the product is launched. This approach is very risky, since it takes significant time and money without concrete feedback from beta users. Instead of wasting time and money on developing all features, you can get feedback from your potential customers on functionality you may not have thought about, which is more important for them.
A smaller MVP is better since you can adjust your next set of features to better fit your client needs.
4. Listen to and hear your project manager
Since the project manager is a person from the development side, it is crucial for you to heed his/her suggestions and guidance. You should hold regular retrospective calls with your PM to let the development team know all existing problems. For instance, if the designer’s work does not meet your expectations, simply discuss this with team, so that during the next 1-2 development iterations, this problem can be fixed.
5. All features should be described through user stories
Many failures occur due to incomplete information. The idea of specified features in your head and in somebody’s else’s can be quite different. User story is a description of a product feature from an end-user perspective. User stories make the feature description simple, which helps in eliminating misunderstandings between you and the development team.
You should set expected results. Let’s imagine you are developing an e-commerce mobile app. As a user, you click on the button “add to cart,” and you should see the chosen item in your cart. That is an example of a clearly described requirement.
6. Always manage projects through a project management tool
Project management tools are planning and control tools, used for creating and assigning tasks necessary to complete a project. Moreover, they help to track project progress and overall time estimations. It doesn’t matter which one you choose: Trello, Jira, etc. The point is these tools increase transparency, so you don’t have to trust your resources blindly, but instead, you can track progress yourself.
Make sure you have the development plan prior to launch of the MVP so you are able to check what your team is going to do next and propose corrections.
7. Never pay the full project cost up front
Only settle for smaller development iterations (sprints). Bi-weekly sprints are recommended via the Agile methodology of software development project management. Request invoicing to be sent to you at the end of a completed sprint.
Managing the project via Agile methodology is recommended, meaning that time required for development will be divided into sprints.
8. Always take ownership of the code at each sprint end
A software development project, as any other project, has its risks for you as a customer and for the development team as well. Customers are usually afraid to pay money and not get the product. To reduce this risk, we recommend you always take ownership of the code at each development iteration. This is possible through GitHub or other repositories, where developers make a backup copy of the code. In case of an emergency, you will be able to give the code to another team and therefore save time and money in ramp-up costs.
9. Do not pay a flat/blended rate for resources
Software development companies sometimes choose a blended rate for resources to ease their internal accounting process. This is more convenient for vendors, but in the end, it costs you more. That is why when signing contracts, you should know exactly how much you are paying for a developer, designer, QA, etc. It helps make the payment process more transparent between all parties, and it will save you money.
10. Start promoting your product before the development process is completed
The success of your product depends on how well your marketing strategy is built. The phrase, “If I build it, they will come,” doesn’t work. The success of your product is not only about development. If you do not allocate budget to marketing, do not expect immediate traction. Organic leads are, of course, great, but getting organic growth is very difficult. There are hundreds of thousands of mobile apps on the App store, websites and other software development products. The point is, if you want to stand out from your competitors, start thinking of a marketing strategy and user acquisition from the beginning of the development process.