What you should know before building a software product
Software product development is always challenging. There are plenty of factors that need to be taken into account in order to achieve the desired results. And this is even more challenging for those of you who don’t have any experience with building software projects yet.
Agile17 team has been through this process many times. Therefore, we have compiled a list of things to consider before starting your software product development. Let’s dive into it!
Identify the market and the target audience
Before you start working on your desired product, study the market carefully. Here are the fundamental questions you need to find answers to:
- Who will use the product?
- What tasks does it solve?
- Who are the competitors?
- How can the product beat the competition?
This first stage is crucially important as you need to make sure that conceptually your product will meet market expectations.
Define the type of software and platforms to support
Next, you need to figure out what type of software you will create. This can be a web app, a mobile app or a hybrid app. Besides, you should decide which platforms your app will be available on. Check the latest data on the mobile operating systems' market share worldwide here.
In addition, consider the devices that your apps will be used on. Each operating system has smartphones and tablets, which differ from one another in terms of specs and dynamics.
Identify your stakeholders
These are actually all the people who have a say in your software project and who are interested in the results. There can be stakeholders both within the company and outside it.
The key stakeholders in a software project may include the following roles:
- Project sponsors and investors;
- Developers’ team;
- Project managers;
- Business Managers and Business Architects;
- Data Architects and Database Administrators;
- Direct and indirect Users;
- And more.
Define and categorize your project requirements
Once you’ve identified the key stakeholders, be sure to clearly define their expectations toward the project. Understanding the project requirements from different perspectives will help you get a clear picture of what the product should actually achieve.
Next, classify your project requirements into the two categories:
- Functional requirements which are relevant to the functionality of the software;
- Non-functional requirements which include implicit and explicit characteristics expected of the software.
Having defined the project requirements, make sure they actually lay the framework that every project team member will follow. The best way to get this done is to create a Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document which will outline the features and the main goal of the software product.
Choose the right software development partner
Choosing the reliable software development provider can be a tricky task. While there are many factors that can influence your decision, we’ll outline the most critical ones that you should definitely consider.
Be sure to evaluate the expertise of the potential providers – whether they have the required knowledge and experience to handle your software project.
The transparency of the workflow is very important for fruitful collaboration. So, make sure the provider will grant you access to the project backlogs, and the team is open to regular communications and updates.
As a rule, reliable software development providers already have a trail of experience and customer reviews online. There are many sources of information on Providers available on the Internet. Clutch, Goodfirms, and DesignRush are among them.
Determine the project development costs
Technically, the cost of a software product development is determined by the scope of work and the hourly rates of specialists working on the project - developers, analysts, UI/UX designers, and other experts involved.
Hourly rates differ from company to company. Moreover, they differ significantly across geographic locations, which explains the increased demand for offshore outsourcing.
Based on the finalized Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document, your software development provider will provide you with the estimate for the project cost.
Craft the monetization strategy
The next important thing to define is the way your product is supposed to bring you revenue. Here are the most common monetization models:
- Advertising within the product;
- Subscription model;
- Licence based model;
- In-app purchases.
The choice of monetization model will depend on the product specifics. For instance, ads go within an app, freemium model and in-app purchases are pretty common for mobile apps.
Plan your product marketing strategy
Marketing the product to amongst your target users is another aspect you should plan beforehand. The selection of proper channels to promote your product will greatly depend on the following factors:
- The tasks your product needs is designed to solve;
- If it is a B2B or a B2C solution;
- The audiences and markets you are actually targeting.
As to the promotional techniques, there are plenty of them to consider:
- Convent marketing;
- Email marketing;
- Paid ads;
- Affiliate marketing;
- Influencer marketing.
Having this strategy in mind, you will get a more clear picture on time and effort needed for your product promotion.
Consider the possible risks
Finally, don’t forget about risk management. The software development process is often accompanies by the following risks:
- Experienced and qualified team members may leaving the project
- Project requirements may be misunderstood;
- The scope of work may be underestimated.
Once you’ve defined all the possible risks, a good practice is to categorize them based on the potential impact each risk could have on the project - low, medium, high, or critical.
These were the aspects you should definitely consider before diving right into the project development. With all these things in mind, the whole software development process will become way more transparent for you, so you can start building your product with confidence.
We hope these tips will be useful to you. Follow them and succeed in your next software development endeavor!