Keeping it Lean and Clean…
The product development way!
In my 2 years journey, of building and sustaining my startup, I have learned lessons. But most of them not-so-very-hard way. Not because I am lucky or anything but because I refused to take the path majority are falling prey to. We are living in a world where calling ourselves entrepreneurs or startup owners is becoming an “IT” thing. People want to be one of them (entrepreneurs) but really don’t want to take the right path.
One of the biggest reasons I have seen for the failure of startups and businesses is that they completely fail to understand how to keep things LEAN and CLEAN. In the early stages of any startup, doesn’t matter if it is bootstrapped or VC backed, needs smart money spending on resources, marketing and sales. Instead of taking baby steps and moving slowly but surely, aspiring entrepreneurs go all guns blazing and miss the most important part I.e., product development.
I understand, Product development can not be done in absence of right mix of team (resources), however it doesn’t mean a big team or a lavish Office space guarantees a productive and conducive environment for successful product development.
Any product is the core of a business and customer feedback is the key to building a stronger core.
Mostly a larger number of team, ends up sitting around in an effort to understand the idea and enjoy the initial money pouring over the startup. Eventually when the time approaches to test and run the product, not enough time and focus has been given to the product development and it ends up costing the management more money then estimated. Unfortunately this cycle keeps on going. And people end up blaming the product and the idea. However, the problem is not with the product, the problem is with the way it is being developed. Turns out, you need to keep it lean and clean.
By lean I mean, calculate the optimum productivity level/result that you can get from the money you are spending. This you will learn from experimenting and thinking wisely rather than following your peers.
For example, How we did it?
1st! Majority of my team consists of developers. What I have found out is the optimum productivity level of any average developer is between 4–5 hours. So I divided my teams in to 2 and pay them for the number of hours they spend on product development. In this way I end up dividing the cost of 1 resource into 2 but I get optimum productivity of 8 hours from 2 resources.
2nd! We work on Agile methodology which means we do sprints. Once a build is ready, we publish it to our clients, they use it and give us feedback with real-time data. We then incorporate the feedback to improve the build and add more functionalities. This way we ended up finishing our product development (basic concept with complete UX) with customer approvals in only 6 months. Just to let you know it’s a mobile app and a web solution. What we are doing now is product enrichment and enhancement. This way the team stays focused and they are timed for their deliverables.
Agile methodology gives us constant end user feedback, which is exactly what a startup needs in its initial stage. This feedback helps us pivot timely before exhausting huge sums of money in development. Pivot is the key.
Agile methodology gives us constant end user feedback, which is exactly what a startup needs in its initial stage. This feedback helps us pivot timely before exhausting huge sums of money in development. Pivot is the key.As a startup owner it gives me the ease of mind that I am making sure each and every penny spent is going for product development and not Office and team enrichment. Those two would come eventually but right now, we are taking off and this is not the time where we can go big on things which are not supporting product development.