Developing a new product or service can be a complex and resource-intensive process. Before investing funds and time into development, it’s important to be able to assess the project and mitigate risks.
In this article, I will share my experience in the field of development assessment and discuss key aspects to pay attention to before starting a project.
Defining Project Requirements and Goals
The first step towards a successful development assessment is a clear definition of project requirements and goals. Develop a detailed technical specification that describes functionality, architecture, technologies, and quality criteria. This will help you and your team better understand what needs to be implemented and prevent unforeseen issues in the future.
Company «ABC» wants to develop a mobile application for managing the food delivery process. Project goals include:
- Increasing the efficiency of the food ordering and delivery process.
- Improving the user experience for customers.
- Reducing order wait times and increasing order accuracy.
- Integrating with existing accounting and management systems.
To achieve these goals, project requirements can be formulated as follows:
- Functionality for ordering food with menu selection, delivery address input, and online payment.
- Real-time order status tracking system for both customers and couriers.
- Integration with order and delivery management systems for process automation and coordination of courier work.
- An intuitive and appealing user interface accessible on various mobile devices and platforms.
- The ability to leave reviews and ratings for restaurants and couriers.
- Content management system for menu updates and promotional campaigns
Evaluate the available resources – time, money, and human resources. Determine how much time and funds you are willing to invest in development and create a realistic project budget. Also, take into account that development may take longer than initially anticipated, and be prepared for that.
Company «XYZ» wants to develop a mobile application for personal finance management. As a first step, they assess the resources required for project realization.
- Time: The company determines they have 6 months for development and launching the application. They break down this period into project stages, such as design, development, testing, and product release.
- Budget: Based on preliminary analysis and comparison with similar projects, the company decides they are willing to spend $200,000 on the application’s development. This budget should cover developers’ salaries, testers, designers, and other project participants, as well as infrastructure costs, software licenses, and marketing.
- Human Resources: The company analyzes its current resources and concludes that they will need a team of 4 developers (two front-end and two back-end), a designer, a tester, and a project manager. They also decide to hire an additional developer and a marketer on a contract basis.
Market and Competitor Analysis
Study the market in which you plan to launch your product or service and analyze your competitors. Assess how unique and relevant your offering is, and what advantages it can provide to users. This will help you develop a strategy for the development and positioning of your product in the market.
The startup «EventFinder» aims to develop a portal and mobile application for finding and booking tickets for events such as concerts, sports events, and theatrical performances. To determine their strategy and market positioning, they conduct market and competitor analysis:
- Market Size and Dynamics: The team analyzes statistical data and reports to determine the overall volume and growth rates of the events market. They find that the market is growing at a rate of 10% annually, indicating an opportunity for introducing new products and services.
- Target Audience: The startup identifies its target audience, consisting of young professionals aged 20 to 35 who actively attend various events and prefer to book tickets online.
- Competitive Analysis: «EventFinder» studies its competitors, including their offerings, strengths, weaknesses, and user reviews. They discover that the main competitors are «TicketMaster,» «Eventbrite,» and «StubHub,» but none of the applications offer personalized event recommendations based on user interests.
Based on the results of the market and competitor analysis, the «EventFinder» startup defines its unique value proposition and strategy, offering an application with personalized event recommendations, a simple ticket booking process, and a focus on local events.
Choosing a Development Team
The quality of development largely depends on the experience and competence of the development team. Evaluate their skills and experience in working on similar projects. Ensure that your team has all the necessary knowledge and resources for the successful execution of the project.
The startup «LearnVid» aims to create a platform where users can share instructional videos on various topics, from academic subjects to hobbies and crafts. They understand that the quality development of key platform components plays a crucial role in the project’s success and begin searching for the right development team.
- Defining Team Requirements: «LearnVid» analyzes its project and determines that they will need specialists in web development, user interface design, video processing, analytics, and database work.
- Considering Internal and External Resources: The company assesses its internal resources and decides that they need to hire an external development team that can provide the necessary experience and skills.
- Searching for a Development Studio: «LearnVid» conducts market research and finds the development studio «Sailet,» which has successful projects in the education and video technology sector.
- Portfolio and Review Analysis: The company reviews «Sailet’s» portfolio and pays attention to the quality of their previous work as well as positive client reviews. This strengthens their confidence in choosing «Sailet» as their development partner.
- Negotiating Collaboration Terms: «LearnVid» and «Sailet» discuss project details, timelines, service costs, and other important aspects of collaboration. After finalizing all conditions, both parties enter into an agreement and begin working on the project.
Identify potential risks associated with the project’s development. Risks may include technical issues, integration problems, time or budget constraints, as well as changes in requirements or market conditions. Develop a plan to minimize these risks and determine the actions to take in case they arise.
The company «TravelBuddies» wants to create a portal and mobile application that allows users to find travel companions for shared trips and expenses. Before starting development, they conduct a risk assessment to identify potential issues and develop strategies to mitigate them.
- Technical Risks: The startup analyzes potential problems related to integrating various APIs, such as maps, payment systems, and messaging services. They seek ways to ensure data security and application stability.
- Market Risks: «TravelBuddies» determines that the main market risks are low user conversion, limited travel opportunities due to seasonality and economic factors, and the threat of competition from other travel-related applications.
- Legal Risks: The team researches the legal aspects related to organizing shared trips and expense-sharing to ensure compliance with laws and regulations in different countries.
- Team-Related Risks: «TravelBuddies» identifies potential risks related to conflicts of interest among founders, insufficient experience or competencies within the team, and the risk of disagreement on key decisions.
User Feedback Management
Involve potential users of your product or service in the development process. Gathering feedback at the early stages of development will help you determine how well your offering aligns with their expectations and make necessary adjustments to the project. It will also help you build a loyal audience and reduce the time spent on testing and refining the product after its launch.
The startup «FitLife» is creating a mobile application that helps users track their physical activity, nutrition, and progress in sports activities. To improve their product and meet user needs, they actively collect and consider feedback:
- Establishing Feedback Channels: «FitLife» provides users with the opportunity to leave feedback and suggestions through an integrated feedback form, social media, and email.
- Review Analysis: The team regularly reviews and analyzes the feedback received, identifying common trends, issues, and user preferences.
- Prioritizing Enhancements: Based on the feedback analysis, «FitLife» identifies priority areas for improving the application, such as bug fixes, adding new features, or improving the user interface.
- Implementing Changes: The startup makes necessary changes to its application and releases updates for users.
- User Engagement: «FitLife» informs users about the implemented changes and thanks them for their feedback, strengthening trust and user loyalty.
Accounting for Unforeseen Circumstances
Keep in mind that during the development process, unforeseen circumstances may arise that can significantly impact the project’s timeline and budget. Be prepared for this and pre-determine the measures to take in case of unexpected situations.
The company «QuickBites» is creating a platform for ordering and delivering food from various restaurants. They understand that unforeseen circumstances can affect the development and launch of their service, so they take proactive steps to minimize risks:
- Financial Reserve: «QuickBites» allocates additional funds in case of unexpected expenses, such as changes in third-party service fees or additional marketing costs.
- Flexible Timelines: The startup sets realistic development and launch timelines, leaving a buffer in case of unexpected delays related to technical issues, changes in regulations, or supplier problems.
- Contingency Planning: The «QuickBites» team develops action plans for various unforeseen circumstances, such as key partner withdrawals, market changes, or data access issues.
- Monitoring and Adaptation: «QuickBites» regularly monitors the development process, responds to emerging issues, and quickly adapts to changing conditions by adjusting their strategy and plans when necessary.
Assessing development before starting a project is a critically important step that allows you to reduce risks, optimize resources, and increase your chances of success. By following the above advice and drawing on the experience of experts in the field of development, you can create a product or service that is in demand in the market and brings you satisfaction from the results of your work.
If you encounter difficulties in assessing development or are seeking consultation on this matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am always happy to share our expertise.