Statistically, only 1 out of 10 startups gain a foothold in the market and continue developing. In most cases, their offer doesn’t benefit the target market. Organizing workflows within a team that doesn‘t understand project goals is another reason for failing. As a result, development may end before it even starts, and the product will freeze at the idea stage.
However, it’s possible to prevent common mistakes. We summed up the nine most important factors you should consider when preparing your startup for an IT solution development project. Whether you’re building a new app, launching a website, or developing a software product, these tips will help you stay on track and avoid common pitfalls.
1. Understand the Requirements
The ways and methods of how you’ll implement the idea depend on the requirements you set. This stage usually includes several tasks:
✔ Discovering and analyzing the target audience’s needs;
✔ Documenting specifications;
✔ Checking the document for correctness.
At this “zero” stage, you should set the following requirements:
- Business-related: the product’s purpose;
- User-oriented: tasks your product is to solve and related scenarios;
- Functional: software solution’s key features;
- Non-functional: business model, use cases, licensing, and intellectual property.
Further work with specifications should be based on a large amount of data about the project, product, algorithms, processes, and all possible requirements. It is necessary to prepare documents at each development stage, ensuring their gradual evolution.
|💡 Use Jira, Confluence, or another similar tool for task management and making the project’s wiki. Update and review them at the beginning of each sprint.|
An accurate task management system guarantees successful results when the product is released and creates product documentation for future reference.
2. Evaluate Each Feature
First and foremost, development is a process. It’s not an independent ambiguous result. And it should be based on a well-defined feature list. This way, your development team can set smaller objectives to ensure the success of each sprint.
|💡 It’s crucial to choose the right project management methodology — our experience shows that Agile frameworks like Scrum and Kanban work best. Evaluating and reviewing each feature helps you understand the project’s direction and estimate the final cost and required resources correctly.|
A released feature collecting user feedback is your winning ticket. Each feature should address customer pain points and solve their problems. Customer development and problem interviews help you define what your target users need and how to give it to them.
Pro Tips 📌
- Prioritize your tasks and develop only the features that solve customer problems.
- Leave all nice-to-haves till later.
- Focus on sales — the sooner you launch every feature, the better you can estimate the project cost.
- “Stock up” the resources.
Requirements may change over time. It means you need to reassess the situation continuously. Development is a dynamic process responding to the changing environment and, therefore, requires an agile approach.
3. Make Short-Term Plans
The way you organize your internal processes affects the speed and quality of work. It primarily applies to goal-setting and planning. Companies often set long-term goals, striving to cover everything at once, but it can seriously backfire.
|💡 For startups, long-term planning is risky. Strictly following only the forward-looking strategy, the development team cannot easily adapt to market changes or new requirements. Ultimately, it deprives the project of flexibility and slows it down.|
However, there is a golden mean, and its name is Agile. It implies breaking the project down into short periods of two or three weeks called sprints. Each sprint has different tasks. At the end of a sprint, the team and the customer jointly prioritize goals for the next one according to the results. The methodology helped 98% of companies that adopted it.
4. Choose a Framework to Streamline Development
A framework is a software product that makes it easy to create and maintain large, technically complex projects. Frameworks include file systems and databases, error fixing, and data protection.
From a business point of view, using a framework is more cost-effective than writing code from scratch. Such IT solutions are easier to maintain and modify if necessary. The framework structure is standardized, which means it is understandable to any specialist.
|💡 Frameworks are indispensable when working on projects with complex business logic and strict requirements for security and speed. But you should remember that you benefit from it only if you choose the right instrument.|
There are hundreds of frameworks on the market allowing you to implement almost any feature. For example, the leaderboard compiled by Statista in 2021 includes React.js, jQuery, Express, Angular, and Vue.js. However, frameworks have different functionality and solve distinct tasks.
5. Control and Synchronize the Changes
The Version Control System (VCS) captures revisions and stores multiple document versions. It’s crucial to anyone dealing with ever-changing data. For example, developers can store source code and control access rights for different users. It’s also a vital opportunity for collaboration, where process synchronization is everything.
The system helps solve other problems that arise during the work on the project. For example, it’s sometimes easier for a developer to reboot by rolling back the program to a stable working version and rewriting it all over again.
Moreover, VCS stores the entire history, making it easy to find the necessary version. It also may contain other information required by the team and the customer (for example, text files or images).
Let’s discuss your idea.
6. Prioritize Quality Over Speed
Sometimes tasks of the same complexity take much longer to complete in the middle of a project than they’ve taken initially. Why? These are the symptoms of technical debt accumulated over many iterations. It means that the project has many confusing pieces of code and failures in the architecture, so it is hard to scale.
The reason is clear: often, developers prioritize speed over quality. It happens when a business seeks to launch a product faster than its competitors. Users, however, may prefer the slower competitor’s solution due to its higher quality.
|💡 Ideally, you should focus on quality at the project’s start. Speed can become your additional advantage. It is unlikely to prevent all errors, but you will reduce their number significantly. It will be much easier for developers to fix minor defects than major bugs during the next refactoring.|
7. Test Continuously
Professionals usually rely on technical specifications containing detailed information (from initial goals to final characteristics). However, the described nuances do not remain unchanged during the entire work period. The pitfalls here are related to the impermanence of the requirements.
Requirements may change under the influence of market trends, niche trends, and target user preferences. Some features lose their relevance and go out of fashion over time.
|💡 To be prepared for such surprises and quickly adapt to them, monitor the market constantly. Start testing as early as possible and run it regularly, especially after changes.|
8. Find the Best Outsourcing Fit
While in-house IT departments remain large companies’ prerogative, not all companies have the internal resources or expertise required to develop custom software solutions. As a result, many businesses opt to outsource their software development projects. There are three primary outsourcing options: local, nearshore, and offshore outsourcing.
✔ Local outsourcing involves hiring a software development team located in the same country or region as the hiring company. While this option offers several advantages like a shared language, culture, and business environment, in most cases, it’s the most expensive way to delegate tasks. (Think of an American company hiring another US-located tech provider).
✔ Nearshore outsourcing involves hiring a software development team located in a neighboring or nearby country. Going for this option, you still can enjoy many of the same benefits like similar time zones, shared language, and cultural similarities but already allocate smaller budgets, as labor costs may be lower in nearby countries.
✔ Offshore outsourcing involves hiring a software development team located in a country that is geographically distant from the hiring company. This option offers the most cost savings but can also pose communication and collaboration challenges due to language barriers, cultural differences, and time zone differences. However, offshore outsourcing can provide access to a larger pool of highly skilled software developers.
9. Partner with Tech Experts
Partnering with an experienced development company is a strategic decision that largely defines your project’s results. You can go all the way by yourself — from hiring individual freelancers and conducting project discovery to managing the entire process and controlling the product release. Or you can delegate all routine, HR, operational, and development tasks to experienced professionals and comfortably focus on your business objectives.
After 100+ successful projects, Rocketech has formed a flexible and efficient philosophy — to go beyond standard IT outsourcing services and create long-term, trusted partnerships with our clients.
Whether you have only a product idea or an existing project in development, our experts will help you launch the project, allocate a dedicated team, and guide you throughout the entire process.