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Technical Insight: App Development For Entrepreneurs

2018-09-12 16:52:50






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Do you have an idea for an app? Do you lack engineering expertise? Do you understand what you want but are confused with your next step?


As an owner and director of a company specializing in designing and engineering software, I've been asked how to begin this journey on multiple occasions. Many entrepreneurs ask me what is the best way to build an app? How quickly can it be built? How much does it cost? In engineering, there is no single answer, recipe or finite approach that works for every application. The answer is, “it depends.”

It Depends

It depends on the product’s roadmap. What is your true MVP -- minimum viable product, not most valuable player -- and what will make it valuable? How fast can you demo a functional version to your target audience? There is often no clear path to building an application because the product has no clear path. Be sure to write these answers down and decide early. Often, there is no clear path to building an application because the product has no clear path.

Secondly, it depends if you know anyone willing to join you on this journey. Find someone just as passionate about this problem in this industry as you and talk to them about forming a partnership. Professionals, such as engineers, are also good to connect with since many have an entrepreneurial mindset.

Finally, it depends on your financial backing. Do you have any investors? Do you have anyone to report to? If you do, the feedback loop will need to be at the core of your process. You will need to build and present abruptly -- my suggestion would be weekly. This will allow you to show your investors where their money has been, is going and will return.

Prioritizing Features

When you finally have an understanding where your focus should be and have answered all of your “it depends” questions, shift your process around the engineering of your application. Speak to your team and find out how long your first build will take. Then you can prioritize. Ask which features can realistically make the first version and what will need to be held for the second iteration. And dare I say, live with knowing that some ideas or features will never make it in the final product. Apps do not need every single feature to be successful in the beginning.

How To Engineer Your App

Now to the fun part of building your application. On our startup engineering team, my employees and I often have to decide how to build a feature and with what amount of flexibility. Who will see this feature? Is it the most “important” feature? What is the “roadmap” of this feature?

Instead of sending your estimates or timelines, or digging yourself a rabbit hole, remind yourselves of these three simple concepts when creating software for your business.

1. Don’t over-engineer. Use any performing library/snippets, tools and even a friend that can get you from point A to point B. Don’t be concerned about whether this code can be bought -- you want the application to work. I don’t mean to take shortcuts. I mean never lose focus of trying to get the app in front of your users. User feedback is just as valuable as your technology.

2. Build effectively and efficiently. Use whichever framework is fastest to develop in. Be sure to evaluate the quirks of each framework to help decide which is the right fit for your product. If you decide correctly, your application will perform.

3. Demo on the daily. Never be scared to show what you have built so far. Ask your engineering team to push code that represents progress. It keeps the team goal-oriented and helps discover problems sooner rather than later. There’s value in knowing what’s not working just as much as what is.

In Summary

If you want to start or have started your own app idea, I hope these quick conversational thoughts help you and your business get to 1.0 faster. Most tech startups know that desire and passion do not take you to the finish line. Strategy and smart processes can!

Original Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeslacouncil/2018/08/24/technical-insight-app-development-for-entrepreneurs/#7664f7222096

Original Date: Aug 24 2018

Written By: James Lopez

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