Planning for version 2.0 starts from day one
So, you want to build a software application. Great! Have you considered version 2.0? I’ve worked with many start-up companies, helping them define processes to launch their businesses and get their products on the market. In doing so, I’ve encountered many different plans and approaches; one I found the most successful and practical is the agile, incremental approach.
Planning and preparation are key to the success of your application, so it is important to have a long-term vision of what you want to achieve. But be careful not to let your goals overwhelm the initial launch. I have had people come to me with amazing software application ideas that include many features, functionalities and large visions. Frequently, I encounter the desire to have everything all at once, yet the costs and time to develop the whole enchilada are prohibitively expensive and become show stoppers! So back to my original question; do you need to have everything on day one of your launch? What does your version 2.0 look like? Do you even know?
An initial and basic rapid prototype of a functional software application is needed to get the ball rolling. You can do this yourself, or enlist friends or professionals to help you get it started. From the very outset, you need to think ahead, and be comfortable with launching your project in instalments. This can save you thousands of dollars in marketing your product. It will assist with raising more money for future releases as well as providing for more features and functionalities.
In version 1.0, certain basic features are necessary to get your product off the ground. We call this your MVP (Minimal Viable Product). This does not mean, however, you need to limit your vision and the scope of your product. Continue to think BIG, but grow in an agile way, responding to the needs of your target audience and adjusting your application based on how users interact with your initial product.
From the outset, it is extremely important to define what falls under MVP, as well as plan for future versions. These future versions should not be carved in stone but are an outline of smart ideas and functionalities that will take your product to the next level. Trust me, your initial vision will evolve, grow and change many times as you develop paying customers. The needs and demands of your customers will help dictate what goes into the future releases. User experience (UX) and quality assurance (QA) will provide insights into the new features needed for your software application.
I could go on for days… but I will end on this note:
Be transparent with your product, your plan and your customers.
Document everything! Don’t blame it on time constraints, development, or other demands; sometimes we just forget to keep track. Remember to track your data – missing or forgotten data reports can be a killer for your business in more ways than one.
Have your release notes available and plan your next steps in advance.
Remember, you don’t need to go all-in with the first version! Make a great plan, follow your recipe, think ahead and know what your next version entails, and be agile in your approach. Good luck, start small but dream big!