Time is too precious to waste when you’re an entrepreneur. TechSpeak will be addressing how to become a more effective leader with their upcoming bootcamp.
By Nelly Yusupova (CTO, Webgrrls)
As entrepreneurs, waste is our biggest frustration; wasting time and money on technology mistakes, money going in the wrong direction on the wrong development team.
Technology mistakes are expensive and an unnecessary waste. I have worked much of my professional life (so far) trying to help minimize those mistakes for entrepreneurs and help entrepreneurs along their paths. I have found there are ways to take control of the technology conversation, see red flags as they arise and catch mistakes early, and minimize the risk to you and your company.
Below are four processes that every entrepreneurial endeavor should incorporate into their practice. If you include at least these four processes you will have a step up on success and ensure that you are not wasting time and can deliver good quality products on time and on budget.
Validate your product and feature ideas with customers first
Entrepreneurs have many, many ideas on how to improve their products and services. Many entrepreneurs go from idea straight to development without validating whether or not the idea is actually solving a real customer problem. By validating your new idea with your customer’s buy in, you can ensure that you don’t waste valuable development time and money on products or features that don’t serve your customers needs or provide value to them. That way you only build what your customer would be willing to pay for.
Refine your ideas with customers using prototypes
After you understand the problem your customers have, create a prototype of the solution and go back to the customers to make sure your solution is clear and intuitive to those for whom you are solving the problem. This process allows you to create, test, and refine the functionality of your product or feature BEFORE a line of code is written, saving you money on technology revisions…technology revision are very expensive.
Determine exactly what you will code and how
Before you begin coding, your entire team should come together to determine exactly what features in the prototype will be coded and how it will be implemented based on your time & cost constraints.
All projects are performed and delivered under certain constraints: quality, time and cost -and you can’t have all three.
• If you want your project done quickly and cheaply quality will suffer
• A great quality project delivered quickly will cost more and
• Great quality at a reasonable cost will require more time to complete it
There is no right or wrong approach; it depends on what is important for a particular project.
For most startups, time and cost is of the essence, so when determining what and how to build focus on the following:
• What features do you have to build now vs. later
• For all the features that you pick, how can you simplify the backend and build it in stages
• Are there third party solutions or APIs that will help you cut the development time
This step in the development process will help you deliver projects faster and within your budget and timeline.
Use Agile Project Management
Agile project management is a development philosophy and one that you should adopt for your business. It allows you to take smaller, more manageable steps throughout your development process. The steps are usually called sprints and they are smaller and achievable chunks of your project that can be completed quickly (daily, weekly or within two weeks maximum). Upon completion of the sprint, the team can review this smaller piece and ensure that it is working and is exactly what you wanted to develop. If it is not working how it was intended to, then at least you caught it early and can now make the correction necessary. Additionally, the mistake didn’t cost you too much time or money and you can get back on track fast. This code, review, and analyze approach is the best way to determine the next steps. Agile allows you to respond to issues as they arise -coding can be expensive, re-coding is expensive.
If you adopt this type of project management you will keep track of whether or not the project is going according to plan and ensuring that things are done correctly the first time.
I offer a 2-day bootcamp called TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs and those who understand TechSpeak and the development process will:
– See the red flags as they arise and catch mistakes earlier
– Keep projects on time and on budget
– Minimize the risks that we take as entrepreneurs – both time and money
Below are testimonials from entrepreneurs who attend TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs earlier this year:
Eric and Brian Dosal – Miami – last year they sold their first start up and are currently working on their latest start up BrightGauge Software, a web-based business-analytics platform that enables IT Services Providers to generate data visuals based on their custom data sources. They attended the Spring ‘13 TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs bootcamp in NYC. They said:
“Had TechSpeak been available when we started the company 3 years ago, we would have saved close to half a million dollars in delays & development costs.“
Josef Ruef, CEO of Verical.com had a successful exit a few weeks before attending TechSpeak for Entrepreneur Silicon Valley in the Spring of ’13. He had a great CTO, and has a tech team who already practice Lean and Agile processes and he said to me:
“Had I known this information before I started my company, I wouldn’t have just had a good exit, I would have had a GREAT exit and it would have happened SOONER!”
Want to learn more? Please join me at a TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs bootcamp in Silicon Valley, NYC, or Miami in November to learn the entire development process so you communicate effectively with your development team, see the red flags & catch mistakes earlier, MINIMIZING the damage of mistakes.
Register now and save 15% using the code: Women2.