Apple is rarely – if ever – first to the market with a product. They sit patiently and watch as others get there first, and then iterate their own product development to best suit the evolving market.
Then, they hit it at just the right time.
But imagine if they didn’t. Imagine if they were constantly late or never made it at all.
Your company might be suffering from that fate. If your product or service is software-based and updates never seem to hit the market at the right time, you’re probably feeling frustrated, angry and on the verge of giving up.
Don’t. Software dev is hard. It’s also a long game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hit the market at just the right time with a solution that blows the competition out of the water.
If your software development process has stagnated, here are five tips for super-charging it.
1. Stop focusing on perfection
Perfection doesn’t exist. If you continually chase the ‘p’ word, you’ll never get anything out of the door.
Often, ‘good enough’ is enough. If we take Apple as an example again, the original iPhone released with a slow wireless connection, limited onboard storage and the inability to copy and paste text. And now look at it.
When you’ve created something that works and delivers a solution to a common problem, get it out and in the hands of customers. They’ll soon tell you what needs to be improved, and if you do so iteratively, you’ll win them over.
2. Decrease the complexity of your software
The pursuit of perfection often results in software products which are needlessly complicated.
Too many features and user interfaces which have been tweaked to within an inch of their lives will not only vastly extend your time to market, they’ll also drive customers to the more simplistic competition.
The best things in life are simple. If it’s taking too long to develop a piece of software, go back to the original reason you started the project; how far have you deviated from that beautifully simple idea?
3. Stop developing for a single customer (or small subset)
This is a common problem for software firms who have loyal customer bases.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of adding features and creating entirely new solutions based on feedback from a small subset of the customer base. Even worse is doing so for one particularly vocal customer.
The result is a highly functional software product that is only suitable and relevant for a tiny portion of your market. And reversing that process once you’re in the mire is very challenging.
Before you commit anything to design and development, carry out wider market research to see if it’s a fit. Will it help you grow or satisfy just a handful of existing customers?
4. Divide resources within your team – smartly
Let’s think about the various elements of software development:
- back-end dev
- front-end dev
- bug fixing
In your organisation, are the above tasks distributed across the whole team smartly or are they ‘everyone’s job’?
We’ve only skimmed the surface of what’s involved in software development, but it’s important you recruit a team which can undertake individual, specific tasks. These semi-autonomous, cross-functional units of highly skilled people will help you get to the end goal far quicker and in much better shape.
5. Break everything up into chunks
Agile planning is vitally important in software development, and it’s a masterfully simple concept.
Software projects are big. However, break them down into their constituent elements and they suddenly become far less cumbersome and daunting.
By breaking up your project into smaller chunks, you can tackle each stage one at a time, set realistic goals for completion and marvel as the entire thing comes together succinctly and in line with the original scope.
There will always be countless challenges during a software development project, but if you follow our tips above, you’ll start to release your products on time – we promise.
It won’t happen overnight, and the entire team needs to come along for the ride, but once it ‘clicks’, this form of agile, goal-centred software development will quickly put you ahead of the competition and in the minds of potential customers.
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