Stop Failing to Plan!
The age old adage of “failing to plan means you’re planning to fail” rings particularly true with technology development. The thought of diving into a project without a roadmap and set of blueprints makes us shudder and cringe. A homebuilder wouldn’t lay his foundation without a blueprint, and you wouldn’t embark on a long road trip without a map, so why would you ever invest substantial sums of money into a product without a guide and plan?
At Bootstrap, we wont develop anything until a technical blueprint and development plan has been put in place. Any successful development starts with a strong foundation. We build your product’s foundation through a very specific process that’s designed to understand your expectations/vision, your business, your workflows, and your customers. Each of these components MUST be thought out and contextualized before any line of code is written.
You need to be in the driver seat
You’re the founder, the CEO, and the driving force behind the business that your technology will support. As such, its essential that you’re the one making decisions and pushing the development forward in a way that makes sense for your business. Your ability to push things forward as someone with limited understanding of “tech talk” and development strategy is impossible without a plan and a clear direction.
To create a comprehensive plan and blueprint, we go through a 3 tired process designed to contextualize your product and business, design your system and workflows on paper, and create a budget and schedule around your needs. At the conclusion of this process you’ll have the tools needed to lead and direct your development.
Understanding your product
The first step in creating your blueprint is to begin a high level discussion about your product and business. We need to understand the “global idea” and how it fits inside of your business. We ask our customers to breakdown their product through a series of lenses and angles in an effort to provoke a well rounded evaluation of their expectations.
A common realization our customers come to through this process is their functional lack of “total product understanding.” Most people have a great idea and have given a lot of thought about what they want the product to do but have neglected to think about how the product will do it. The “how” is critical as it drives the inputs of your product.
Dissecting your idea together springboards us towards success because we’re able to fully digest the in’s and out’s of your vision as it evolves. A common byproduct of this phase is a deeper understanding of how your product will work. This is essential as it adds a new tool to your belt that will help you run your business in an effective way.
Designing your product on paper
After we have a strong conceptual understanding of your product, we begin to design your technology on paper. We’ll use the knowledgebase that we established to logically layout your system. Its at this point that your system starts to come to life. You’ll have a clear depiction of how your user will interact with your system through a series of low-fi mockups.
This exercise is designed to provide the blueprint for development. We emphasize this section because it doesn’t cost us any extra money to change things on paper. We can play around with ideas and different user paths in an effort to design the most effective system. When companies neglect this phase, they risk wasting substantial sums of money in the development phase. Rewriting code is far more expensive than testing ideas on paper.
The goal of this process is to minimize experimentation in development and create a very clear path forward. We want to create this clear path so that every development hour is used developing and not wasted trying to interrupt how the technology should function.
Creating this visual depiction and writing the rules and testing criteria puts you and the developer on the same page. When the product is produced and delivered, you’ll use the same testing criteria the developer used to create the software. You know what’s required, you understand what it should do, and you can provide valuable feedback without having to know anything about the underlying code. The goal is to give you the needed tools to drive your development forward with confidence and an understanding of what needs to happen next.
A schedule and budget tailored to your objectives
Most firms will push you to develop your entire product in one swoop, this is both irresponsible and a dramatic waste of money. Our goal is to design your entire product on paper and then schedule and budget each module to fit your constraints.
When you’re able to evaluate and see how your software will function you’re able to break it down and develop it strategically. We highly recommend this approach because it allows you to build you system in logical chunks.
Taking this approach enables you to optimize each module individually and spend money strategically. Since most software builds on top of core infrastructure, it’s a gross waste of money to develop the entire system without optimizing the key features first. Understanding how each module builds on top of each other, and knowing what’s required allows you to manage the development in a way that makes sense for your business and cash flow.
The budgets that we develop for our clients’ aren’t based on our sales goals, they’re created with your priorities, rollout schedule and internal deadlines. At the end of the day, the budget has to make sense for you, it has to line up with what best serves your global objectives. Understanding that development is a long term process helps influence how and when you’ll spend money. Properly managing your development budget should become a primary focus as you transition from planning to execution, our goal is to help you do that in the best way possible.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
You don’t have to be an expert programmer or a seasoned CTO to take control of your development. You need a plan, you need to fully understand your product, and you need to drive the development in a way that fits your objectives.
Don’t build your technical “house” without a blueprint. If the plan is well thought out and detailed, your ability to remain in the driver seat will be easy. You’ll have the knowledge and understanding to manage your development budget, you’ll have the confidence to tell a developer something isn’t correct, and most importantly, you’ll have the ability to drive and create the product that meets exactly what you’re needing.
Please download our sample development packet to see how we create blueprints for our clients.