Why your projects are not successful
Today there are dozens of startup projects, new products and services on the market, but just small percentage of them are successful. We are not talking here about software products only, because these rules can be applied to any other project/service/product.
No market analysis
Back in student days, together with my friends we had a several ideas to enhance some services, to offer new services to people, to help other students etc. but one thing we didn’t do properly is market analysis. Market analysis is really big theme, but let me try to explain some basics.
If you are spending 1 year of your energy producing something that is already there, or something which is not interesting to the people, then you wasted one year of your life, energy and other resources. Much better approach is to first analyze some of the following questions:
- Who will use your product (who are your users) – This can really help you defining proper design of the product
- How many of them are using similar products
- What are things they adore, and they “hate” in similar products
- What are your benefits comparing others
- How you will communicate to your customers
- Are you sure that people are interested in your product, and how can you confirm this statement?
Even you think this step is not important, and you have feeling it is going to be the most successful project, please do market analysis before you start your journey.
You are trying to eat an elephant
One thing I see young developers are doing is they are trying to eat an elephant. They want immediately to implement all functionalities, integration with other services, and everything what is possible, and they think their project will be awesome because of that. No, your product is awesome because it is unique, it is special it is good, and these technical stuff are important, but at the start you should concentrate on your product core.
Remember Google when they just started, they didn’t have Google Docs, Google Wallet, Google Maps etc. they expanded their services as the time progressed. Hope you understand the point, otherwise you will spent all your HR, money and energy and your project will end up in garbage.
Expand your product in iterations, by defining what is your crucial service, then expand it. If you try to implement everything in short period of time, then don’t expect some results.
Multiple stakeholders, no leader
Most of startup projects consist of team counting 2-10 people. At the start, they define core idea, and they try to expand it. During that time, idea is getting bigger, and team member opinions are starting to diverge. Then all of them are trying to pull the idea in direction they want, and they are starting to ignore opinion of others. I experienced this, and I saw it happening to other teams.
There is easy solution to this, and it is called leader. If there are more than 2 persons in team, you have to define a leader. I know it sound crazy but yes, you should pick one person to be leader. Every company has a leader (CEO) and you company should also. CEO should lead you to the desired results, he will take more responsibilities, and in some point of the time it is going to be funny but effective. Please remember that CEO can be person having lower technical knowledge than you, and that should not be criteria for selecting CEO (I saw some teams complaining how someone can be CEO or leader without having enough technical knowledge. If that person is motivating and good for office atmosphere that no problem).
Planing of your project is really important. I suggest you to plan your project at least 6 months ahead, and yes, this plan should be accepted by leader you previously defined and should be realistic.
First plan to implement core of your project, some crucial services, and then try to expand it. Plan will help you to see where your project is going, how many people you will need in future, and when you should start with other things like marketing, production, release planning etc…
Today there are free planning tools available online. Most of the time I use Redbooth (Teambox) with Google Docs for document collaboration.
How many times you heard some good band in bar and you asked yourself why they are not so popular, because they are so talented and they sound really good! Yes, they need one thing what is called marketing. Today, marketing is the most important think you should think about. Can you remember one unsuccessful project, and can you remember how much time, effort, money you invested in marketing. Yes, all these values are probably 0%, meaning you didn’t care for marketing, and that is why you have the same scenario as music band from your favorite bar.
If you are an engineer, and if you are trying to make a marketing plan, then you should stop it immediately. Don’t think you know everything, and you know marketing. Marketing is complex and it requires specialized people to do your marketing plan.
If you don’t have money and other resources, then try to work with students studding marketing, try to meet with people with successful marketing campaigns, who can share thoughts and ideas with you, but please don’t think marketing is easy and not important factor.
Speed over quality
I remember myself programming 15 hours a week in order to implement our ideas asap. This is because we didn’t created a good project plan, we were overloaded, and after one month wasted, tired willing to sleep not to work.
If you create good project plan, you project will be on time, you will have energy to dedicate your self to other things (sports, market analysis, communication with other people), and you will be satisfied by your time management. When you are programming 15 hours a day, then after few weeks you are just willing to do it in any way, without proper testing, with bad algorithms etc. This can be boomerang, and your project quality is dropping down instead up. So make your plan and stick with it.
I wrote few things you should consider when starting new project/service or product. If you have any comments please write me to code.epicenter at gmail.com. Also I want to thank all of you who are sending me supporting emails and themes we could discus about.http://code-epicenter.com/why-your-projects-are-not-successful/Why your projects are not successfulhttp://code-epicenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Project.jpghttp://code-epicenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Project-150x150.jpgDeveloper's careerprogrammer life,project planning,startup projects