From lightning bolts in the middle of the night to a brainstorm in the shower … humans are full of great ideas. Let’s face it, innovation has driven the hearts and minds of Americans since this country was founded. This spirit is still alive and thriving today. But having a great idea isn’t always enough, especially when it comes to software.
Software product development necessitates more than just the code needed to make it work, it must take into account your overall business. A successful software product requires a holistic approach to the overall process and the pain point you are trying to solve.
Which begs the question, where to begin? The first six steps to bring your software product development idea to life, as outlined in this blog, will get you beyond the brainstorm and ready to go to market.
Many a great idea has failed not because the core hypothesis was inaccurate but because it was poorly executed.” – Anonymous
Beyond the Brainstorm & Into the Market
Have you ever had a really fantastic software product or app idea … something truly extraordinary that could change the way we do things? Sometimes these ideas shape the world around us, like Uber, Airbnb, and Instacart. Other times, an idea can make the world of difference to an industry or even a group of individuals.
As technology evolves, bringing a software product to life no longer requires a big tech company behind it. More and more entrepreneurs are able to enter the market with fewer barriers. There are many small software businesses that are shaping the future of product development every day.
So, how do you take your exceptional idea and turn it into a functional software product or application? You need to start with a well-planned, creative process, communication, and a solid go-to-market strategy.
Sounds easy, right? It may start out that way, but once you get started brainstorming and moving through the software development process, you may find that you are faced with many questions, such as, how do I …
- get started?
- make all the pieces fit together?
- turn my idea into a usable product?
- find a development partner who knows how to make things happen?
- decide how to monetize my product?
- take my product to market?
Since innovative ideas are shaping how the world works, it’s important to take your dream beyond the brainstorm and into the market. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone, and by addressing the questions above, we will provide you with six logical steps to help facilitate your software development or application process.
1. Start Turning Your Software Idea into a Reality
The most successful software projects are those that combine innovation with a clear need in the marketplace. Think of all the businesses or individuals that could benefit from your new product … how many lives could you change?
Before you begin to program the technology, you must first understand the bigger picture. Ever notice how hard it is to assemble a puzzle without the picture on the box? Software product development requires that same big-picture view.
This old adage, “anything worth doing is worth doing well,” fits perfectly with software development. There are multiple ways to tackle the project, but typically only one right way.
- Beginning the process can be as easy as drawing out your product using paper or a design tool.
- Start small and set yourself up for success. It is far better to have a simple product or app with an exceptional user experience (UX) that works well, than a complex one that frustrates the user or doesn’t work at all.
- Set a realistic timeline with realistic milestones. Don’t rush things and make sure you allow time for the creative process to take place.
- Don’t box yourself in. You want to be able to freely create.
- Start to think through what the product development process needs to look like.
- Look at the market, your competition (if there is any), pinpoint your target audience
2. Make All the Pieces Fit Together
Get holistic with the project and the solution you’re offering and how it fits with your company, as well as with your potential customer base. This allows you to look at the entire end-to-end software development process and clearly identify the pain point you are trying to solve.
- Plan, set schedules, create a budget, pull together a reliable internal and/or external team.
- Communicate, on a regular basis, with your internal team, business partners, external developers, and anyone else involved.
- Visualize your project, get all your plans fleshed out with wireframing or storyboarding. Map out every button, screen, function, and every piece that will make your product function as it should.
The most successful software development projects are the ones that combine an innovative idea with a clear need in the marketplace.”
3. Turn Your Idea into a Usable Product
This is when you really get into developing a viable, usable product. All great software, regardless of the purpose and design, is crafted by practicing the fundamental concept of continuous iteration, resulting in the creation of a Minimum Viable Product, or MVP.
Defining your MVP is a technique in which your new software product or application is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. On a more basic level, it means that you launch your software with the intention of monitoring user feedback and implementing updates that improve the software later.
4. Partner with a Software Development Team
It is rare for a business to have the internal expertise and bandwidth to complete a successful software or mobile app development project without external help. Day-to-day operations inevitably interrupt the opportunity to complete the project, leaving all the benefits of a successful finished product on the table.
That’s why a trusted, experienced software development company as a strategic project partner provides the best chance of success.
How do you know which software development company is a fit for you and which is not? To choose an external software developer partner, evaluate different companies’ credentials, reviews, websites, and completed projects and applications. Have conversations with them and get a feel for how they work.
If it seems they fit with your vision and have in-depth technical skills, business acumen, tenacity, and exceptional communication, there’s a good chance the company you select will be the right choice.
By partnering with a trusted, experienced software development company, you will benefit from:
- Expert technical advice and consultation.
- A dedicated team focused solely on your project.
- An immediate increase in the technology savviness of your internal team and each person’s bandwidth.
- The freedom to manage it all from a higher viewpoint.
- Assurance that all aspects of the project are organized from start to finish.
- An accelerated finished, user-friendly product.
5. Decide How to Monetize Your Software Product
There are a few guiding principles on how to monetize your product. It’s wonderful to have a creative vision but what happens when it becomes commercial? Can you make money from it, and if so, how do you make money from it while preserving the value to the customer?
- Check and double-check that the UX/UI is easy and positive and that the benefits of your product or service outweigh the cost.
- Build a long-term profitability strategy rather than a short-term revenue drive.
- Use the same creativity you used to build the product to market it – think outside the box here to reach your audience.
- Research the different monetization strategies…
- Advertising and marketing
- Monthly subscriptions
- Brand sponsorships
- In-app purchases
- Free/premium versions
To finish the project and take your software product to market, decide how you plan to get it into the hands of those who can use it, get their feedback, adjust it, and perfect it over time. First, start with prototype groups, then move into distribution via software as a service (SaaS).
Prototype groups are groups of users that provide immediate feedback during the testing of your product. The goal of the prototype group is to provide a means to an honest conversation about the good and not-so-good aspects of your product.
- Prototype groups can be potential customers, trusted friends and allies, business advisors, industry experts, etc.
Software distribution has become incredibly easy with the advent of the mobile app stores and Software as a Service (SaaS) distribution via the Cloud.
- Mobile app stores allow you to quickly submit your app, typically through an approval process, and make it easily available on the major mobile platforms.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method of publishing a web application to a server or service in the Cloud, making it immediately available for people to subscribe to or otherwise consume.
The Bottom Line … You Can Bring Your Software Ideas to Life and Get them to Market
Now you have a guide to turning your software development idea into a usable product by making all the pieces fit together, finding a development partner who knows how to make it happen, monetizing your product, getting it to market, and generating revenue. In Part 2 of How to Bring Your Software Development and App Idea to Life, learn more about prototype groups, distribution, pricing, how to protect your intellectual property, and more. Be sure to click here for those details.
If you think you have an excellent idea for software product development or an application, now is the time to make it a reality. You can turn your idea into a viable product!
Swip Systems is here to give you the confidence to bring your software idea to life, help you brainstorm, and when it’s time, combine business best practices with the latest changes in technology to see that you build a smart, stable, marketable software product or application that’s in step with the times. Contact us today for a no-obligation chat about your great idea. We love to help! 877.377.SWIP