A Superhero Secret to Release Software! [10 mins read]
2017 is upon us and trends confirm that it is going to be another year of growth and expansion in pretty much all markets. So if you are considering releasing your new Software product then this is the time.
In the past months I have shown you how to estimate a basic IT project, what goes into a software strategy, the importance of a proof of concept and establishing a clear business objective for your first software project. To get your software to market and be successful at the same time, you are going to need a gun team of excellence to get you there!
No matter if this is actually your first software or not, what is clear is that it needs to be successful. And for it to be, there is something that you need: a superhero team! Anybody could be working on the same idea like you, but if you have the right team, you could win the big prize!
In this article I will tackle: the superhero team, the superhero strategy, and the superhero budgeting.
Many software projects and particularly ones that need to manage budgets closely some team members may need to take on several roles. In certain situations it must be noted that combining some roles can compromise quality, so this is something that must be monitored.
THE SUPERHERO TEAM
The main roles to be considered are the following:
- Client/Project Sponsor:
This is the person requesting the work and paying for it. In the majority of the cases it’s the entrepreneurs themselves.
- Account Manager:
In larger organisations, the Account Manager is the person who manages the relationship between the software development company performing the work and the client.
- Commercial Manager:
The Commercial Manager role assures a well formed contract between all parties. Only require at the start of the project. Basically part-time or consultant based.
- Product Manager:
The product manager will provide the market research and direction which drives the business outcome.
- Project Manager:
This role will manage the project from the start to when the software is released to your end users for formal commercial use.
In early stage startups and low budget startups all the above roles are adopted by the entrepreneur, but as the company grows it’s vital that there’s a person dedicated (full or part time) to each of them for optimal results and increased productivity.
- Software Architect:
This role is responsible for identifying infrastructure/hosting/platform requirements, database selection, and software coding language standards or tool requirements. It is critical these items are locked down prior to any software development.
- Business Analyst
This roles analyses and addresses the lower level business requirements by how the software needs to function from a business perspective.
- UI/UX Designer
The primary goal is to make the user experience an enjoyable one. This is achieved by designing ease of use, general visual design, correct function placement, etc.
- Software Developer
This role is responsible for building the software as requested by the business analyst and UI/UX Designer. They also need to consider disability coding standards, software performance standards and many more.
- Software Tester
This role formally tests the software through pre-determined criteria. They assess that the software is fit for purpose. The role is there to identify software defects and ensure they are fixed prior to market launch.
These are the basic roles I recommend at a minimum. Don’t be scared and feel this is an expensive exercise by any means. You will require these roles over the lifetime of the project. They play a critical role in producing a quality outcome and reducing your risk of failure.
THE SUPERHERO STRATEGY
Apart from the perfect team, you will need a winning strategy as well. Many are the things to keep in mind, but having a structured idea will help you face any problem! During the latest weeks I published several articles with steps to face new releases and interviews with experienced serial entrepreneurs. These are the main ideas that came up:
- Create a sample of your product in a small trial.
- Call your friends and family, and divide them into test groups by age or interests for example.
- Let them try the product and accept their feedback, either good or bad.
- Make the necessary changes, and repeat the step as many times as needed until you have a minimum viable product that could hit the market.
- Release your product in a small scale (don’t go global all at once!!) and then make fixes on the go.
- Before releasing, study the market and make sure it is really a good time to launch.
- Use your family and friends to spread the word locally first, get more feedback.
- Prepare for the worst, celebrate the best.
- Make sure that you have enough money (as stated above) to survive until the first sales start coming in.
- Ask friends and relatives if they know anybody with Marketing experience that you could consult.
- Get some funds into Marketing and create leads online.
THE SUPERHERO BUDGETING
Let’s look at examples of how these roles can be combined within a project team.
While I have identified the roles you require to get your project moving. Let’s look at the practical side of how to allocate your team.
The below table outlines team roles vs person responsible based on budget scenarios:
The above table and roles can be downloaded from the following link: bit.ly/1p7WFQM.
Independent testing is a critical function within any software development team. You will see in the above scenarios that the testing function is always separate. This is to ensure there is an independent voice throughout the process to maintain quality control. If your budget is extremely limited, your developer might be requested to do everything. Make sure you are aware of their workload and assist them if they don’t have time to test everything. Many companies use developers as testers, however just be aware when they require support to maintain quality.
- Think who you need to create your product and research how much you would have to pay them. Make sure to have an idea of how long it would take as well.
- Ask local accountants and lawyers for their fees.
- Set a savings account to get some extra income from the interest.
- Present your business plan to your bank, you may be able to get a small investment loan.
- Ask friends and family for their opinion on whether they could eventually help you should anything go wrong in your personal life while you work on the project.
I wrote this particular article to ensure you are well informed of what you need to consider when developing software or your first project. Be aware of your budget and manage what can be realistically achieved with that. Make sure you consider the team maturity, experience and capability. I cannot stress that enough.
I would love to hear your opinions, questions or subjects you wish for me to cover.
Please post your feedback to me via the discussion boards below.