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Innovation, Software September 9, 2016
Are you getting ready to develop a new product of any sort – or even thinking about it? Then pay close attention. Because what we’re about to tell you could save you an invaluable amount of time, hassle, strife, and, most importantly, money. We want to share with you 5 reasons why you don’t want to piece together your development team to get the job done.
Too many companies of all kinds and sizes think they can cobble together a team of freelancers to get their product built in a “cost effective way.” Or maybe they truly think that going out and finding the best and the brightest among freelancers will yield the best results.
Unfortunately, no matter how talented those freelancing individuals may be in their own rights, this strategy rarely works out the way they think it will. In fact, companies that have tried this strategy usually end up calling us when they are at their wits’ end and ready to hand the project over to someone who can re-do it the right way.
So what happens? Why doesn’t piecing together a team work out?
It’s because when you need a project completed, you need a cohesive team of people who are all invested in your project to really get it done right. And the more complex your project is, the more you need everyone to share a mindset, to share common goals – and to be invested in the outcome
Here are some of the less-than-productive things that can happen when you piece together your development team.
When you’ve got a handful of in-house developers, a couple of freelancers and an offshore development team all working on a project, it’s harder to get everyone on the same page. A cobbled-together team usually equals a cobbled-together product and a mess of miscommunication and project notes along the way.
Even if you’re organized, piecing together a team means you have a lot of different people and a lot of moving parts to manage – none of which are in the same place or working at the same speed. That’s a lot to manage. If you don’t have experience managing tech projects, that will add another layer of difficulty to the mess. Sounds like a headache, right?
Companies trying to build a product using this approach usually spend a lot of time coming up with pie-in-the-sky ideas. (Too many cooks in the kitchen trying to “out creative” each other perhaps?) But at the end of each day, who on your team is going to own the project and look at it holistically? Who is going to make sure that everyone’s ideas work together and serve the project for the long term?
Of course, it’s possible that a really strong, seasoned project manager might be able to wrangle a team that’s scattered across the globe. However, that’s a lot of extra work and effort – and things can get out of hand very quickly. It’s not the same as being able to gather everyone in a room and share ideas and really discuss what each team member needs, so they know how their roles fit together.
When it’s all said and done, you run the risk of ending up with something dysfunctional. Too often, when you piece together a development team, no one ends up taking ownership of the project. There’s no one to rely on to get it right the first time. (Or, conversely, you could end up with a bunch of alpha freelancers getting into pissing contests over who will make all the decisions and come up with the best ideas.)
When you give a developer something to build with a list of features and functions, that’s what you get. What you don’t get is a plan for what’s next after the beta version is ready. What if the beta version isn’t any good? What if beta testers hate it – or have a bunch of change requests? What if the beta version is nowhere near what it needs to be to take it to market? How will you get it ready to go to market?
Instead of planning for what the product should look like in three months, six months, or a year, many development teams become focused on fixing bugs to make it right. When this happens, the project usually goes nowhere, because the company either starts to think it really wasn’t a great idea in the first place or they just don’t know what to do next.
Long-term planning is a crucial part of development, and you need someone on your development team who can create and lead an effective long-term strategy for the product you’re building. Without a plan, your product is likely to fall short, like some self-fulfilling prophesy, and will likely never make it to market – or it will get to market and fall flat. Developers alone don’t usually offer this kind of strategic planning.
Even if you’re only working with one freelancer, you’re likely working with an order taker. There is a lot of talent out there, but you need more than a talented developer to make your product successful. Your developer may be able to build anything you ask them to build, but do they have the knowledge and experience of taking a product to market? Do they know your target audience? Is what you asked to be built even viable? Can they tell you if it is? You need more than a developer.
You need a partner who can guide you through the startup and creation process. Someone who can build a small ship first (AKA a model on a small scale), iterate, test, learn, and then help you take the product to the market.
It’s not about the features. It’s about iterating, pivoting, and testing to make sure that what you’re building is something your target customer wants or finds valuable.
If your project does have teeth but it hasn’t been executed properly, you’re likely going to have to hire a company to re-do it. And you’re going to be angry about it. Because rather than spend the money to get it done right the first time, you tried to save money by piecing a team together. And that ends up costing more, because you had to hire a company to fix it.
Development is exhausting and frustrating just by the nature of what it is. All that building and testing and retesting and tweaking – if you’re doing it right, that is.
But add to it a long list of barriers, such as not having everyone in the same place (or on the same page), miscommunication, no real leader to take ownership of the project, too many moving parts, and all the other challenges of a team you’ve pieced together, and it increases the exhaustion and frustration levels exponentially.
Since building and developing something new takes a lot of work, a lot of planning, and a lot of people power, wouldn’t it just be easier to find a team or agency that is used to working together and can manage all of that for you? Nine times out of 10, it would.
Too many companies find this out the hard way. Development is just one piece of the pie when it comes to getting a new tech product to market. If you’re developing a product, look for someone who can look at your project holistically; someone who knows how to dive into the market and guide you through the process – from initial research through concept and iteration to finally getting your product to market. Successfully. The first time.
Development is a complex topic and process. If you have questions about any part of development – whether you’re in the middle of a project or thinking of starting one – contact us for a free initial consultation. If you gain even one good idea from our team during the conversation, you’ll know it was worth the time.
Contact us to talk about how we can help.