What are the requirements for a new online Startup Website?
To get functionality out there quickly and within budget.
A startup company is often based on a single new idea that someone has decided to invest some money and time into. Money is limited. More money will only become available when the idea starts generating an income. So the “within budget” portion is important because there often simply is not any further money available. Furthermore, an idea can easily be copied or someone else might already have the same idea. You need something out there “quickly” to be the leader in your field and build some customer loyalty and “buzz” about your product.
Agility, being able to adapt quickly to changes and new requirements.
Again considering that a Startup is often based on a single idea, that idea is very often not completely defined. Inevitably as you start working on the solution you think “What about this” or “that’s not going to work as I had imagined it” or “it’ll be awesome to offer THAT to my customers”. Almost by definition, a Startup is a work in progress and you need to be able to adapt quickly to new ideas, new requirements and sometimes a complete change in direction. This need for agility or the need to adapt applies to the original development phase but even more so once your new business has gone live. Once people start using your product you might find that something that you thought was going to be amazing might not work for Joe public at all, in fact, they might hate it. At that point it is important that your whole team is used to adapting and delivering new functionality quickly.
I’m sure there are many other requirements, but I think from a small business owner’s point of view and often a non-technical person’s point of view, the above points are, in my opinion, the most important requirements for a Startup online business.
How to be agile and deliver quickly on your Startup Website?
The word “agile” fits perfectly into the scenario I described above of what’s required for a startup, but it’s certainly not something I came up with. Agile Development is a whole methodology on its own and has been used in software development for decades. Similarly, LEAN software development comes from Toyota’s LEAN manufacturing principals and has also been around for decades. But these two methodologies or ways of working apply very much to what you need for an Online Startup Business. Agile might give you a headache, but if you’re interested, I suggest you read a non-technical overview of what LEAN software development is.
Some of the phrases that come up in LEAN principals regularly are things like “Deliver fast” and “eliminate waste” and it’s all about putting in the least amount of effort to get a working version of what you need out there without losing maintainability. The maintainability part is important! You want to be able to deliver your product quickly, but you also don’t want to create a nightmare for yourself a few months down the line because your code is a mess (not maintainable) and takes hours and hours to make small changes to it.
So how does that apply to your new Startup Website?
Well, it means let’s break your project down into small pieces of work. Each piece can each be delivered in a relatively short period of time. That, in turn, means that if one of those small pieces of work isn’t what you had in mind, we can either fix just that one thing or throw it out completely and replace it with something else without losing the time spent on the other small pieces. It means not recreating the wheel every time. If there’s an existing product that offers 80% of what you want, let’s work with that and develop the other 20% ourselves. It means not spending weeks on creating a detailed specification, but instead delivering small pieces of working functionality and testing it in practice. And it means being in regular contact with your development team, giving feedback and adapting our plan as the project evolves.