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You can see the finish line, your software is so close to launching, and you only have the finishing touches to add to the product before it goes live. Now is when you must decide if you add in that extra feature or spend the additional time and money on another sprint to build out a seemingly necessary detail into your software solution. You certainly don’t want people to be introduced to a product that isn’t just right. So, how do you know when it is genuinely ready for the public to see your creation?
Having released software in various business ventures, I know how stressful that launch can feel and how perfect you want your product to be. But as a leader, you are constantly weighing your options for every aspect of your company. For your software launch, you must decide: should your answer be “just right” or “ready right now?”
So, how do you get to the answer? I’ve accumulated simple tips and tricks to prevent your product from being overly developed to avoid wasting resources.
1. Watch your wallet
Essentially every start-up has a limited budget. You worked so hard to raise capital to get a product in development, and now you’re here. While the most expensive pre-prototype is pre-launch, you don’t want to waste all your company’s savings now.
You haven’t even released a Minimal Viable Product (MVP), so how do you know what will work and what won’t? How do you know where to spend more money or if you even want to continue with the business? You may get your lightning bolt idea by getting the product out in front of your consumer, and then you may need to raise more money!
2. Check your clock
Your time is more important than money. How long have you spent on the development of your software? If the answer is over four months, it’s time to release it. For your MVP, understand that it needs to get in front of a customer. The sooner, the better. That means now is the time to determine your beachhead market and GO! You certainly don’t want to release it the first time to the wrong customer base, so start somewhere where the only answer is if the product is right or wrong — and do it now!
3. Don’t let fear get in your way
This is the most challenging and common advice I give to the leaders of software start-ups. It’s human nature to be fearful that their baby is “ugly” since they have spent months working on the development and potentially years planning for the product. Releasing it into the world is the moment of truth if it will work and be a success or if it will go back to the drawing board. And even worse, what if it is a complete failure and you have to determine to call it quits? As an entrepreneur, that’s your biggest fear!
Here is the truth – waiting it out and not releasing it doesn’t make it any better. Giving it the final touches won’t prevent failure if the product isn’t good at its core. Now is the time to send it out to the public and find the truth. Do not let fear stop you now.
4. Avoid the traps
You’re in the technology business, meaning you must have the best and most cutting-edge product, right? Not necessarily! That may be the case once you have proven the concept, but pre-launch, you may not even need the essential technologies. Sometimes for your MVP, you can adapt low-tech to streamline a product to test your idea before you sink time and resources into something that isn’t viable.
You may even be able to find a low-tech manual solution to test out if the product is desired before you dive deep into build-out. It doesn’t have to be a full product to see if you have a customer before you are deep into overbuilding.
As technology continues to change and shift, it’s vital to adjust your mentality into the construction phases of your product. Today’s mentality is to build an MVP and then launch quickly. After proving the need, you can make updates on a sprint system to continue to build out. This allows you to stay lean and agile and harness the best aspect of your software for the most viable business.