There’s no end to companies looking to capture lightning in a bottle and monetize it through software product development. But, what happens when your company plans for the next big thing and you lack the internal resources to get it off the ground? Answer: Outsource it.
1 – Define the Need
Put product objectives and scope in writing. (This seems like an obvious step but stories of failed products reveal that many organizations don’t start at definition.) Definition creates a roadmap for your software product while also revealing technologies and requirements that ultimately narrow a worldwide selection of service providers for outsourcing consideration.
Start by defining your target audience. Hint: you can’t say “everyone.” Get as specific as you can and truly understand your customer. Be sure to research the competition, analyze marketplace pricing and trends, and study customer buying behaviors.
Next, define the problem and your solution. Seek to solve a real-world problem, and don’t be another shiny bauble. Feature sets and new technologies are great, but only if they integrate into an end user’s daily routine.
Finally, define a logical pricing schema and growth strategy. This will help you determine the opportunities you have in the marketplace, as well as a roadmap for product development.
Once you know how you’ll start and where you’re headed, you can select a service provider with flexibility and scale to grow with your product.
2 – Spend Time on the UX
User Experience (UX) makes or breaks a product. For example, 64% of employees site poor user experience as the reason for rarely using enterprise mobile apps.
Both B2B and B2C design approaches have shifted from a feature-first mentality to a user-first approach. Why? The “consumerization of IT.” End users inside and outside the enterprise expect software to be intuitive and easy-to-use and access. If it isn’t, they’ll abandon the application.
User-first design delivers more advanced, user-friendly applications that are successfully adopted and meet the business needs defined in step one. Plus, you and your outsourced partners cut precious development time and save costs with testing to keep your project on track and help check both the usability and functionality boxes.
3 – Don’t Shoot for Perfection
Get your product into the hands of your users fast and don’t wait for perfection. Ship products, even if they aren’t “perfect,” to meet customer demand and stay ahead of the competition. It’s always easier to set the trend than to attempt to upset a competitor who started it.
The best way to reduce time to market is to work through the user experience, prototype a minimum viable product (MVP) with your outsourced software developer and have alpha and beta users test it. Record their observations alongside feedback given in surveys and interviews. Both pieces of data inform the next version number or upgrade for your outsourced development team.
It’s always easier to set the trend than to attempt to upset a competitor who started it.
4 – Protect Intellectual Property
As you ramp up to your release, have safeguards in place to protect your proprietary ideas. Guarding intellectual property is a critical step to consider for every outsourced engagement. Physical products may come and go—and be studied and copied—but intellectual property is the secret sauce that differentiates your product from every other player.
Contract with outsourcing firms that are American domiciled. This ensures that the vendor will follow the same laws and regulations that the U.S.-based country does. Likewise, seek to understand the laws that govern the vendor’s country. As an example, India uses English common law, explaining why it’s one of the leading countries in software development outsourcing. Its laws are fairly similar to the ones found in the U.S.
5 – Create speed with Agile
When you need to move fast, your software developers need to move fast, too. And for that, Agile methodology is one of the hottest skills in contemporary software development. Agile delivers the speed you need to take your product from paper to market in the shortest amount of time possible. Agile development promotes early delivery, rapid change response, and adaptive planning.
Partner with outsourced developers who can move quickly, are experienced in Agile, and experienced in the latest development trends and best practices.