How to do software product development as a startup in 2022

In 2022, starting a software product development project as a startup is probably one of the most exciting things you can do. At Hire Quality Software, we have seen a very strong trend towards people wanting to start up their own software product business.  

All startup businesses begin with an idea. An idea that could disrupt businesses and redefine how we conduct our day-to-day living. We know that these ideas often are formulized years before the actual project is started. Some of you are experienced business owners, with a network of just the right people that can back you up financially, others are less experienced and have a harder time finding partners and capital.

Developing a successful product involves making a product design, building a development team, prototyping, and testing the application. But there are also much more that needs to be considered like how to get the right people on board and how to do marketing and sales.

A common misconception people have is to think that a good idea for a software product is all that you need to succeed with a startup business.

Perhaps the most important trait that a successful startup has, is an owner that knows his strength and limitations. There are so many aspects to starting up a new software product business, that you probably cannot do it alone. There are financial aspects, marketing aspects, and technical aspects to consider, and finding people to surround yourself with, with just the right qualities is very significant, people who can add the necessary skillset to the business and complement yours.

To attract investment capital, you normally need to display a prototype version of your product, as well as a well-thought-out business plan.

Taking in investors as business partners is not just about getting investment capital, equally important is to get an active partner that will work together with you to make the business successful. Our advice is to put an equal amount of value to the partnership aspects of investments as for the actual capital.

To get investors interested, you generally need to show something. No investor will put in a large amount of money in your business unless you have hard evidence for a potentially successful business. Experienced startup entrepreneurs know that this stage is all about appearance. There is some logic to put “normal best practices” aside, and instead use every dirty trick in the book, to as fast and as cheap as possible, create a prototype that demonstrates why this product is the next big thing.

When you have all the people on board that you need to make your software product successful, it is time to hire a product owner.

How well an idea is turned into a product highly depends on how well requirements can be created and described to a team of developers. Consider this a full-time job, and not giving this role enough importance is a very common reason why a software product fails.

The product owner doesn’t need to be an expert programmer or a software architect, but they need to know how to create software products. To many people’s surprise, the least important thing in a software product is the actual code. Consider the product owner similar to the chief conductor in an orchestra, without the product owner or the chief conductor the team will not be able to create a good product.

Some of the areas that the product owner will work with

  • Developing and explicitly communicating the product goal.
  • Describing the product and decide in what order the application should be created in
  • Take responsibility for acceptance testing the product and initiate change requests when needed.
  • Act as a bridge between the business people and the product development team.

Understand that the product owner’s role is not the same as the owner of the product. The product owner role is a role in the Scrum methodology, which is by far the most common methodology used for software development. In many startups, this role is covered by other more general roles like CEO or CTO.

If you have chosen your partners, secured the investment, and have an experienced product owner on board, it is time to gather a team to do the actual development part

At this stage of product development, quality needs to be prioritized. You don’t want to use individual freelance programmers for this. You need programmers to feel accountable for their code quality and unless working in a team, the code quality will rarely be good enough. At Hire Quality Software we have taken over projects with months of development time behind them, work that needs to be thrown away because the code quality is so bad that it is impossible to build on. One way to avoid this is to hire external code reviewers at least once during the development phase. A better approach is to gather a team of software developers right from the beginning.

In a software development team, you need different roles to be fulfilled

Exactly what roles you need in a development team, depending on the size and the skills among your lead developers. With experienced lead developers, you will get fewer bugs in code, because they will make sure the code has good unit tests coverage and will prioritize reviewing code. With less experienced lead developers, you need more quality assurance resources, just to mention one possible variable.  

A software development team usually consist of a combination of some of these roles

  • Project Manager
  • Software Architect
  • Lead Developer
  • Senior Developer
  • Junior / Mid-level developer
  • Tester / QA
  • Graphic Designer
  • User Interaction Expert