Software Development for Startups: Make It Easy | 2020 Tips
software dev for startups


Software Development for Startups

How to facilitate rapid development for web and mobile and what technologies to use.
11 min read
In this highly saturated market, choosing a team to work with is a crucial part of your business strategy. The question is, whether it is best to approach a startup team or an established organization? On the first look, bigger businesses tend to seem more appealing and trustworthy, however, you cannot write off the results that a tech startup can bring you. These dynamic teams of battle-tested individuals are known to deliver excellent results that can prove your initial doubts wrong.

Popularity of startups

Startup tech companies have seen an increase of trust over the years thanks to the fact that consumers are now more likely to trust personal brands. Oftentimes, big tech companies come off as cold, corporate, and stiff thus making people averse towards them. Multinational software agencies are also known to propose run-off-the-mill templated solutions for projects which contributed to the mistrust of clients.

Clients value good communication and dynamic approach

Clients these days value warm and friendly relationships with their partnered solutions and that is what tech startups are best at. They make clients feel heard and involved in their projects. Tech startups are known for their personalized and new solutions that give clients a sense of inclusivity in the project. These small but capable startups understand the importance of creating dynamic solutions and delivering fast results. In contrast to bigger agencies, smaller teams often handle a limited amount of projects. Having a limited amount of projects wouldn’t be a bad thing especially for the clients. Because thanks to that, the projects are handled with the utmost care and precision. Another thing you should take note of is how these smaller teams are geared in both tech and business acumen. Unlike bigger counterparts, some of these teams do not have an exclusive person for marketing and sales. They would often need to fill in the shoes of these positions themselves. Making them the best choice for clients who are looking for someone who would truly understand the ins and outs of the business.
Startups are often finding it hard to sustain their businesses. It is not uncommon to find a team closing down due to a lack of projects or conflicts. Nevertheless, you should not shy away from them. Talk to multiple vendors and discuss your project with them.

Before you start make sure to have a technical person on board

The first step you need to do is to find a person who has the technical knowledge to interview the teams you are considering to bring in as your vendor. Non-tech people might struggle to understand technical jargon. The project itself may pose several questions that are problematic to handle with a simple Google search. Field experience is the best but if you are lacking in personnel, then someone who is at least tech-savvy will be a good choice. Ensure that you are getting the most out of this venture by appointing someone qualified to do the job of finding the best fit team.

Go for a US-located partner

One factor you should consider when choosing a trusted partner for your development needs is location. While the cheaper option would be to work with a remote team located in Eastern countries, ideally you should be working with a USA based company. The reason for that is America’s Seed Fund powered by the National Science Foundation better known as NSF. This program is also known as the NSF Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program (SBIR/STTR). This federal program supports Research and Development done by startups and small businesses to develop breakthrough technologies that can be commercialized and produce an impact on the market. As a result, you will be getting the latest cutting edge solutions that the market can offer. Are you looking for the latest solutions for your software or do you want to try outsourcing to save costs? Weigh your options and pick a team that would best fit your needs.

Pick a team with marketing and scaling experience

It would be good to consider the crew that has experience in marketing and scaling a business before. This aspect is quite advantageous for your business. A lot of inexperienced teams end up over-engineering the product at an early stage, which wastes a lot of resources. Some teams may get over-excited about creating an impactful solution that they end up neglecting its practicality for the business. Your chosen team should have a clear understanding of how a business works from budgets to business solutions. Have someone who can deliver quick results. They might be able to offer you solutions that would boost your project exponentially. Also, you may opt to get external advice from growth hacking consultants.

Do not forget about communication

Rapid development requires fast and open communication. A start-up team with closely knitted members usually shines in this aspect. However, for teams who work remotely for you, an obstacle might appear – time zone differences. Thus, a good move to best this challenge is to have a fixed time overlap, and regular catch-ups in order to ensure that everyone is up to date and a part of the discussion. A good idea is to set up recurring scheduled video calls with the entire team during which you will go through the past weeks progress and discuss any challenges that have appeared. These calls should also be done as a part of the Agile development process which most Tech startups use. This process would involve planning, review, and retrospective. Make some time in your schedule to participate in these meetings.

As the saying goes, people want to talk to people. Take a good look at your team and check whether they are focused, confident about the results they are delivering to you and if they are excited about the project. Otherwise, find out which parts are they having difficulties with and discuss it thoroughly during the meeting. It also helps to have team tools such as Slack, Jira or Asana. Whichever you choose, always check if everyone is up-to-date.

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Ensure that you are getting the most out of this venture by appointing someone qualified to do the job of finding the best fit team.

Do not underestimate the importance of feedback

Let us say that you have found your dream team and you are in the process of pushing your mobile or web app through its stages. What would be needed during these stages? That would be feedback. Sounds fairly simple but this heavily affects your team and your project. In line with having open communications, feedback should always be a part of your discussions. A feedback loop might sound tiring but this is the key to align your priorities well and to nail down your KPI’s. Tech startups usually apply Agile development in their teams and if that is the case for your vendor, make it a point to be a part of their sprint planning, review and retrospective. Although the sprint review is the best time to produce feedback, you and your team could also apply this whenever it highly is needed.

A great method to give and receive feedback through team project management tools such as JIRA, Asana, and Slack. These tools help everyone effectively communicate the status of the project. Tools such as JIRA and Asana would provide you with a great project overview. It would be a great advantage for yourself if you are working with a team that is located on the other side of the globe.

Analyze and draw conclusions from the data you have

Always be data-driven. Integrating analytics to your web or mobile software should start at the early stage. The earlier the better. As a result, you will have an extensive database that will be playing a significant role in product development. Always do A/B testing and track how your users interact with your product and adjust according to the data you have collected. It is highly recommended to use tools such as Google Analytics, Fullstory, Crashlytics in Firebase and Mixpanel.

Right approach to software development for startups from the very beginning

It is very important to be prepared for software development from the beginning. It will take your business further than ever, and enable your organization to be accessible from anywhere and at any place via smartphones or laptops.

Things you should pay special attention to from the very beginning:

1. Establish clear communication paths

From the first day of software development, make sure everyone understands the roles assigned to them.

2. Define best practices and conventions

If you have experience in software development, analyze with your team what went well and what went wrong. Be prepared for any unforeseen problems encountered in the past.

3. Choose an appropriate continuous integration system

Continuous integration is crucial for every project. You want to make sure that you can release the new developments with minimal effort.

4. Choose your tools and applications

Make sure you choose the tools that will be used, because one thing that you want to avoid is using too many different tools for achieving the same purpose.

5. Use version control systems

Using a version control system is a great way to protect our product against unforeseen problems.

6. Development environment

The development environment will be the sandbox of the development team. That is why it will not be stable at all times, and you can expect data inconsistencies.

7. Testing environment

You need to provide the right environment for customers to test their software.

8. Staging and production environments

The staging and production come hand in hand and they should mirror each other. This will ensure that the operations run on staging will have the same results on production.

9. Create a document for local project setup

When new people join the software development, it is important to provide them with appropriate documentation for the local project setup.

The steps described above are not a recipe for creating the perfect software. Many issues that should be noted will arise during the development phase. Each project is significantly different, but these steps are a good reference point.

Find a person who has the technical knowledge to interview the teams you are considering to bring in as your Vendor.

Appropriate technologies for rapid development

There are multiple technologies used for rapid software development for startups. Below we will discuss only a few of them that we use at DevsData.

Mobile Apps technologies

1. Google flutter

Flutter is Google’s UI toolkit for building beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. Flutter’s hot reload helps you quickly and easily experiment, build UIs, add features, and fix bugs faster. Experience sub-second reload times, without losing state, on emulators, simulators, and hardware for iOS and Android.

You can easily delight your users with Flutter’s built-in beautiful Material Design and Cupertino (iOS-flavor) widgets, rich motion APIs, smooth natural scrolling, and platform awareness.

Flutter’s widgets incorporate all critical platform differences such as scrolling, navigation, icons and fonts to provide full native performance on both iOS and Android.

2. React Native

React Native is an open-source mobile application framework created by Facebook. It combines the best parts of native development with React, a best-in-class JavaScript library for building user interfaces.

React Native lets you create truly native apps and doesn’t compromise on your users’ experience. It provides a core set of platform agnostic native components like View, Text, and Image that map directly to the platform’s native UI building blocks.

React components wrap existing native code and interact with native APIs via React’s declarative UI paradigm and JavaScript. This enables native app development for whole new teams of developers, and can let existing native teams work much faster.

You can see your changes as soon as you save. With the power of JavaScript, React Native lets you iterate very fast.

3. Firebase

Firebase is a mobile and web application development platform developed by Firebase, Inc. It gives you functionality like analytics, databases, messaging and crash reporting so you can move quickly and focus on your users.

Firebase is built on Google infrastructure and scales automatically, for even the largest apps.His products work great individually but share data and insights, so they work even better together. We use it extensively at DevsData, especially for startups or MVP projects, since it saves time needed to develop a functional application.

Chat technologies

SendBird is a complete chat platform for your mobile apps and websites: Chat and Messaging SDKs and API, and a fully managed chat infrastructure.

It provides real-time messaging that connects your marketplace’s buyers, sellers, and service providers, so you can inform and engage users to convert on more transactions more frequently. SendBird builds trust and convenience by empowering your marketplace to communicate and network – enabling better liquidity at scale.

SendBird’s chat and messaging SDKs and Platform API allow developers to customize and build meaningful chat experiences for applications without reinventing the wheel. His unmatched scalability and flexibility means you can build a world-class conversational product, customized to your app with minimum distraction.

Video call technologies

TokBox develops and operates OpenTok, the leading cloud platform for adding live video, voice & messaging to your websites and mobile apps. Authors believe that integrating real-time communications into products should be simple, whether you’re developing an app for one-to-one calls or for complex large-scale broadcasts.

The OpenTok platform is fully customizable and flexible, and leverages cutting-edge video, audio, and networking technology WebRTC to bring the best possible experience to your browser or device through simple APIs.

Rapid prototyping of the screens

MockFlow is a cloud-based wireframe mockup software solution designed for website and software developers, designers, UX professionals, and marketers. It lets them perform tasks, design user-interface prototypes for websites and mobile apps, and collaborate with projects in real-time.

Wireframing is a valuable tool for people who work on website design and mobile applications. As a result, MockFlow is the ideal online software solution not just for website designers, but also for decision-makers and stakeholders who want to put their ideas into a much more comprehensible mockup or wireframe to show to designers and vice versa.

As a wireframing software solution, MockFlow allows users to create a mockup or a skeleton of a website or mobile application they want to develop. The system provides a basic layout of the application, including its features and functions, without having to build the actual website. Developers can use this platform to show their clients the basic framework and to get a final approval or to make the necessary adjustments otherwise.

Have someone who can deliver quick results  They might be able to offer you solutions that would boost your project exponentially.

PWA applications

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are a new generation of internet applications. PWA is a different type of a mobile app which is delivered through the net. It uses all the new technologies to comply with the native application. If you want to read more about PWA, read WebWave’s latest post.

Google Analytics - do not underestimate the power of data

The more you know about your users, the better equipped you will be to make smart choices about your website, mobile app, or SaaS (software as a service) application development investments. Measure what matters, from download and first use through usage, purchases, and loyalty. Google Analytics helps you capture and understand user behavior in most kinds of applications, including mobile apps (iOS and Android), web and SaaS applications, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

With minimal instrumentation, Google Analytics provides many pieces of information to help you understand the behavior of users as they interact with your site or application. Standard metrics include the number of users interacting with your application, the number of sessions those users create, and the screens or web pages that they visit.

With additional instrumentation, you can gain an even richer understanding of how people interact with individual application screens or pages on a website. You can also add further instrumentation to capture more detailed interactions where needed using event tracking for granular interactions like those with video players, downloads, form submission, etc. You can also measure the number of important business actions that users complete (called Goal Conversions), as well as ecommerce transactions and purchases.

Take away

While it may seem as a mundane task selecting a team to work with, it is crucial to ensure success of your project. It is advisable to pick up a startup team rather than a huge organization. By doing so you will ensure that you are approached individually and all your project needs would be tackled with proper attention. Software development is challenging and we know it. 

However, it has become imperative for businesses to adapt to the digital landscape to stay competitive. Take note of the changes that other businesses are applying to their processes to adapt to technology. This could serve as an important benchmark data which you could use when developing your software. Your chosen team should also be informed of this crucial data. Choose a team that would understand how your business works and how the business data you have presented can be used to your advantage. The choice of appropriate technologies is also a huge game changer. That is why at DevsData we make this process as transparent as possible so that at each stage of the project you have a direct insight into what is going on.

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