Another great webinar from S-PRO specialists is already available. Today, we will be discussing top issues that appear in the process of web and mobile development causing its delay and which many startup owners often underestimate. The key distinction of this webinar from other similar resources is that the topic is covered both from a startup founder`s point of view – Joel Sonderegger Founder of Voa Labs and ex-Product Manager – and the viewpoint of an ex-project manager, now responsible for the entire software delivery process – Andrew Fisiuk, the COO and co-founder of S-PRO
In this article, you can find the key business ideas and software development workflow best practices discussed by them during the webinar but we also encourage you to check out the full version as well as other S-PRO webinars on our YouTube channel.
How does an average startup founder look like? It is a man in his forties, with a great idea, certain resources, and limited time to implement all the things that make this product special. But often, rushing things and trying to achieve the maximum results from minimum time and effort, leads to the opposite of his goal: delays, wasted money, and wrong expectations. The reason lies in the misunderstanding of the software development project workflow principles and this is what we are going to cover in this webinar.
Three main aspects of this topic would be what, why, and how to prevent it. The agenda of the webinar looks the following way: Andrew and Joel discuss top issues that can slow down the project development, provide real-life examples from their own experience and give valuable recommendations on workflow management of software development projects to improve performance and quality to both startup owners and development teams.
So, our experts point out five main issues impacting product development today:
- The delivered product not meeting business team expectations;
- Inflated backlog;
- Stakeholder`s proxies with low decision-making power;
- Lack of product vision from the developers` side;
- Delivery process failures.
Besides, our specialists answered a number of relevant questions sent by the viewers during the online discussion that can also help you understand more about workflow in software development.
The peculiarities of the software development workflow
Joel Sonderegger owns a digital product studio in Switzerland, which is not only delivering products but also working on their own ventures. Joel has been working with IBM and multiple early-stage startups and he is ready to share some insights on software development processes from the side of a startup owner. Meanwhile, Andrew has more than 10 years experience in the field of software development, delivering a great number of projects and constantly meeting deadlines and different issues. They agree in one thing: both business and development teams should be involved in the process to avoid delays.
Let’s briefly cover the main issues discussed in the webinar. Remember, that you can always watch the full version with more software development workflow organization tips and recommendations on our YouTube channel.
Issue #1: The delivered product not meeting business team expectations
One of the main issues that cause the delay of project development is not complete project understanding by the founder himself. If the founder doesn`t understand what he wants – he does not research the market, has no idea who the clients are, and what their needs – the development team will not understand it either. Andrew gives a real-life example where the expectations of the client were not met due to not being properly discussed.
Once the first product version does not meet the client’s expectation, an additional development iteration is needed to fix all the mistakes caused by this misunderstanding. It requires more money and time and thus, delays the date when the product can go live. Both Andrew and Joel believe that it can be fixed by proper communication. The client should spend time to write down his or her expectations and make sure that his business team and the development team are on the same page.
Issue #2: Inflated backlog
When it comes to task workflow in software development team, many startup founders and their development teams face the same challenges. Usually, the backlog contains a huge number of tasks and user stories, both those that need to be developed now and those that will be implemented far in the future. All of them make the backlog a real mess confusing developers and not letting them focus on the things that do matter now.
What is the priority? What is the final goal? The main mistake almost all founders make is trying to do everything at once. They try to fit maximum features to the MVP making it too complicated for the end-user and their expectations are usually too high. For example, some of them do believe reaching a million users within a few weeks so they pack their product with all possible features that these users may need.
Let`s be realistic: yes, your product may reach a million users but not so fast. And instead of implementing all the possible features, you just need to focus on those that will bring value for the product now and help it gradually scale. Andrew gives an example of his client`s product, the app that checks COVID tests helping people cross the border (at least, it was the initial goal). He explains how the nice-to-have features delayed the development process requiring more time for investigation and talks about the importance of prioritization. Joel also talks about the waterfall and agile approaches in this case and gives valuable tools that can help founders and teams successfully cooperate.
Issue #3: Stakeholder`s proxies with low decision-making power
It is not a secret that founders have to focus on the business side of the product and they don’t have much time to spend with the development team. Instead, they assign a proxy that becomes a third party and the biggest reason for the delay in the workflow software development process. Why does it happen? Andrew says that in most cases a proxy doesn`t have enough power to make a decision and transforms the development into a complete mess.
Each time the team has questions or needs permission to do something, a proxy has to consult a startup owner so it may take days and even weeks to resolve a small issue. The only way out of this situation is to agree on responsibilities in advance and schedule regular strategic syncs to always know what is going on in the project right now. Joel also recommends promoting a proxy to become a product owner which guarantees his/her commitment and dedication.
Issue #4: Lack of product vision from the developers’ side
Only the startup owner knows how the product will change the world or the lives of the users. He (or she) is the one who sees the overall picture that goes far beyond MVP. Developers usually don’t see the big picture and look at tasks and user stories in an isolated way which may cause issues. There are many reasons why founders prefer not to share their vision of the entire product but in fact, it’s essential for the team to understand the final goal.
In this part, Andrew brings a few examples of how the product can benefit if all members are working towards the same goal, gives advice on how to engage the team in the process, and explains why it doesn’t happen automatically.
Issue #5: Delivery process failures
The delivery process starts with requirements and ends with deployment and it can`t go without failures. Every project is different and unique which makes it complex and there is no universal method to achieve great results without making mistakes. Usually, there is a gap between the time when the last feature is finished and the time when the product is deployed to production. It becomes one of the reasons for misunderstanding and frustration between the team and startup owner and it happens due to not educating the client about the main points of the process like testing and bug fixing.
Andrew and Joel shared their own experience on this topic.
One of the key ideas of this webinar is that business (client) and the development team should work together to reach the product goal and even a super skilled team will not succeed without support from the client and vice versa. Communication, common vision and trust are the factors that will bring the team to success.
In the webinar, you can also find answers to such interesting questions as:
- What stage do team performance problems usually arrive?
- Do delays happen because business requirement gathering is not as detailed as the development team wants?
- How can you check and track your team’s performance?
- What should you do if you don’t like your team`s performance?
- Do you think that agile can solve or at least reduce some of those 5 issues?
- Why not include more time to estimation to avoid delays?
- In your experience, what are myths about software development? What is believed to be super easy and in reality, it’s not?
- How can we make the impact that these challenges cause as small as possible?
Don’t hesitate to check the full version of the webinar to find the answers to these and other questions about delays in software development.