Now that you and your colleagues have identified a great idea for a software solution, whether it be a mobile app, web application or something else, the temptation is to immediately start recruiting a couple of friends to start to develop it. It’s an exciting and energising time, and no one can wait to start cutting code. But there are some very good reasons why you should pause for a moment and consider if that is really the best way to proceed. History is littered with great ideas that have never quite set the world on fire, and it’s often not because the idea didn’t have merit. Regularly the opportunity was missed because the development strategy was secondary to the marketing strategy.
Before you start down this road, let’s consider another possible strategy – forming a dedicated managed development team with an experienced and reputable provider. Here are a few important reasons why this may be a great idea worth exploring.
Time to Market
One of the hallmarks of successful software start-ups is not only having the right idea for the market, but having the ability to bring that idea to that market in the shortest possible time. In a crowded industry like ours, being the first to market is not only a competitive advantage, but sometimes the difference between success and failure.
Bringing your product to market requires the necessary skilled development resources to be available in an “instant on” model. You absolutely must have the right skillsets in the right numbers at the right time and be able to quickly and smoothly ramp that team up and down whenever you need to. Partnering with the right development partner gives you access to a huge range of qualified developers and gives you flexibility to meet your aggressive deadlines in a way that local recruitment will struggle to deliver.
Having your product on sale in 3 months rather than 12 is a huge advantage that cannot be overstated.
Focussing Your Local Team
You and your team are the ones who understand your clients’ needs better than anyone else. You have spent a ton of time gaining the understanding of your market’s challenges, and exactly how to provide answers to client frustrations. And you are still spending time constantly refining and adding to the requirements based on market feedback – exactly as you should!
Is it smarter to split that team between communicating with your clients and all the other necessary jobs as well? Is having half your team busy with recruiting, on-boarding and retaining development staff the best use of their time? How about managing the development day to day, attending stand-up meetings and juggling leave calendars just to keep things on track?
The obvious alternative is to keep your team focussed on the core business – staying close to potential clients and beta programme participants, gathering detailed feedback, and evaluating and funnelling their great feedback to an ever-evolving feature set.
Managing Your Capital
Like most other enterprises, start-ups are not blessed with blank cheque capital, so need to be smart about how that precious capital is invested. That means sourcing the best possible development talent at the optimum price and trying to produce an environment where the cost of the team is predictable and “kind” to cash flow over the course of the build.
The best development partners can provide exactly that type of consistent value. By keeping only key local staff directly involved with the day to day management of development, testing and documentation of the product and allowing your partner team to undertake virtually all the “heavy lifting”, real savings can be realised. Depending on the length of engagement, seniority and composition of your managed team, the best development partners can provide staff at a significant saving compared to contractors. The savings can be even greater when you consider that virtually all the “below the line” costs (such as leave and public holidays) associated with that team are avoided, since they are built into the monthly rate.
Plug In To World-Class Processes
Your core business is understanding your market, the opportunities it presents, and the nature of the solutions that you can provide to gain for your clients a competitive advantage; it may not be understanding and implementing best-practice software development processes and engaging in the continuous improvement necessary to remain competitive in this industry. Of course, you could aim to create that internally with the right recruits, but locating and engaging them could be a time-consuming task. Once you have them, you will be responsible for retaining them and creating a high-performance quality-focussed culture within that development team – no small task, as anyone who has undertaken this can attest.
In contrast, quality development partners have spent decades doing just this. It is, in fact, their core business. They invest heavily year on year in iterative refinement of these processes, taking feedback from the conduct of hundreds of client projects to stay current. Their businesses depend on them being better at the nuts and bolts of software development and project delivery than most of their clients, and on them delivering all that expertise at a significant cost advantage over DIY development.
There are many reasons why our start-up clients choose managed teams as the perfect plug-in to their local team; and these represent only some of the more common ones. Whatever our clients’ reasons, Mitrais has an outstanding record of long-term high-trust relationships with entrepreneurs just like you. We are glad to have partnered with a range of SMEs and start-ups to produce outstanding successful products.
At this most exciting time in your career, you owe it to yourself to consider this type of partnership as a key element of your business’s success, and we are excited to work with you to achieve that.