My Number One Development Priority: Helping Startups Focus

1 minute read

As an architect and developer, you may think that all of my time helping startups get from idea to revenue is spent writing and managing the code, but I find that it first should be spent keeping them focused.

Common things that cause startups to get off track

  1. Realizing that the money they are spending must include every feature they have ever considered
  2. Making sure that their company can take advantage of any kind of possible customer need in the next 6-12 months
  3. Adding every new “ism” and “ility” that has recently appeared in trade magazines
  4. One-upping the competitors on their watch list
  5. Making their application scalable in case they become another MySpace or YouTube

Typical software developers (not you, the other ones) won’t care about focus, because they just want to get their programming tasks for the iteration done, without interruption. The problem is that any developer can write code. The best developers prefer to interrupt development should they see a pattern like one from on the list above, seeking to verify the desired outcome when it will benefit the startup most. This simple step can help save a startup thousands of dollars a month in lost development costs and revenue.

What it means to a startup if they are focused

  1. The startup will have a product that focuses on their niche market, enabling them to better solve their customers’ needs
  2. The development costs goes down rather than spending more for less in the long term
  3. Founders can check themselves to be sure they are focused on key concerns, not stuck with a passing fad or idea
  4. The size of the product will be smaller, reducing bugs and making it easier for developers to maintain and grow over time
  5. The startup has a greater likelihood of generating revenue sooner since they often go to market with a focused solution that addresses a real need

So, the next time you hear a startup adding that next great feature, ask them what kinds of methods they use to focus their development. Most likely, they won’t include their developers or consultants in their list. If they do, then they are one step closer to truly making their startup a success.

[tags]startups, startup development, web startups, software development[/tags]