Why Software Development for Startups is a Completely Different Ballgame

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The software development industry is one of the most dynamic and complex industries out there. It’s a given that one must have exceptional software development expertise to build the products of tomorrow. And while developing software products or apps for startups, that game has to be upped to a whole new level. Since startups are dynamic, innovative, and, yes, uncertain, their needs are entirely different. If they aren’t careful, they can plummet just as quickly as they rose.

Here’s why software development for startups is a completely different ballgame:

• The need to benimble

One of the main factors that differentiate the development process of start-ups from established companies is the need to be nimble. Since they are just starting out, technical requirements tend to often change – either due to market demands, upcoming trends or user expectations. Hence, the software they develop should be scalable and user-friendly while being primed to meet the constantly changing requirements. Using mature, ready-made frameworks can enable start-ups to build several out-of-the-box modules in minimal time. The next pivot may be just around the corner -and the dev team has to be ready.

• The need for speed

Although many start-ups have brilliant product ideas, they are often unable to bring their products to the market quickly. This may be down to a lack of resources, skills, or planning. Unfortunately, with competition becoming so intense in the software industry, if start-ups do not move fast, they will be overtaken by others.
19% of start-ups are forced to shut shop because of competition. Since everything is aimed at reducing development time, startups can benefit a lot from refactoring and reusing code; these techniques can enable developers to make changes and add features quickly and easily. Through code reuse, developers can make use of existing software and build features that make the most sense and deliver maximum business value.

• The need to constantly incorporate feedback

Since start-ups are often founded by people from different backgrounds unrelated to business or technology, they have little or no experience in software development; their success depends entirely on the capabilities and market acceptance of their groundbreaking solution. Instead of adopting complex and rigid development techniques, start-ups need to constantly change the product based on market feedback and make life easier for end-users. Modern development principles such as Agile and DevOps can enable startups to cater to the dynamic market demands and bring their products to the market sooner.

• They will almost certainly need to scale the MVP

Although startups might achieve product success at launch, as they scale, the software that powered the MVP might no longer meet the demands of the market. What happens is that in the rush to get the first version up and running at the earliest, startups may not worry about polishing the software and honing it to perfection. This means that in all probability, the MVP will have to be redesigned before a wider release. With time, start-ups will have to add more features, improve the user interface, achieve scale, improve security, and drive efforts to keep pace with the market demands.

• They stand a bigger risk of failure

Enterprises typically have a well-defined culture in place with clear goals, measurable KPIs, and robust training processes that aid in optimizing product development. In contrast, startups often begin their development journey with unclear goals.This is often the source of challenges, conflicts, and disappointments. Determining and defining reasonable goals and expectations becomes difficult, and most training happens on the job. Without a strong culture and clear business objectives, startups stand a bigger risk of failure due to such process shortcomings.

• They expect multitasking to keep costs down

Although a diverse team with varied skillsets is often critical to success, start-ups do not have the necessary budget to bring aboard a large team of expert professionals. Because of limited resources, the folks in the dev team often wear multiple hats. They multi-task to keep costs under control. From requirement gathering to design, development, testing, production, and implementation – a handful of resources must take care of all the software development tasks as against established organizations that might have a dedicated team of expert professionals for each stage. Open-source project management tools can enable start-ups to keep projects, resources, and teams organized and on track, effortlessly manage projects and meet all deadlines.

• They often trust open-source tools and easy-to-use frameworks

With 29% of start-ups failing because they run out of cash, budgets are a critical constraint. With start-ups often struggling with finances, they are more inclined to using available open-source tools that can help them in reaching milestones within time and budget as against large enterprises which might invest heavily in custom-built, or more cutting-edge tools and technology. In addition, easy-to-use frameworks, Agile techniques, and reusable components help achieve massive schedule and effort savings, and often aid start-ups in developing good-quality software. By building a library of frequently used components, start-ups can quickly assemble new programs from existing components while simultaneously maintaining a focus on the rapid delivery of business value.

Driving Value

In today’s competitive business landscape, software lies at the core of every product or service. As the demand for technologically-savvy products increases, so do the tribe of start-ups building the products that meet these demands. But since the start-up environment is very unpredictable, it requires developers to act fast, learn fast, and be flexible to achieve what they’ve set out to. By embracing software development practices such as Agile methodology, code reuse, ready-made development frameworks, etc., start-ups can reduce development costs, leverage shared responsibility, and drive substantial innovation, quality and value. And, that’s a completely different ball game.

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