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6 steps to follow while building your digital product or a startup idea.

Nowadays the tech industry is booming and you can see lots of new products being launched almost on a daily basis. Digital marketplace is expanding more and more in particular with COVID-19 situation boosting the digital transformation. Each of us has ideas and now is the right time to get those implemented since the digitalization is already in our DNA and businesses will not resist this pandemic crisis without moving as much they can into digital. This article has the purpose to help you understand on what would be the correct way to validate, implement and launch your digital product.

As far you may know Digital Phoenix is a leading Digital Agency which helps startups succeed by providing vast consultancy and tech implementation support for the digital products and we are happy to share below some of our experiences and important things to point out. 

1. Define what's the niche and your product vision.

Whenever you launch your product is very important to understand who are your competitors and what do they already provide, how do you position yourself against them and what different your product brings. The big corporations are sharks, they already absorbed  lots of customers and sometimes is quite hard to compete with them. You should always put in front the difference and innovation of your product in order to succeed.

While building an idea or a startup, you might notice that there are lot of similar products or alternatives on the internet. That's why is very important to research the market and try to even analyze why some of startups failed or did not proceed further. Who are the current competitors and what users say about them, try to fish out the negative feedback and see if this can be used as something positive-solving in your product instead. It is very important to make a proper research from the beginning in order to avoid gap in details that might be discovered on a later stage.

2. Validate your idea.

This used to be a bit of a chicken-egg situation, we often can see customers overcomplicating and building immense products rather then a small 1 month MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and throw it into the market to start getting feedback and reaction. We think it is not quite correct spending 1-2 years for a product and wasting lots of money and only after 2 years seeing the result or reality that client behavior is different and the product does not fit. 

That's why it is very important to pick-up only the main 3-4 features that you want to focus on and release into market to start gathering the user's feedback and reaction, cause sometimes you start the product with one purpose and after customer's feedback you understand that the purpose will be a different one and the customers will appreciate something different that will shape the roadmap of your product or features you will develop and release next.

Thus said, it is very important to spend 1-2 months to build a product and simply "throw" it to the market in an adequate state and start gathering the feedback, of course if you will release something broken and without any consensus it will generate negative feedback, that's why is important to find a golden middle between MVP and Quality. You can always shape it later.

3. Design UI / UX.

The branding was always important - this is the product's face and it makes you stand-out from competitors. We would say on an early stage you can always start with an existent UI/UX kit since there are lots of those over internet for landing pages and CRM based UI kits, since you make your first test-pilot is not always important to hire a full-time designer to start designing everything from scratch, very often you can shortcut and safe in budget by buying a UI kit that fits your purpose and start implementing it straight away with your development team. The designer can only assemble the pages to provide the final shape and user journeys demonstration using same kit. This will save you time and money.

Right after the product is launched you can gather feedback and see what can be improved. On a much later basis, you should be able to lift and shift your UI/UX experience completely or partially adapting under new style guide if needed.

4. Development.

Development is a more sensible subject rather then design, since you need to pick-up the right technology stack carefully. You need to know from the beginning how much traffic your platform will handle, what type of database or API layer you need to build, wherever is a cloud infrastructure or not and ability to migrate to such in near future, what would be the limitations and implications on a later stage. You need to plan in such a way that gives you a quick start but in same time to not hit the wall later and being able to scale as you go. That's why you need a consultant or an architect that could help you plan this.

The other question is to find a right development partner or agency you want to work with or hire competent people on your own for development purposes. Plan the milestones into sprints / deliverables and follow such. 

The process gets complex here and right communication and processes flow is very important cause that's where most often mistakes happen and pitfalls appear. 

The perfect team would be:

1. One Project Manager (you can play this role sometimes as well).
2. Two developers (one backend and one front-end)
3. One QA (part-time / full-time). 

Smaller teams are easier to handle and they move faster, bigger teams create chaos. 


5. Testing and going live. 

Finally, the products feels to be completed! You run the final tests and make sure your infrastructure is capable to maintain the planned traffic. Avoid from doing mass releases or launches shouting out everywhere, rather than defining a small group of 50-100 users that could try out your product first within first couple of months. This will give you enough feedback on how the product works and expectations prior you will scale the audience. 

Use the right channels to distribute the information about your product, such as social media groups or reddit, product hunt to give a bit of visibility. 


6. Maintain and enhance.

Finally listen to your customers, to the feedback - be kind and responsive with your users. Make daily internal meetings with your team and decide the way you want to shape your product and re-iterate this on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Keep in touch with your users and potential customers about further updates. Is all about relationship, right decisions and listening to each other. 

Of course there will be moments when you will not want to implement particular features because they are too specific to some requirements or simply it is not the right time. That's totally normal! 


On a final note

Our team wishes you success in the new beginnings and creation of useful products and we're always here to help and support wherever you simply need an advice or a development partner! Feel free to reach-out to us!