One of the main ideas accepted both in modern Quality Assurance and Agile Software Development practices is that you should start testing as soon as possible - when you have the first drafts of requirements of what you're going to build. And then, once you've started building a digital product - aim to deliver the first working version of it as soon as possible, collect user feedback, work in short iterations and adapt your strategy based on feedback and results. And these are just two examples, as we can find similar ideas in many other areas.
If we try to distil the basis of these ideas, we'd probably come up with something like this:
Plan your project so that if something has to fail, it shall fail as early as possible. And if it eventually works, deliver it to the customers' hands as soon as possible to collect valuable feedback and correct your course.
In my opinion, these ideas are especially critical in a startup environment. As we all know, the survival rate of startups is extremely low. And many technological startups fail either from the inability to prove the product-market fit and generate revenues / reach other key objectives or when the funding ends.
In one scenario, there might be a brilliant idea that solves an important problem for the users, and that would generate traction and growth. Still, the project spends too much time and money building a complex product with dozens of features, and as a result, the users find it too difficult, the user feedback is received too late, or they run out of money before it even gets launched.
In another scenario, the founders manage to secure enough funding, and they invest a lot of time and effort into a product they've envisioned, but when it's launched, it turns out that the users don't want it.
Of course, launching a startup or a new product within an existing company is always a significant risk, and it can go wrong in many ways. But it doesn't mean we should abandon the idea of launching new products - on the contrary, we should reinforce it, as it moves innovation forward and makes our lives easier.
The project management frameworks that I know - all coincide in one major thing: any project has risks, and a good project manager knows how to identify and mitigate risks before starting the project. So instead of being demotivated by all the startups that have failed, let's focus on the ones that have succeeded and learn from them.
One thing that many of them have in common is that the first version was very rarely complex and feature-complete. It is often one or two user problems the product aims to solve. If it manages to solve it well and get the product to the customers' hands early - then the team would have the user feedback to iterate on, a basic understanding of the product-market fit hypothesis, and the ease of changing course or abandoning the idea without significant losses.
At times, it takes several attempts to reach the product configuration that works, and many times the resulting product is nothing like the initial concept. Simply put, if you launch five small products or five different flavors of the same product per year, your chances of hitting the jackpot are way higher than if you launch one bigger product.
After working in numerous startups that failed to distill the basic feature set for their product launch and for enterprises that struggled with innovation and were constantly stuck in the “waterfall” project management mode, we decided to create CMDN.
At CMDN we help entrepreneurs to define the requirements for their MVP. We build the product for them using the latest stack and thinking of the possible scaling in the future without forgetting the importance of quick delivery. And we also help them test their product before the launch. The same applies to the enterprise customers who are willing to launch experiments before investing in a new product line, those who struggle to introduce innovation into their existing development processes, etc.
CMDN is a full cycle development company with an Agile mindset, and we can become your technological ally, help you reduce risks, innovate and launch great products.