10 Critical App Development Sins every Appreneur needs to avoid
Okay so you want to be an Appreneur…. okay that’s cute ;)
Let me guess… you have yourself a great idea about becoming an app entrepreneur.
You have thought about this idea for more than one year and you’re to finally take action… this is your time!!!!
Well If this sounds like you, then it’s ultra important to read this article!
Oh yes, I know the bug that bites, the dream of being an *app entrepreneur*. So you have yourself a great idea about how to start a business online and to be an *app entrepreneur*. You have thought about this idea for more than one year and your dreams of being an *app entrepreneur* are about to be “resized”.
You’re finally ready to start app development and so one late night you change your email signature to read grand pupa, app entrepreneur, and jot down some ideas into a Word document. You download the app entrepreneur’s free legal guide and an NDA agreement. You then start looking for your low cost designer or developer that specialize in your kind of low budget newbie app entrepreneur.
The challenges you face are pretty much the same we all face as a hopeful newbie app entrepreneur. All newbie app entrepreneurs are bootstrapped and so like all newbie app entrepreneurs cheap low cost providers are a must. You make the obligatory app entrepreneur 1-paragraph job post to see what low cost providers trickle in. After a couple days, you settle on a provider who has years experience working with app entrepreneurs and you begin to tell them everything you want over a 30-minute Skype conversation. Chances are they heard a thousand other newbie app entrepreneur ideas from
a thousand other newbie app entrepreneurs just like yours.
After the 1st week you can’t see your site or your dreams as an app entrepreneur anymore because it is all code and you can’t see progress. So you probably start sending out some nasty grams to the team about meeting your deadline. Push, push, and push to work faster with fewer hours, thus the “newbie” in “newbie app entrepreneur”!
Halfway through the project you’re looking at an abstract representation of a Picasso painting, it’s a train wreck on LSD. The developer tells you, don’t mind how it looks just let me know if anything is wrong. Right about then you realizes you are way in over your head and being that cleaver app entrepreneur isn’t so easy.
If you have done this before then don’t feel bad. When I made this mistake early in my career as an app entrepreneur I did not feel bad about it. Why? Because I have seen the world’s largest software companies make the same mistake as every app entrepreneur. I have seen it in successful dot-coms and I have seen it with the mom and pops bakery. I have seen so many newbie app entrepreneurs make the same mistake that I would say it is in the thousands. I would also venture to guess that maybe 98% of every newbie app entrepreneur I have ever met has made these mistakes and some app entrepreneurs make it over and over and over again.
What are the snafus that the average app entrepreneur really makes?
1. Appreneur need to document specs
Writing about how a website functions is probably the most boring thing on the planet an app entrepreneur could do. App entrepreneurs hate doing it but they love to dream about it! Whenever I come across a newbie app entrepreneur who does not have specifications well laid out I can almost guess what is going to happen to this newbie app entrepreneur. I can’t tell
app entrepreneurs enough how important it is at the beginning of the project for app entrepreneurs to write out specifications. It will save the app entrepreneur tons and tons of money! Not to mention time, headache and stress.
2. Appreneur need to make wireframes
An app entrepreneur needs to breathe life into their ideas. App entrepreneurs need to remember that they are dealing with people with very different ideas and notions.
There is going to be a team and that team might not see things the way the app entrepreneur sees them. The team needs to have all the tools necessary to fully understand how the app entrepreneur wants to execute the dream on a webpage. This tool will save the app entrepreneur obscene amounts time and money.
NOTE TO SELF: SAVING MONEY AND TIME IS GOOD! Sometimes just spending 10 min. in creating a wireframe for webpage can save an app entrepreneur 10 hours of misunderstanding in the design or development of the application.
3. Not getting a top designer to save money
Remember, this is a business and app entrepreneurs need to have a brand and an application that is well laid out.
Even if they don’t hire a designer to design every single page that’s ok, it’s important that app entrepreneurs develop a specific brand style and have a professional set of eyes think about the application.
Also, app entrepreneurs tend to have the worst taste in design but never seem to know it. It’s like being crazy. Remember, this could be you so hire someone who is able to argue a bit!
4. App entrepreneurs need to budget for issues
Yes. Shit happens… and you need to be ready when shit happens, specially money wise
Newbie app entrepreneurs always have a small budget, but app entrepreneurs need to plan for the unexpected budget increase.
No designer, developer or project manager will be able to tell you exactly how much it will cost newbie app entrepreneur to build and 9 times out of 10 it will cost more.
The ultimate frustration for any newbie app entrepreneur. It does not matter whether the app entrepreneur’s development team is a small shop or a billion-dollar company, scope creep and issues happen. Budget and application development is damn hard to predict.
Most appreneurs under shoot so if your team does the same, expect it and don’t turn this fairly predictable issue into the newbie app entrepreneur’s night of the long knives.
5. Understand your limitations (you are not Captain America)
App entrepreneurs usually don’t read code so they really have no business managing the team alone. App entrepreneurs have no way have knowing code quality at the most critical stage of the project, the beginning. All applications need to be architected and newbie app entrepreneurs have no idea what that means. App entrepreneurs need a solid project manager who can manage good code design and ensure the application has been structured for the big picture.
6. App entrepreneurs need to collaborated on the big picture too
It is really important that app entrepreneurs not make the mistake of just sending over specifications and expect developers to execute.
This is a sure fire way to get the least bang for the buck.
Developers are absolutely motivated by working on projects they believe in. App entrepreneurs need to make them feel like they are part of the team and part of the problem-solving process.
Don’t forget that developers are the people that write the code that enable newbie app entrepreneurs to make money.
They’re the ones that made it cool to be a computer geek for those app entrepreneurs owes them some professional respect. Developers and designers are the ones that made it cool for app entrepreneurs understand technology.
Computer people know what is going on right now and far more than the app entrepreneur does.
It would be silly for app entrepreneurs not to discuss the business and how they have arrived at the business idea. App entrepreneurs should let the team offer better solutions and listen to them, as they are the app entrepreneurs best and probably only resource. This will have a double effect for the business. Number 1 App entrepreneurs are going to have better ideas, make applications work better, makes business idea better and certainly give the App entrepreneurs a much higher chance of being successful.
The 2nd effect is that they will feel part of the app entrepreneur’s team, have greater buy-in, consider themselves to be a stakeholder into app entrepreneur’s idea and really solve problems with great ideas. I can’t mention enough to app entrepreneurs that it does not matter how much money app entrepreneurs spend on developers’ app entrepreneurs cannot buy good ideas. App entrepreneurs cannot pay people for good ideas they have to believe in your idea, app entrepreneurs have to believe in the team and they must feel part of the business…even freelancers!
7. Fixed price projects don’t save money(trust me)
I understand for most app entrepreneurs this is not intuitive. Intuition is the mother of all app entrepreneur mistakes. A fixed price project is a surefire way to reduce the quality of the code. It completely destroys any creativity on the part of the designer and developer and brings a total inflexibility to the project.
8. App repreneurs need to have meetings — even if you hate them
As much as it is important to make the app entrepreneurs designer or developer feel like they are part of the team, it is as equally important to make yourself part of their team. I always recommend daily kickoff meetings in the morning. Afternoon is fine too. App entrepreneurs really want to talk to them about what was done in the previous day and what they plan on addressing for today.
Create a safe way for app entrepreneurs to be honest about the issues they’re facing. Return that honesty with your concerns but have a respectful and professional tone. Tell them that this issue is causing us to go over budget and your concerned. Then you’re able to say things like, can we go with a quick fix for today and move on to some of the other steps? These meetings don’t need to be an hour-long! Just spend 10 min. and talk to them about the project. Even if you only end up telling them about something kid did that’s okay too. Just be there every day!
9. Apppreneurs need to have a marketing plan before they start development
An app entrepreneur without marketing is really just a website and a dream, it does not a business make. App entrepreneurs need to understand how they are going to communicate to the customer/user. This will allow app entrepreneurs to deploy this communication throughout the design and development of the app entrepreneur’s site. Later when app entrepreneurs are doing SEO you will be most happy that your SEO, brand and application are all sing in the same sweet tune as the curtain unveils.
10. App entrepreneurs need to hire the right people
It’s so important to take the time to hire the right people. Hire people that believe in the app entrepreneurs project. App entrepreneurs need to take the time to really get to know them before you hire them. App entrepreneur always hire the first person that offers the lowest price. 100% guaranteed to fail!
In closing I will leave all you newbie app entrepreneurs with this little doodad to remember. App entrepreneurs probably only have 20% of the answers at any particular time. An app preneur’s goal should be to lead their team to provide the other 80%. To limit the team as a tool of execution would be a big mistake. Never is it more important than on that app entrepreneur’s shoestring budget to maximize the usefulness of the team. That means app entrepreneur’s need to engage these people personally and asked them for advice and help.