How to Build Software for Your Business

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Scenario: "Dude, we just got to get our software perfectly. Then we'll be oh-so-productive. High-five! Yay!" Software serves as the integral tool to improve business productivity. Yet, a large percentage of companies take forever-and-a-day to implement theirs. Even a bigger percentage never use their custom-built software because -- before they could release, it becomes outdated. So how should approach your product? Release something -- anything -- early. Then, adapt the system to the company's evolving needs. Presto!

"Oh-but-what-if-my-product's-not-done?!"

We'll refer you to a favorite concept: The 80/20 rule. That is, 80% of what you want in your software = crap. That will cut down 80% of your time. You can do that 80% after you launch yo sucka. Concentrate on the core 20%. That's the juice. That's the Filet Mignon. That's the deliciously awesome shizzle. How do you know if you got your 20%? You'll know if you find yourself asking:

  1. "Ahh! I can't live without ______!"
  2. "If I don't incorporate ______, then what's the point of building the software?"
  3. "______ is a top 3 priority."
  4. "I find myself fantasizing about ______. Oh. Yeah."

Why Releasing Late Destroys Your Software

If you have more than a few months under your belt as an entrepreneur -- and you went on a planning-binge before your started, ask your badass: "How useful was my business plan?" Probaby: Not-so-much. Planning sucks because you're planning as if the world were standing still for you to implement it. You could plan all you want with your software, but:

  1. Your company's needs will change.
  2. Your employees' needs will change.
  3. Your customers' needs will change.
  4. Your industry's needs will change.
  5. Yadda. Yadda.

Failing to adapt to changing market conditions will leave you in January 2007 mode...nine months later. Just picture it: Customer A wants "so-and-so-done", but whoops: "We didn't take that into consideration in January 2007!" Uh-oh. The rule of thumb: Everyday You're Building Your Software = Productivity Drainage + Altering Market Conditions = Lost Profits

How Releasing Fast Rocks

When you release your product early, you gather immediate feedback from how the "real world" responds to it. That feedback helps you adapt your product to your company's/customer's/employee's/market's constantly evolving needs. While your weak competitor is planning their software for January 2007, you're adapting your software to the latest needs of your end-users, customers, et. al. That drives you to optimize your resources to ensure you're profiting-to-the-max by getting your employees to serve-customers-to-the-max. Build-fast-release-early: It's in the research. The super awesome business profs at Harvard studied how companies implemented kick-booty software over two years. The finding

:

Getting a low-functionality version of the product into [the end-users'] hands at the earliest opportunity improves quality dramatically.

Oh. yeah.

"So when should I release my product?"

Shoot for a completed custom software application in three months. "Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Three months?!" You betcha-bottom-dollar. Three months gets you trimming down your software to its finest ingredients. That drives you to remove unnecessary crapola always associated with software development, and helps you focus on the juicy-good-stuff. The template to get you started:

"In three months, I will build this sucka: __________________________."

 

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Posted on January 22


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