Your parents probably taught you to avoid dirty words. That advice may help you engage in more polite conversation, but it can be dead wrong when it comes to software development. As our team talks to companies trying to solve problems or seize opportunities, we repeatedly find that these potential clients have trouble with a couple of ideas:
These concepts aren’t hard to understand, and they definitely aren’t the dirty words you heard in your childhood, but they can be tough to swallow when planning to build a web app, website, or mobile app.
But the reality is that these things can actually serve your business. Let’s see how these three so-called dirty words can actually make your web or mobile app better:
Talk of complexity in software development makes many companies nervous. That’s because it requires more development effort, which can add cost. It also adds risk to project timelines, because complex solutions can’t always be accomplished efficiently.
Plus, not every developer or development company can deal with complexity — resulting in unfinished projects and unfulfilled promises. Many companies we encounter have had painful experiences and blame complexity for it. They come to Worthwhile looking for help.
But trying to avoid complexity can cause even bigger problems for your web app, mobile app, or website. It can result in ineffective software that doesn’t really solve problems. So it’s important to look at complexity as an opportunity.
The Advantage of Complexity: Distinction
Complexity is often what makes your software distinct, and therefore valuable in the marketplace.
For example, we spoke to one company that was looking to launch a software product in a highly regulated market. Automating the regulatory requirements required a complex solution, but it would also help the company surpass the barrier to entry for a lucrative market. This was a unique opportunity, because no one else was willing to navigate the complexity to offer a competitive solution. Complexity led to distinction — which created great value.
Constraints mold your software product to fit reality. That reality could be an integration with an antiquated but mission-critical ERP system, or automation of a convoluted but established business practice. Constraints often include budget and timeline as well.
Many companies hate to think about constraints, because they eliminate possible solutions. They sometimes mean you have to give up options you’d like to see — at least for now. But constraints bring advantages as well.
The Advantage of Constraints: Business Continuity
We often enforce constraints on software projects so that they work in a company’s real-world situation. This means the implementation of your new software will fit your business like a glove.
By lowering the time required to get software operating and working for your business, we can add value to the project—despite the constraints.
Minimum is a powerful word in software development, because evokes the minimum viable product. Settling on what makes the minimum product is often hard for companies, because it means letting go of cool features and powerful functionality, at least for the first version of a web or mobile app. We’ve talked to countless clients who have found it painful to cut features to get to launch. But this important step can add value to your software over its entire life cycle.
The Advantage of Minimum: Future Flexibility
Embracing the minimum in an MVP’s feature set is vital, because it adds future flexibility to your software build. First, an MVP approach lets your company get a product into use at a streamlined timeline and budget. That can help companies recognize revenue sooner, and also gain value from being early to market.
And after the product makes it to market, a company can use actual user feedback as the basis for feature upgrades. Instead of guessing what customers want — a process that’s never foolproof — a company can put future development dollars into adding the most desired and most valuable features. In the end, this is a far wiser use of money.
In 2016 and beyond, don’t avoid these dirty words. Start using them (despite what your parents may say) so you can use them to your advantage.