Pivoting In A Startup – A Product Development Approach

Pivoting in Startups
This clip sums up product development in a start up. Start with one thing, get distracted by other things and finally end up with something very different. I thought of writing our experiences with FoodKonnekt development process and how one can enjoy this journey of constant churn and clash of technology & business needs.
Eureka, I got it. Like Archimedes I had this brilliant idea which I thought was earth shattering. Now as any entrepreneur I was running towards my mac book to come up with the feasibility of the idea – excel spreadsheets, market research, idea validations – you name it I have done that. Next step is to build a prototype and that is where I feel the rubber meets the road. All your projections of getting the product out to the door within a very short amount of time with no and very little budget and with requirements changing (your brains churns out ideas by the minute) is a myth. Have a very good buffer of the time and resources needed along with proper testing or else you will end up in a vicious cycle of bug fixes and patches.

Come up with a well defined product requirements – business and technical. Given that one can come up with an elaborate mouse trap that has all the bells and whistles or choose the basic option that works (provide core feature set) along with elegant design. The second option is what we have aimed for (aiming for) when building FoodKonnekt. Our basic goal during the product development was

  1. Come up with a basic version of the product that can work – place orders online, get into the PoS and get notifications when to pick up
  2. The UI and UX of the product has to be impeccable or else the product will not fly
  3. Ability to meet customer’s requirements (most of them) within a certain timeline

Once these goals have been set, our requirements were also kind of set in stone (they still change a little bit and that is normal). Then we started working on creating a working prototype and have couple of our customers give feedback about the functionality (must have, nice to have and does not matter scale). With all these planning we still had issues and this is what I would suggest to those who are or would be in the same boat as we were.

  1. Have a very specific goals (requirements wise) for your product
  2. Document them and document them well with screenshots and wire frames
  3. Timeline – budget for 1.5 to 2.0 times your original plan
  4. Follow a lean product development model – create a smaller feature set for faster iteration
  5. Communicate with your team on a continuous basis
  6. Involve your customers right from requirements gathering to product testing
  7. Have fun