Don’t know how to start describing your app idea to a developer? Or stuck explaining it to them? Read this.
One of the secrets to developing a successful product is effective communication. You start with your partners and investors, creating a shared vision. Later, you will need to present your app idea to a development team.
Each of the two tasks challenges you in its own way; with this post, we want to help you nail the second one. After all, who can tell you more about how to communicate your idea to software developers better than developers themselves?
We have built software for more than 30 startups since 2013, including those backed by YCombinator and Seedcamp. And we can help you work out your project specifications from scratch and build your app — just drop us a line and we’ll get the ball rolling.
Not sure yet? No problem, keep reading. Our advice can help you, even if you haven’t yet discussed your vision with your peers. You will learn how to organize all the disconnected concepts of your future product and create a basis for discussion. But most importantly, this post will help you prepare for the questions a good developer will surely ask you.
Your product vision might have been inspired by a problem that couldn’t be solved by software or more conventional tools. You must have also done a bit of research to understand whether the market wants the problem solved.
You will need to describe the ultimate problem to your developer. It could be cutting costs, improving user experience, providing a new type of entertainment or something else.
And don’t forget to outline the target audience, the people who you expect will use your software. Explain how you think users will interact with the product and why they would care to use it.
You might think your developer doesn’t need that information. Think twice. The developer can use that information to suggest how to use your development budget in the wisest way. In other words, if you contact us for development cost estimates, we will ask you all about your business concept.
Once you have outlined the problem, you will need to tell your developer how your app should solve it.
Go on to specify what exactly the application does to help the user solve the problem.
At this stage, you will also need to describe how your target user currently solves the problem. If they use specific software to do so, refer your developer to that software.
And, most importantly, clarify how your prospective product is going to be different. How should your application improve the way people deal with the problem?
Also, think about what your application is not going to do. This will help you avoid misunderstandings and ensure you and your developer stay in the same lane.
You will want to test your product on the market as soon as possible. To do that, narrow its functionality down to what’s known as the minimum viable product (MVP).
An MVP will include only the features that are likely to provoke interest in your product. It may lack custom design or fancy features, but it must let users know how it can solve their problem or meet their needs.
For reference, check out how we’ve built this MVP.
Long story short: if people use your MVP, then your hypothesis is worth following through. If not, no bells and whistles will make it work. So keep that in mind as you describe your MVP.
You might be unsure as to what to include in your MVP. We can help. Just explain your idea to us very briefly and we will run a product discovery. As a result, you will get project documentation, prototypes and development cost estimates. Product discovery is a separate service, so you can take away its deliverables and do whatever seems right with them.
Writing down additional features for your product is an optional step, but it could help you refine your MVP.
Before you present your app idea to a developer, list all the features that come to your mind when you think about it. Then look at them, decide which are critical for the MVP and which can wait to be introduced. Finally, put each category into its respective field.
In the end, you will get a list of additional features or backlog. And you can grow it without losing focus on the MVP itself.
Technology is your developer’s domain, but they will need a starting point.
The best way to provide a starting point is to list the critical components of your software. These could include a website, mobile app, backend, databases, content management system and others. For each component, describe which role it should play.
And don’t fret if you aren’t tech-savvy: you don’t need to describe the technology in detail. Just write down how you expect things to work and let your developer help you refine your concept.
For instance, we specialize in Ruby on Rails development when it comes to web software. So if you want to build a web app, walk us through the broad strokes, and we will offer the best approach using RoR.
Setting clear terms of collaboration between you and your developer can save you a lot of time and money.
When you go to a hairdresser, it will be a collaborative process, not just chit chat. You will have to explain what haircut you want, answer their questions like ‘Is this short enough?’, and move your head as requested.
Working with a developer on your product is no different. You will have to respond whenever they need your guidance. Leave your developer to their own devices, and they will build anything but the app you envisioned. At the same time, avoid micromanaging them and telling them how to do their job.
Therefore, you will need to work out the terms of collaboration in advance. Start with assigning roles, where every actor knows what they’re responsible for and how often you will all need to sync up.
If you’re outsourcing or even offshoring development, check out our suggestions on how to manage remote teams.
We at Rubyroid Labs have long honed our approach to client collaboration. Present your app idea to us in a few words, and we’ll make sure we get you involved in the smoothest way possible.
Finally, you might have already researched your market and technology to some degree or even put together a mockup. Your developer will need all the materials you have accumulated throughout.
Those could include:
Ready to Present Your App Idea to Developers?
Building a new product is always a challenge where anything could go wrong.
You might have chosen the wrong market. The problem you have outlined might not be a pressing one for your software’s target users. The users might not like how your solution works. A pandemic might break out and disrupt your plans — just like it happened to this app we’ve helped build.
The list can go on and on.
But you can keep development costs at bay and at least ensure the resulting product embodies your vision. To do so, you will have to invest time and effort in presenting your app idea to developers.
Rubyroid Labs has helped over 150 startups and developing companies bring their vision to life. And we would be happy to help you — just let us know what you want to build.
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