Embrace Quality: Learn how to balance perfection and timely releases
Innovation and evolving user needs are a constant in the fast-paced tech world. Companies strive to balance perfection and timely releases to ensure customer satisfaction. At Tech387, we embraced a unique approach to prioritizing quality while recognizing the value of releasing software for user testing. In this blog post, we will explore how our philosophy has been validated by real-world cases, showcasing the benefits of releasing software even when it's not entirely perfect.
What we know about software development approaches
Tech387 has accumulated over six years of experience in the software development industry, evolving from a small team to a medium-sized enterprise. Throughout our journey, we built our startup and collaborated with several other startups as their co-founders or technology partners. One valuable lesson we have learned during this time is the importance of actively listening to our client's needs as a technology partner.
Occasionally, we encounter situations where the expectations and approach of our clients don't align with the most effective and efficient solutions. In such cases, we make it a priority to guide them in the right direction. While we succeed in redirecting their approach in some instances, there are occasions when we understand their perspective and fulfill their requests accordingly.
If you are a startup founder that found a technology partner, we strongly recommend that you consider their expertise and insights when choosing the best approach. Assuming you have made a well-informed decision and chose a partner who has your best interests at heart, their guidance can prove invaluable. However, if you have not yet established a trust-based relationship with your chosen technology partner, our experience can assist you in adopting the right approach to software development.
Please, note that we have changed names and industries to protect our client's privacy. But the examples we provided are based on real-life situations that can offer valuable insights. So, get ready for an enlightening journey ahead.
If you're embarking on a startup journey and want to understand the approach we're discussing, we encourage you to explore our blog dedicated to software development approaches. It's crucial to understand that, just like the person building the product, as the software owner, you'll need to make decisions regarding the approach sooner rather than later.
One significant decision involves whether you should allow users to test the software as soon as you have a viable version or opt for a different approach. Our experience and expertise can offer valuable insights to support you in making an informed decision.
Real-world use case: The perfectionist approach
Let's dive into the fascinating world of software development and talk about the pursuit of perfection. Imagine you have a fantastic idea for an app that can help busy, active people organize their tasks and events. You want it to be flawless before launching it to the world. But here's the catch: whose definition of "perfect" are we using? Is it based on the vision in your mind or on what your potential users need?
We recently had a client who faced this dilemma. They had a brilliant app idea that could benefit people with busy lives. However, instead of testing the app with the target audience and making improvements along the way (a strategy known as the agile approach), they decided to wait until everything looked perfect.
Unfortunately, when the app finally reached the hands of the users, they found it confusing and overwhelming. It didn't provide the necessary help because it had a complex structure with many excessive features. Luckily, our client acknowledged the problem and asked us to fix it based on the users' feedback. But they had to face some consequences for their initial approach.
In the world of startups, it's crucial to discover how to build a sustainable business around your vision. As Eric Ries said in his book "The Lean Startup", every startup experiment should aim to achieve that goal. We couldn't agree more with Eric. So, let's explore what went wrong and what lessons we can learn from this experience.
- Delayed Time-to-Market
The client missed crucial market opportunities by waiting for the software to reach perfection. This allowed his competitors to gain an advantage.
- Limited User Feedback
Without engaging users early on, the client missed valuable insights and suggestions for improvement that could have enhanced the final product. He invested time, money, and human resources into developing various features. In reality, the users wanted only the basic ones.
- Budget Overruns
The extended development phase led to unexpected costs and increased resource utilization, impacting the project's overall budget.
After rebuilding the app and incorporating user feedback, our client succeeded. Every user who tried the app found it incredibly helpful and enthusiastically recommended it to others. However, it's important to acknowledge that the initial decision to wait for perceived perfection caused a delay in seeing a return on investment. If we followed the agile approach, we could have avoided the delay.
By embracing an agile methodology, we would have been able to gather user feedback earlier in the process, allowing us to make necessary improvements sooner. This approach emphasizes continuous testing and iteration, ensuring that the product aligns closely with the needs and preferences of the target audience. As a result, we could have delivered a more refined and user-friendly app in a shorter timeframe, accelerating our client's return on investment.
The key takeaway from this experience is the importance of involving users throughout the development journey. Their feedback is invaluable and can guide the direction of the product, leading to success in the long run. So, let's remember the significance of agility and user-centricity in software development, as they can ultimately contribute to a more efficient and profitable startup venture.
Real-world use case: The agile testing approach
Now, let's move on to happier occasions. Our role is to guide our partners and clients in the right direction. However, there are times when they prefer to stick with their initial ideas, and we respect their choices. But now, we have a success story to share with you.
Once upon a time, one of our clients came to us with an incredible idea for an app that would revolutionize communication processes in large enterprises. We were impressed by their vision. Since their target audience consisted of professionals, owners, and executives, they wanted to follow the agile approach to product development. They hesitated to choose the same methodology for user testing.
If you were about to ask someone like Warren Buffett to try out your app, you would want it perfect. Such a thought process is natural and normal. Luckily, our client shared this concern, and we were able to help.
Through a series of meetings and discussions, we pointed out the benefits of the agile approach for their business. Eventually, the client agreed to follow our advice. Once we had a minimum viable product, we rolled it out and let the users test it. Gathering their feedback, we made necessary iterations and added new features. This cycle of rolling out, testing, iterating, and repeating continued until every beta user was satisfied.
So, how did this story end? By the end of the production phase, our client had already gained powerful and loyal customers who loved the app. The return on investment began pouring in immediately. It's hard to believe, but it's true!
Now, you might be wondering what would happen if you embraced the agile testing approach for your project. Well, let us tell you this: By involving users early on, continuously gathering feedback, and making iterative improvements, you increase the likelihood of creating a product that truly meets their needs.
You shall face the following benefits:
- Early User Feedback
By releasing the MVP, you will obtain valuable insights from users, enabling them to identify areas of improvement and refine the software's features.
- Rapid Iterations
The iterative development process allows for quick updates and enhancements, leading to a product that better meets user needs.
- Competitive Advantage
By entering the market earlier than your competitors, you will have the opportunity to secure a competitive edge and gain a larger user base, positioning yourself as the industry leader.
We're not listing these benefits just because we believe in them; we've experienced them firsthand. When we started, we made the same mistake as the client in the first example. We kept developing and refining our product without considering actual user needs. We later realized our users didn't want what we were offering.
So, instead of repeating our mistakes, we urge you to learn from them. Because when you make mistakes, they can come with a significant cost. In contrast, our mistakes come at a relatively low price—just the four minutes it takes to read this blog.
By embracing an agile development approach and actively seeking feedback from your target users, you can avoid the costly missteps we made. Learn from our experiences and prioritize understanding and meeting the needs of your users.
Tech387's promise of quality
Tech387 is committed to developing products that balance quality and timely releases. We understand that deciding to launch a minimum viable product can be daunting, especially if you are collaborating with a new technology partner or venturing into a new industry. That's why we emphasized the importance of selecting the right technology partner.
We want to assure you that we base our commitment to quality on several fundamental principles:
- Agile Development
Tech387 adopts an iterative development methodology emphasizing collaboration, flexibility, and responsiveness to user feedback.
- Continuous Testing
We integrate testing throughout the development process, ensuring potential issues get identified early and resolved promptly.
- User-Centric Design
We place users at the center of the development process, prioritizing their needs and incorporating feedback to create a seamless user experience.
- Scalability and Maintainability
Quality is not limited to the initial release. We build scalable, adaptable, and easy-to-maintain products, ensuring long-term success for our clients.
Our commitment to quality while embracing timely releases has been proven successful through real-world cases. By acknowledging the value of user feedback and incorporating it into the development process, Tech387 enables clients to deliver software solutions that meet user needs, gain a competitive advantage, and achieve business goals. In today's dynamic market, our approach exemplifies how releasing software early, even if not perfect, can lead to better outcomes and satisfied users. If you are searching for a partner, don't hesitate to contact us, and we will see if and how we can help.