It is highly likely that you are planning to launch your own startup but do not know where to start. When it comes to creating a meaningful and successful piece of software, the main recommendation is not to rush. Building software requires a great idea and financial resources. However, there are many different steps in between, and this is where the product roadmap comes into play.
Product roadmap is a practical and efficient guide that has a purpose of guiding software development to result in a mature product. This roadmap is going to be handy for anyone who is engaged in the information technology industry as its very design is perfectly suitable for full cycle product development, whether it is an app, website, or any other item.
Phase #1: Discovery
The first phase of product development is focused on the cornerstones of any project — identification of a problem, analysis, and risk assessment. The discovery phase consists of the four main steps:
- Problem statement;
- Problem validation;
- Market validation;
- Prototype and testing.
Although having a bright idea is great, sometimes it’s not enough. That’s why it is important to distance yourself from the idea and focus on the problem it is aimed to address. Doing so is not too hard — you should ask yourself what problem your idea could solve and who would effectively benefit from it.
If the problem has not been tackled, it means that people trying to solve the issue didn’t do it correctly. So, think in this way — what is your potential customer willing to give for the problem to disappear? If you notice that there aren’t really any attempts to deal with the problem, it might not be that important.
This step is quite tricky. Your main goal here is to probe the market with your potential solution to the problem in order to find out if your software has a potential demand. Usually, the given aim is achieved by creating a website that serves as a communication hub with a prospective consumer. If the traffic seems to stagnate, consider another target customer — your solution may be right for a different audience.
Prototype and Testing
At this stage, it is advisable to get assistance. The major target is to create a prototype rather than a finished product so getting outside help is a pretty smart decision to avoid additional expenditure.
Phase #2: Pilot Release
After creating a prototype, you may think that you are ready to make a perfect product. However, it is better to start off with a minimum viable product to find out more. In this way, you’ll determine both things that work and the ones that don’t — such an approach should already create some considerable demand. This phase consists of:
- Outside Fundraising;
- Quality Solution;
Probably one of the hardest steps out there. Startups need a constant inflow of financial resources, and luring investors is the best way to achieve the goal. In most cases, investors see projects as a great way to accumulate quick capital. However, if you’re looking for a slower and more sustainable approach, be clear about that.
If your potential investors are interested in quick profits, you’re likely to be under strict outside supervision so the investors’ interests are prioritized. But if you want to keep more control over your own startup, consider a longer path. Slow and steady wins the race, as some people say.
You are finally ready to create something truly worthy — the minimum value product is out there, and you have additional funds. Now is the time to look for the ways to create your personal technical capabilities that are independent from outside influence. Thus, finding a partner to work with is a perfect opportunity to attain the goal.
For example, if you’re seeking digital product consulting in Toronto, consider approaching a local industry leader to help you out. Establishing partnership with a different company is a normal thing, especially if you need veteran professionals who will be able to promote your products to their best position in the market.
This is the time for feedback collection. Your product is out there and your partner is providing you with the required support. However, you need to gather as much information as possible to tweak the potential flaws and loopholes in your product. That is where active marketing and feedback loops come into play. This step is imperative to create a dedicated market with clients that won’t leave you.
Phase #3: Scalable Solution
The last phase is basically the commercialization of your product. You should stay focused on growing value while scaling the product. There are two final steps at this stage:
- Raising additional funds;
Raising Additional Funds
Previous steps will ensure that you have an established business model that works efficiently. However, you may want to create a scalable solution, so there is a need for additional investments. At this point, you should consider the options of your potential venture capital investor as the majority of those are after fast money, so you’ll have to grow rapidly and aggressively.
If you are looking for more stable growth, it may take some time to find an investor that will be willing to enter a long-term relationship. Anyway, hiring a qualified lawyer is a great idea since venture capital is a tricky field that requires some advanced knowledge.
After finding a source of investment capital, you have to scale. The first question is — can you create more and more value? If the answer is yes, then active collaboration with your partners is imperative to engage more professionals who will be able to accumulate your company’s value. The same is applicable to marketing and the ability to sell. Together, all these steps will ensure that your business grows while delivering value on a constant basis.
A startup product roadmap is a proven pathway for new companies to achieve success. However, it is important to understand that this is not an easy path; so, each and every step requires careful consideration and in-depth analysis.
Three stages described here, which are discovery, pilot release and scalable solution, include a range of intermediary steps that have to be taken seriously to make the business system work effectively. So, stay motivated, smart, and calm; in this way, you’ll be able to reach your startup goals!