The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Building Their Product

The 3 biggest mistakes people make when building their product are:

1) Not scoping properly
2) Not filling roles properly
3) Not having the right conversations early enough

1) Not scoping properly

If you’ve never scoped a project before, then you probably have no idea what you’re doing. Once you admit that, then you can start doing something about it.

2) Not filling roles properly

This isn’t just about hiring the right code monkey. This is about identifying all of the roles that your project requires and making sure they’re covered by adequately skilled and motivated people.

If you can’t answer each of these questions with a person’s first and last name, then you’re setting your project up for failure (I’ll assume you’re building software in this case):

– Who will define the product’s features – managing tradeoffs between business objectives, costs, timeline..etc?
– Who will write the product specification?
– Who will write the technical specification?
– Who will write which code?
– Who will create graphical assets?
– Who will manage the development team – making sure things are progressing smoothly?
– Who will amend or cut features once development has begun?
– Who will test the product during development and before launch?
– Who will launch & market the product?
– Who will be in charge of any on-going maintenance?
– Who will cut the checks?
– Who will make the final decision when there’s a dispute?

For your project, were you able to name a person for each of these questions? Has that person successfully performed each of these things before? If not, you’re about to make the mistake of not filling your roles properly.

3) Not having the right conversations early enough

Too many people who are going to build something wait too long to start talking to people.

Many people building projects simply don’t understand that they either need a project manager or they need to become a PM. This takes time as well and it’s important to start learning how to be a PM immediately or start building a strong relationship with someone you’ll hire immediately. Stop worrying about the development timeline and start worrying about the broader project timeline.

Schedule a free 25 minute consultation with me today.

Planning Your Product Is Like Planning a Wedding

Start thinking about building your project like a wedding. The core feature set of a wedding are actually very simple: You have two people making a commitment to one another in the company of invited guests, often with the help of a facilitator or officiant.

So the bare minimum for a wedding is guests showing up to a place where a couple exchange vows and sign legal documents. You need a couple. You need guests (otherwise you’re just getting married, but there’s no wedding). You need an officiant and witnesses for legal purposes. You need a space of some sort at an agreed upon time – even if it’s 9AM in the hallway of a government building.

So if you want to have a wedding on a small budget and quickly, you can see that it’s not all that hard. Send emails, text messages, and Facebook invites to your closest friends for a 4 PM at city hall in two Fridays from now. Swing by next Monday to make sure you understand the marriage license and you’ll be ready to go on your big day.

But what if you want a few bells and whistles?

If you want a reception, you probably need a different space – maybe even a separate space from the actual ceremony. It’s a celebration, so you’ll probably want to serve food, drinks – possibly specially licensed drinks that promote dancing. Speaking of dancing, you may need to temporarily install a dance floor in your space and you’ll definitely need music (live music or DJ)? Flowers? Table settings? What type of food? Which vendor? What about the kids? Vegetarians? Vegans?

Let’s talk cakes. What flavors? How many? Do you want to cut the real cake or cut a smaller cake for photos but then serve something more like sheet cake?

Back to the ceremony, are you going to exchange vows or just sign the marriage license? What about rings? Who’s going to hold on to the rings? Is the ceremony religious? Will there be special readings? Sacraments? Reflections on the couple? Flowers? Flower girls/boys/dogs? Candles? Assigned seating? Ushers? Will the space be outside? What if it rains? Do you want photos? Video? Who’s going to do that? Do they need a helper? If we’re going to do photos, you’ll probably want to dress up? Have you said “Yes to the Dress?” Has it been sized? How many weeks will that take? Will you clean and preserve the dress afterwards? Bridesmaid’s dresses? What color? Colors! What about the boys? Suit or tux? Buy or rent?

How will you tell people? Wedding invitations? RSVPs? Save the dates? Thank you notes afterwards?

Wedding registry? How many stores? Do you really need another punch bowl? Knives? Vacuum cleaner?

Bachelor party? Vegas? Does what happens in Vegas stay in…

You get the point – there can be a million decisions to make and a lot of things may need to come together in order to successfully host a wedding.

Even the most standard weddings have become complex affairs and venues and vendors can be booked out 12 months in advance. If your wedding was in 3 months and you haven’t already visited, evaluated, decided on, and even prepaid for the venue, dress, rings, caterers, florist, photographer, DJ, and wedding planner, then you’re wedding is going to be stressful, expensive, and not like you’d envisioned.

Start Planning

All of this is true for building and launching a product – it takes a lot of diligent planning and preparation to have a successful launch.

You need to be talking to project managers, advisors, designers, developers, and marketers now – not later. If you want to chat with me, set up a free consultation.