Making a breakthrough in the startup scene has always been challenging. To jumpstart growth and accelerate returns, many founders have turned to software product development for answers. Be it as a management tool to optimize operations or as a proprietary application to tailor specialized services to customers, custom software presents a clear opportunity to translate disruptive ideas into a viable business plan.
Despite its growing prevalence among startups, however, much of software development is still shrouded in frigid unfamiliarity—partly due to numerous disparate accounts of tribulations, failures, and triumphs passed down through the grapevine.
Hence, we are here to bust some of the most persistent startup myths behind software development—from ideation and deployment to maintenance and market launch.
- Myth Only large companies need custom software Fact Custom software helps startups remain flexible and scalable
The biggest advantage to custom software is its ability to tailor software solutions to meet your business needs. Having this competitive edge allows you to gain a foothold in new niches and scale your product anytime without losing the growth momentum of your business.
The work we did with fintech research firm Covenant Review is a great example of this. The project entailed building a custom web portal that serves as an indexable library of independent research on legal corporate bond terms to help firms provide timely and accurate investment predictions and counsel. The project was a success and it cemented our client’s status as the pioneer of an entirely new industry niche primarily because the software was able to keep up with the growth of the client’s business.
- Myth Every startup must have an in-house team of developers Fact Outsourcing is the new norm
Amidst intense pressure from investors and unexpected market headwinds, building an internal team from scratch for startups is time-consuming and often leads to cost overruns.
Conversely, with a global market valued at $92.5 billion, IT outsourcing has become the standard industry practice for several reasons. For starters, it provides companies with instant access to top-notch talents as well as sophisticated tools at much lower costs than internal recruitment.
While cost is the most cited reason for outsourcing at 70%, according to a survey done by Deloitte, organizational flexibility (40%) and faster time-to-market (20%) have also propped up the demand thanks to the rising need for telecommuting and market globalization.
- Myth Software development is costly for startups Fact Quality software leads to substantial long-term returns
From concept discovery and prototyping to releasing an early-stage MVP and quality testing, software product development certainly involves a lot of processes that might seem expensive. However, its off-the-shelf counterparts don’t come cheap either—especially with many requiring a subscription model to operate on top of rigorous compatibility testing.
The long-term economic performance of custom software, on the other hand, sets off its relatively high upfront costs. This is because, unlike a ready-made product, the proprietary software you commission is carefully designed to underpin your existing system and with features that boast high utilization. So rather than looking at it as an expense, think of custom software as a practical, long-term investment to maximize your returns.
- Myth Knowing how to code is all it takes Fact Building proprietary software involves expertise in other areas
Although coding forms the basis of software programming, designing a fully functional and logical application requires expertise from other areas as well. Engineering a software architecture doesn’t just command advanced knowledge in computational science, software development lifecycle (SDLC), network databases, and cybersecurity. Software developers must also be conversant with market insights, project management, and the domain knowledge of the clientele.
For instance, to develop an intuitive loan application portal for credit solutions provider Fundation, we first took a deep dive into the niche market and knowledge required for the project. This includes analyzing the client’s third-party systems as well as its proprietary algorithm for loan criteria and credit scoring. Knowing how those systems operated in tandem was paramount to designing a well-integrated application.
- Myth Software development is as perfunctory as an automated assembly line Fact Agility is an important part of development
Software product development isn’t a linear process. Unlike manufacturing that comes with detailed instructions and blueprints to follow faithfully, requirements for building a software application are never set in stone. Agility and openness to change are fundamental to software development.
Fortunately, our veteran software developers are adept at implementing efficient project management methodologies, such as Agile and DevOps, which greatly minimizes bottlenecks and encourages cross-collaborative functions.
- Myth Increasing team size results in faster delivery to market Fact Adding more manpower causes project delay
Assigning extra personnel to a slow-moving project might seem like a great idea. After all, it is not illogical to assume that throwing more money and manpower at a problem improves the chances for a project to finish quicker. But reality says otherwise.
In his book The Mythical Man-Month, Brooks describes this fallacy as a result of accounting the number of manpower and months mistakably as “interchangeable commodities” to gauge output. In actuality, however, progress from such projects primarily corresponds with the degree of team communication, alertness to potential issues, and resource availability.
Adding more personnel while neglecting those factors could, thus, seriously disrupt the workflow. This rings even more true given that the onboarded personnel typically work at a much lower initial capacity and would require additional resources and time to bring their throughput to the desired rate.
- Myth Bigger, newer, and shinier tools are always better Fact Always choose a tech stack that suits your business requirements
In pursuit of building more robust custom software, the latest and grooviest technologies aren’t always the best tools to do the job. Rather than basing your decisions on popularity and other arbitrary characteristics, choose a tech stack that suits your requirements.
At Asahi Technologies, we are committed to creating an open dialogue with our clients about the developmental tools used to build the systems and features they desire. For instance, when building a community social networking app for MyCoop, we decided to use a tech stack that could handle real-time applications. MEAN (MongoDB, Angular, Node.js) stack greatly fit the bill since we could also utilize MVC architecture (Model View Controller Architecture).
- Myth Features over benefits Fact User experience matters
A common pitfall for many software product developers is thinking that frontloading the end product with more value-added features would greatly impress the users. This is demonstrably false. An application with unnecessary functionalities would only leave your users feeling frustrated and unsatisfied.
In contrast, an ideal software application must focus on delivering the promised value and providing the best user experience in the process. Additionally, it must boast stability, security, and interoperability as well.
- Myth Product development ends once the software goes live Fact Your custom software requires support and maintenance throughout its lifetime
Save for a few finishing touches, your software application is complete. You sighed in relief—thinking that once the product is launched, it would all be a wrap. But the journey doesn’t end there. Just like your hardware equipment, your software needs regular maintenance and updates too—not only to address bugs and other compatibility issues but also to scale it up with more useful features as your business grows. Moreover, regular maintenance also eliminates any risks of cybersecurity threats—keeping your product running optimally.
- Myth Software development is a one-size-fits-all solution Fact Software solutions are only a means to an end
In the face of internal and external pressures, most startup founders lean heavily on software development for solutions instead of fortifying their core business with better strategies. This is a dangerous path to take as 35% of failed startups cited the lack of market demand as the second biggest reason their businesses folded.
While the presence of an application could optimize processes and enhance productivity, ultimately, your value proposition is what engages prospects to come. Your software product is, therefore, merely an instrument to that end.
Developing your own software is an arduous process. You need more than just courage and wit to brace the storms ahead. Having a trusted team of IT experts like us from Asahi Technologies to guide you through would not only make your life easier but also help you get to the end goal faster.
Ready to take your business into the next step? Get started by telling us about your project. Schedule a complimentary consultation now!