The risks of technical debt when developing a new product; tips for reducing technical debt
There is always much excitement in developing a new product. This excitement can easily lead towards a development rush to get a prototype out the door so it can be launched and tested by the many customers.
Unfortunately, when there is not enough attention or forethought given to the product’s future, sloppy code and architectural mishaps can hinder or slow a product’s growth. In some cases, it can completely end the product’s life, as the product’s budget is burned fixing issues that could have easily been prevented had the proper amount of time and thought been given to its design.
Startups in the early stages of technical development face several risks: accumulating too much technical debt, running out of money, proper scoping of a minimum viable product, and team growth challenges.
If you haven’t checked out our article on Technical Debt, we provide a brief introduction on technical debt and ways to minimize technical debt. When new products are developed, engineering design decisions must be made without a complete set of requirements. Some designs come with less flexibility than others. Although it’s impossible to predict every single future requirement for your product, it’s important to understand the trade-offs of the decision – its strengths and weaknesses, and its flexibility for change. We can help you decide through an in-depth analysis of several options.
There are many opinions on how much should be spent on developing a Minimum Viable Product, especially if the product does not yet have a proven market. It is rare for development costs to decrease over a product’s lifecycle unless the product ceases to exist. As a result, it’s important to plan accordingly and to allocate enough time/budgeting for new feature development, as well as for maintenance and addressing technical debt. If you are limited within a specific budget, we’ll work with you to help prioritize the features you need to provide the best value for you and your customers.
Features should be simple and specific and meet the bare minimum to convince your target customers the value your product provides. It should help you elicit feedback from users for additional improvements that will keep them interested in using your platform. Identifying the minimum requirements is not always straightforward, especially for unproven markets. We offer flexible arrangements to help you adapt to ever-changing markets.
Growing an engineering team and encouraging a culture conducive to growth can be challenging. To address this, we offer fractional CTO services to offer guidance to budding startups that may benefit from technical, organizational, and strategic growth advisement. Companies that may be good candidates for this service typically have independent and capable engineering teams but may struggle with bridging the gap between engineering the product and achieving the product’s business objectives.
While every company’s situation is different, we take the time to listen and understand your challenges. If you have any questions, reach out. We’d love to hear from you.