Co-Develop to Add Velocity To Your Product Engineering

The Why ?

Whether you are working to develop a software product in an enterprise or you are a start-up with a  kickass idea to disrupt the industry, your success rides on your ability to develop a great product in limited budget and limited time. Putting together the right team and going all by yourself to develop it, can be quite a challenge. Like many others in similar pursuit, you may be faced with multiple questions on what is the best way to bring your product to market:
 

  • Are you wondering how to stretch that investment you raised to it’s fullest.
  • Do you need to hit the ground running and can’t wait for the dream team to come together ?
  • Are you wanting to focus more on customer acquisition and business growth than worry about every little challenge on technology front ?
  • Are you worried how to handle ramp up and ramp down of your engineering team along your journey from concept to MVP and MVP to scale ?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of above questions, then engaging with a partner might be a great alternative than battling with this part of the challenge all alone.

Finding a partner who takes a co-development approach is more likely to yield you desired results and help you get market ready faster. Undoubtedly you may have questions like…. What if I don’t get delivery in time? How can I have a say over quality ? How does my current team collaborate with the development partner?.  The right partner will have mature processes that address those questions.

 

Choosing The Right Co-Dev Partner

Co-development isn’t about bringing on another vendor who is disconnected with the outcome of your journey. The right partner will not only bring along a high caliber team.

  • They will also bring in expertise to solve specific challenges in your product roadmap.
  • The right partner can also differentiate the approach that needs to be taken to serve a large enterprise market vs products for consumer space vs products built for internal use.
  • A great partner is one who engages with you in every step of the product journey. Possible bring along strategic relationship that even opens doors.
  • The right partner will also be someone who have assimilated the agile way of development into their DNA to ensure visibility and sustain project velocity.
  • The right partner would also be a proponent of cloud based code repos, devops tools and processes that streamline and improved efficiency in a distributed development environment.
 

Considerations

When you are convinced and ready to engage with a co-development partner, here are a few important points to keep in mind as you take that big step to taste that sweet success.

#1 Segregate design and development responsibility

An excellent UX designer is not necessarily a great software engineer, or vice versa. Look for how the co-development company handles these specialities. Are there specialized resources with honed skills in one area? How are handover between both these parts managed? Even more important, which parts do you want to retain in-house and which parts are you comfortable handled by a co-developer?

#2 Create your design before beginning coding

Your UX design is your customer interface. That is what you must perfect before you get into coding the product. Finalize the look, feel and functionality before getting into developing it. Again, an important part of your decision making will be, how much of the UX design should be handled in-house vs with a co-development partner from a design agency. This will depend heavily on your in-house capabilities and your available budget.

#3 Your requirements need to cover good ground

Your instructions to both, the UX designer and the coder, have to cover good ground. When you start, go for the spread the depth can come later. Take time to list out most likely scenarios and all possible ‘what if’ situation. When you provide clear requirements, you improve your chances of getting what you want in terms of time lines and product quality.

#4 Start small but aim for long term partnerships

Break the project down into small phases, this provides better visibility to the progress being made. Leveraging agile methodologies will help to break up monolithic projects into more manageable deliverables for all parties involved.  While this limits you risk and exposure, it also gives time to streamline the relationship and cement a long term partnership.

#5 Get your partner skin in the game

Some partners may be willing to take small stake in your entity in exchange for the a discount. This not only helps you reduce your cost but can be a greater incentive for your co-dev partner to building a successful product. There are various business models for co-development partnerships available that range from arm’s length outsourcing all to way to equity partnerships. What is available will heavily depend on the business case for your product. In some cases you will need to “pitch” your ideas to potential co-development partners.

The process to engage a development partner has evolved today, and it is getting as good as getting your own team design your product. When budget and time are key consideration why not engage a partner with expertise in product engineering to give you that extra boost.

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