How beautiful things are made


I have an idea…


That’s where it’s all starts.
So what do we do with it? Some just sit on it, forever, and let it go. Some might try to make it happen, but trying is not enough. It takes a lot more to bring ideas to life.

With all the excitement, let’s explore our ideas. There are heaps of things to think of at this stage.

  • What is the idea about?
  • What problems is it trying to solve?
  • Who is this for?
  • What make our ideas different from everyone else’s?

Lots to learn. Lean Methodology would give us a good start to know where to begin. The idea phase can start before or after the market research phase. Normally, if it happens before, then it’s a solution based product and if it happens after, then it’s a problem based product. You might want to read Running Lean, and you will need a lot of sticky notes, btw.

Get to know the world!

There are a few things we could do here:

  • Traditional Market Research: Data from the last 100+ years would give us an indication of the market size and expansion plan. Don’t rely on it too much though. Many people believe that if there are one million downloads from the Appstore per day and if they could get just 1% of them then they would get an astonishing 1000 downloads per day. Technically, it’s right. But it’s not reality. In reality, you need to figure out how to approach the first 1000 people and get them to use your product. The first 10,000 users are always the hardest to get.
  • Potential user interviews: Find out your customer segments and then interview them. This will give you a better idea of your actual users and how they react to the problem. Read more on how to conduct user interviews to learn how to do it right.

Pro tips: You are not the user, no matter how much you know about the problems or are personally having the same problems. Don’t assume that if you like it, your mum likes it and your best friend likes it then so does everyone else. You need better validation than that.

Potential Users Interview
Market Research
Competitor Research

Build a Solution


So we’ve learnt that there are lots of people that have the same problem and luckily we’ve found a solution. But it’s not everything. Building a solution is not like dumping functionalities and features in to make a super software/application.

We sure need to work out what features are needed. Then we priorities them to see which ones  are required in the initial launch,  phase 2, phase 3, etc… By doing that, we won’t be wasting our effort to build the wrong solution.

Also this is a good time to think about a monetization model, distribution model, user acquisition model, engagement model and so on…

Human Centered Design can help you build a product that your potential users will want to use. Combine that with Gamification and you will have a fun product that they love to use often.

Pro tips:  Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Make it beautiful!

Beauty is not only colours and shapes. Beautiful design is, in fact, just the tip of the iceberg. The foundation of the beauty is User Experience. Before we make it look pretty, we have to make it easy to use, intuitive and user friendly first. A couple of things need to be considered seriously:

  • User Experience: Each device is different, iOS users are different to Android users or web users. Every app/website is used in different situations, environments, emotions, and for different motivations and purposes.
  • User Interface: Elegant and cluster free is the best advice. You don’t need all 7 colours to make it vibrant and attractive, unless you make games or casino apps. Listen to your art director, they know better.

Pro tips: Simplicity is the key. One thing at a time, don’t make it too complicated. Give users what they need at that very moment with instant feedback, a sense of progress and a clear goal. That would create an excellent experience.


Can we code yet?


Hang on a sec… Not so fast

Let’s have a sprint to find out what technology we use, its limitation and how we can build a strong core that we could keep adding features onto later. It’s worth it.

Then start with the most important features first, everything else will evolve around it. It’s not always perfect, but at least you know your software can do what you want it to do from the beginning. Also, make sure you check out all the regulations, limitations of each technology and third party APIs you’re going to use so that you won’t get surprised when you launch your app.

Agile is a good methodology. It keeps everyone focused.

And not yet, you can’t start coding just yet, not until you and your team have a good sprint planning and everyone knows what they have to do.

Pro tips: You don’t need to build a foundation for launching a rocket, so don’t over think it. A strong, flexible and scalable foundation is all you need for now.

Sprint! Fast!

Looks like you are ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

It’s time to start sprinting and keep sprinting. A couple of things to remember:

  • Bugs are annoying, so keep track of them and don’t set them loose.
  • Use a proper bug tracking tool, not spreadsheet unless you are confident that your application will have no bug.
  • Comment your code, so you know what you are doing and what you did a while ago.
  • Test in real conditions, not simulated ones.
  • Keep everyone in the loop.
  • Keep calm, have enough sleep and don’t stress out no matter what happened.
  • Keep the music on. Ford played background music to increase their productivity in assembly lines during WW2 so you could too.

Are we done yet?


Oh no! It never ends!

That’s true. It has just started. It’s time to test whether your solution actually work in the real world. Don’t forget to sneak in some analytic tools which will allow you to track user behaviour and other stuff. When you have enough users, you will be able to see their patterns, where they get stuck, what frustrates them and what features they will need next. This can help you optimise your solution and have a solid foundation to strategise your product roadmap.

Lean Analytics is a good book for this.

Pro tip: Launch on small number of users, test the solution, optimise and then release to the public. This way, you will have good feedback from the alpha and beta rounds to prepare for official release. First launch will never be perfect. Never. If it is then you might have launched too late.

When are we going to get rich?

Probably not yet…

You are unlikely to get rich right after launch, unless it has Pokemon in it.

You will need to market your product, get more users, fix issues, improve your product, sort out finance, support your team, build product roadmap and millions of other things including having a life, all at once. Yep, all at once.

So when are you going to get rich? I don’t know, you go find out. But keep in mind, it never ends unless you want it to end.