I see this over and over again: a client/friend/kitten gets an idea for a project. For arguments sake, let’s say it is a Windows Phone app (kittens are especially good at those). As they talk more and more about it, this app idea grows and grows. They might all be great ideas and features that are discussed and agreed on, but sooner or later they want to begin the project and they have no idea where to start. So they just start coding and soon something is produced and working, but it is not quite like they had imagined. The next feature is difficult to implement and user reviews state they aren’t as successful as their promising idea was meant to make them. Hmmm, then what. Usually the project is neglected and the grand idea gets put on the backburner once more.
What has happened is that they forgot the KIS principle. Keep It Simple. There is nothing wrong with being enthusiastic and starting something new. The problem is that they try to do everything and all things from the beginning. The best start is a simple one. Once the initial brain storming is completed, a few simple steps will ensure you won’t become disillusioned, burnt out and lose focus.
- Decide what your app is good at. You need to have a core focus for your app, which you can say in a single sentence. For example, “I help get people faster to the airport”, if you provide some sort of traffic or flight services.
- Define a minimal viable product. Of the ideas and features you have brainstormed, focus on the minimum set that can achieve the core of your app.
- Plan the next iterations with the remaining features.
- Develop your awesome idea. Make the best, but simplest, version of your app. Make sure you do one thing really well and focus on that.
- Move to next iteration. Once you have published your app, it is time to move to the next set of ideas and features. Don’t forget about bug fixes though!
With these simple steps you can get a great start to your app, and have the best chance of making it a success. If you have any other tips, I would love to hear about them in the comments below.