A guide to product development for the risk averse, Part 4

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We’ve already covered finding the right developers and making it through the development phase with minimal risk. For our last post for this four-part series on “rescue projects” and what we can learn from them, let’s discuss what happens after startups make it to launch. How can startups ensure they’re putting a product on the market that can grow as their business and user base does?

YAGNI

One of the guiding principles in building a scalable product: YAGNI, or “you ain’t gonna need it.” It’s the same idea behind a minimum viable product—don’t build more than you need before you can get your product into the hands of users. This idea helps prevent growing pains for startups in two ways. First, it ensures that startups save their resources for features users actually want rather than features they might end up scrapping after launch. Second, it saves time and money on development. Obsolete features can clutter a code base, causing confusion for new team members and making necessary features more bug-prone.

Unit testing for continued functionality

Implementing unit testing is another way startups can ensure the continued functionality of their product as they add new features and their user base grows. Developers can do this by building out a test suite before launch. That is, a package of automated tests to run before they deploy any new code. Having this checkpoint in place not only allows startups to avoid bugs and downtime in their app, but also to ensure the integrity of their code as they their engineering teams grow.

Unit testing is just one of many processes that startups can integrate into their engineering team’s workflow to ensure a scalable product. The Agile methodology provides a great backbone for helping engineering teams avoid roadblocks, respond to problems, and write better code. Holding weekly or daily standup meetings, for instance, helps each team member better understand and move forward with their responsibilities.

Recap on building a scalable product

Building a scalable product, in a nutshell, means planning for the unknown. Apps don’t exists on islands—they’re part of the larger ecosystem of constantly updating browsers and devices. They connect with software that will continue to evolve and have users whose needs will shift over time. Startups can plan for this by creating products that are flexible enough to incorporate new features and swiftly adapt to technical changes and shifts in the marketplace