Getting Started Bringing Your Idea to Life
“Ideas won’t keep; something must be done about them.” Alfred North Whitehead
I have worked with many people over the past 10 years to help them bring their ideas to life through web technologies. In this post, I want to share some of the experience and questions you will face as you seek to bring your own idea to life.
Enjoy the euphoria, but plan on an adventure
Your idea brings hope for a better tomorrow regardless of whether it is to increase sales, productivity or create a really great new gadget. So it should come as no surprise that there is a euphoric state of mind that goes with it. It’s the performance sports drink you need to drink for the journey ahead.
Write it down, but be flexible with it
Write down your idea in a two sentence summary followed by a feature list. The feature list show every ‘it would be cool to have’ or ‘must have’ you can think of. This be a reference point that you return to when you are asked the many questions that will bombard you as you seek to define your idea. It will help you to stay focused. However, be flexible enough with it to allow it to take shape. There are many decisions along the way that will influence the reality of your idea at the end. User experiences, software platforms, code languages and technical limitations all play apart in shaping your idea. These decisions will impact costs so the more flexibility you have the more solutions can be found when there are constraints.
Armed with your feature list, start reaching out to companies who you think could help. And don’t stop at just one, get a few. They should ask you a lot of questions and be getting a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve. Make sure you feel like they are listening and you can trust them. There are so many variables and tiny details that often come up later that can throw in a monkey wrench. Thus selecting a company on price alone is dangerous as they could have left something out, or just aren’t committed to your work.
Focus on the details
Once you have selected a partner to bring your idea to life, you now face as a team the daunting task of translating it into a reality. This is when the finesse, experience and skill of your partner should shine. The design team should work closely with you to capture your idea in illustrated specifications, wireframes, and designs based off your feature list. They will ask you a lot of questions about the usability needs and special considerations. It can feel tedious at times in the excitement, but their attention to details is crucial to the developers. Not to mention keeping them from wanting to torture you if you forgot about something and they now have to re-do the entire framework.
Communication keeps your idea from growing extra arms and legs
Taking an idea from a state of perfection and evolving it into a reality requires a lot of communication. Weekly check-ins reviewing tasks, going over designs, and reviewing work completed are an important part of keeping your idea from growing extra limbs. It is a good idea to have at least one person in your organization dedicated to attending these to have their hand on the pulse. Surge believes in transparency in our work and will put up a test environment as soon as there is something to show.
Testing today saves a headache tomorrow
Aggressive testing begins the moment the test environment goes up. Testing this early in the process allows bugs to be caught sooner and saving headaches later. Besides our own professional testers, you are given the opportunity for testing yourself as well. This allows you to experience your idea first hand as often times, things you translate onto paper sometimes don’t work out the way you think they will. Testing early helps to catch the small but important nuances that make your idea shine.
Release it, but keep on planning
When embarking on a new idea, people can sometimes be short-sighted in thinking about the longevity of it. The upkeep and maintenance are things to consider but so will additional feature roll-outs after you get back more user feedback as your idea grows and flourishes. Needs change and evolve so make sure you have a growth plan and allocated budget to draw on so your idea can to continue to flourish.
I hope this introductory post has given you some insight on what to consider. If you have any questions, please reach out.