You’ve decided to build a SaaS product or add a feature, but how do you do it efficiently? Building a successful software as a service (SaaS) product requires careful planning and consideration. In this article, we’ll talk about how important it is to build a SaaS product in optimal order.
Order is essential in most things you are assembling. For example, imagine you are baking a cake from scratch. If you don’t put the ingredients and activities in the proper order, the cake won’t turn out as you want it to. Add the flour and sugar first, then the eggs and butter, and then put it in the oven. If you put the eggs and butter and bake the cake before adding the flour and sugar, your cake won’t turn out as good as it could. You’ll probably end up dumping it in the garbage and starting over.
Feature development also has a recipe. And a product is just a set of cohesive features sitting on an underlying foundation.
You can take specific steps in the proper order to ensure optimal success.
If you think about it, a large part of helping someone achieve a goal is first identifying the right problem. Then you pick the best approach to solve it, and execute your plan.
While this seems simple in theory, it’s shocking how often this is done out of order, evident by all the solutions in the world looking for issues to solve. Some solve the wrong problems, and some are suboptimal solutions. As you can imagine, both lead to unhealthy SaaS business.
Taking this general problem-solving framework and diving one level deeper into SaaS product development, the optimal recipe is the following order: define the right issue; identify the functional and nonfunctional business constraints of solving the issue; engineer a customer experience design that solves the problem; document the detailed UX requirements; plan a technical strategy; arrange the assembly design; execute the technical plan; and monitor the result.
Do it any other way, and you’ll likely be wasting valuable time and money. And you’ll probably end up dumping parts of it in the garbage and starting over.
This first phase is where you have the most significant impact on the success of your business for the least amount of effort.
When building a SaaS product, it’s essential to start by defining the right problem to solve. Finding the right issue to solve requires a scientific process. Look at what customers think and why they want it, figure out what they need, and find better ways to deliver it.
Problem reframing has led to some of the most important breakthroughs in history, so it’s essential to take the time upfront to understand the customer’s needs and figure out the best way to meet them before designing or building anything.
After finding the right problem, it’s critical to document any business constraints of solving the problem. For example, understanding regulatory constraints like privacy, accessibility, and security are vital.
Be sure to identify the functional and nonfunctional business constraints. This includes understanding the budget, timeline, and resources available to you. It’s essential to consider the customer’s expectations, preferences, and behaviors.
By better understanding the solution business constraints, you’ll be able to develop a more accurate solution faster.
From here on, optimal product design is mostly an iterative engineering process. Doing things in an optimal order is essential to avoid making expensive mistakes where you lose precious time and money having to backtrack because you skipped steps by jumping ahead too quickly.
Once you’ve found the right issue and business constraints, the next step is to engineer a customer experience design (also called a product design) that solves the problem and meets all the business requirements. This means making a plan for the customer’s journey and figuring out how to give them a personalized, streamlined experience to meet their goal.
Also, the design of the customer experience needs to be tested and changed to ensure it meets the customer’s needs.
This includes the user experience requirements, a clear definition of the problem being solved, and the business constraints.
The next step is documenting complete, measurable, and verifiable UX requirements. This includes laying out the user interface, interaction design, and other product needs so that engineers can build the system to meet those needs. It’s essential to think about the technical needs and limits when writing the UX requirements.
After completing the UX requirements, the next step is to engineer a technical design that meets all the requirements. The design must define the architecture, components, and infrastructure needed to build the product. Validating the technical design is important to make sure it meets all business and solution design requirements.
The next step is to engineer the assembly design for the solution. This means knowing how the product needs to be set up, configured, and maintained, and the best way to build and connect its parts. Also, the design of the assembly process needs to be tested and improved to ensure it meets all business, user experience, and technical requirements.
Once the assembly design is done, the next step is to construct the solution following the technical design and use automated tests and other tools to ensure it meets all requirements. This means knowing the test scenarios, test cases, and test data required to make sure the product meets all requirements. Also, it is vital to include monitoring equipment to ensure the product works the way it should.
Building a successful SaaS product requires careful planning and consideration. By doing things in the order shown in this article, you can reach your goals efficiently: 1) define the right problem; 2) identify the functional and nonfunctional business constraints; 3) engineer a customer experience design; 4) document the detailed UX requirements; 5) engineer a technical design; 6) engineer the assembly design; 7) execute the technical design and automate verification; and 8) monitor your instrumentation.
By taking the time to understand and follow these steps, you’ll be more successful in building a successful SaaS product.
By the way, this is all part of establishing rock solid product development practices.
If you’d find it valuable to get this set up for your startup with no risk, let me know. I’d love to put our heads together and see how quickly we could get you there.