How to start building your software platform

March 25, 2023
8 min read

Do you want to build a Software platform of your own?

There is a huge market for well built Software from every corner of the world if you can get the right product out. But getting the right product out isn’t really an easy or a simple task. It’s rather a process which you need to start from somewhere. At Fcode Labs we have helped many clients build their platforms and here are few things I learnt.

It is really insightful and inspirational talking to potential users about your idea. But no amount of user research can take away the fact that users only think that they know what they want. In fact, it is only after they see and start using something, they begin to understand what they really want. This is where the concept of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) becomes handy.

A minimum viable product is a version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development.

Before coming up with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for your platform, you have to work a lot towards converting your idea into a business and this article, 5 tips if you want to start an App business would help you with that.

5 tips if you want to start an App business

With the few years of experience working for App businesses, building up our own app businesses and helping our clients to build up their app businesses, I thought of sharing some of the tips I would like to share for those who are thinking of starting an app business in Sri Lanka.

Now let’s see how to build the MVP for your platform!

Document the Requirements for the MVP​

Document the requirements

The first step to build your MVP is to document a functional specification for the product. You can do this by developing a series of user stories to cover the essentials of your application that are needed for it to work at the basic level. Then you can break these user stories down to functional specifications. This involves a sound technical knowledge and if you don’t have a technical background it’s better to get help.

The timeline and delivery of your MVP will fully depend on having requirement specifications documented for each functionality of the platform. Not having a proper requirement specification documentation would result in going back and forth with development and developing loads of unnecessary features.

With ideas piling up on your head, after few months neither you nor the developers would remember what your initial requirements were if you don’t document your requirement at the first place.

Simplicity is the key

Whatever your platform does, it should always make your user’s lives easier. Don’t make your platform too complex. It is ok and may be essential to have advanced features in your platform, but that should not complicate the day to day tasks that your users do with the platform.

Most common way I have seen platforms complicate things unnecessarily is by having multiple ways to do the same work. Giving too much choise will overwhelm users as nobody will know which is the right way to do it. In addition to that this would definitely delay the development of your software and increase the cost of development.

The tech stack

Once the requirement specifications are documented, you can choose the technology stack with which you’d like your MVP to be developed. You’d have to decide on the backend technology, database, web and mobile technologies, and where to deploy your software. There is no specific yardstick to map your specifications with the technologies, but thinking about the following facts would help you decide which technology you should use.

  • Does this technology support the features you need?
  • Is this technology currently on the rise or is it dying?
  • How easy is it to find developers and what is the learning curve?
  • Can this technology support my MVP in future when adding more features?
  • How easy it is to integrate this technology with other platforms?

Take your time and if you are not a specialist get help to decide on the technology stack for your MVP as this decision would be crucial.

As a bonus fact, don’t try to reinvent the wheel by yourself. There are a lot of technologies at your disposal that can help you save lot of time and money. And don’t think too much about how to accomodate millions of users just yet.

Focus on Your Early Adopters

Your early adopters are the most valuable people for your business. They are investing their time and taking the risk of testing your product and will help you eliminate the hindrances everybody else would have in adopting your product. Your job is to get the MVP as fast as you can to the hands of your early adopters and get their feedback. Listen to everything they say and give them the value they deserve.

But this does not mean that you need to implement every feature they think they want. You will never be able to do that as there will be countless opinions on how the platform should work. But instead you should first focus on eliminating the things that stop your users from using the platform. Once you do this for a few iterations you will have the perfect MVP, with which you should go into a bigger market while planning for the next phase of development to convert your MVP to the final product.

Building the MVP and getting it to the hands of users should be the first step towards building a successful business. The real struggle will begin thereafter but that’s for another day…

Please feel free to comment on what you think about building an MVP for a Software Platform. It’s always great to have conversations about these topics. Thank you and hope you enjoyed the content!