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Tips for Handling Resource Constraints During Greenfield Product Development

Do you have an awesome vision for a new software product but limited resources to actualize it? Here are some tips for completing greenfield product development when your resources are constrained.

All projects face resource constraints, and for some, those constraints are highly significant. For your greenfield product development project to be successful, you must utilize your resources strategically. The two main resources in this context are time and capital. Although they are interdependent, one is likely your bottleneck.

Once you have determined your bottleneck, you can tailor the stages of your product’s software development lifecycle (SDLC) to meet your needs. Below, we’ll investigate the key stages of the SDLC and identify the proper course of action based on which resource is the bottleneck.

SDLC Planning Stage

Limited Time

You will need to focus on assembling your team quickly, and selecting the proper technology stack will be important in doing so.

If you have an existing team, you should select the tech stack with which they are collectively most familiar. Now is not the time for premature optimization – differences in expected tech stack performance for your use case should not capture your attention unless they are highly significant.

If you do not yet have a team, you will generally want to pick a ubiquitous tech stack. Again, the speed of assembling the team is most important. For example, you will likely have a much easier time filling roles if your product is primarily written in Java compared to COBOL. 

You will also want to consider utilizing consultants, either to augment an existing team or to create a team from scratch. Consultants can be onboarded more quickly than new employees and don’t require the training time that existing employees might.

Limited Capital

When you have a capital constraint, you will need to create a detailed roadmap. It’s critical that you can measure your progress against your defined budget. To do this, your roadmap should define several project milestones and specify each team member's responsibilities at every stage and substage.

You will also want to plan to have the minimum team size required to do what is necessary during each stage or substage. For example, you may only require a QA team for a well-defined testing stage, or you may only require senior technologists during small, discrete substages of the implementation stage. You may wish to utilize consultants for some stages or substages depending on your budget calculations.

Technology stack selection is generally of lesser importance when your primary constraint is capital. However, you will want to take advantage of any market trends that could benefit you. For example, it may be the case that a technology equivalent to one you originally intended to use requires less developer hours, lower developer hourly rates, or both.

SDLC Design Stage

Limited Time

During the design stage, you will want to identify third-party tools that can be purchased to meet your product’s requirements. For example, if authorization is a requirement, you should consider utilizing an existing identity platform rather than building your own.

The design stage itself can be time-intensive if left unchecked. To partially side-step this and still end up with a viable product, you can design iteratively at a feature level and overlap the design and implementation phases.

Limited Capital

You cannot risk going over budget, so you must design carefully. Although existing products may exist to help you quickly meet your product’s requirements, you will want to carefully evaluate their cost-effectiveness on an individual basis.

You will also want to ensure that your design will yield a true minimum viable product (MVP), not something more. Team members should not allocate time to tracking, much less implementing “nice-to-have” features, or features that attempt to “future-proof” the product.

SDLC Implementation/Testing Stages

Limited Time

You should follow the Agile methodology for the implementation stage and complete it in parallel with the testing stage. This will get features production-ready as soon as possible.

Since you are Agile, future releases are expected to be frequent and small. You may benefit from setting up a red-green deployment process to avoid downtime and generally make deployments easier, if applicable to your particular product.

Limited Capital

You are positioned well to complete the implementation using a waterfall approach, which is great for tracking your budget, especially at milestones.

In your waterfall approach, testing is likely a discrete step after implementation. During the testing step, you should have budget allocated to thoroughly test all features, because by definition every feature in an MVP is mission-critical. You should get sign-off from all stakeholders each time you deploy your product.

Conclusion

Time and capital are the primary resource constraints for greenfield product development and successful teams address both throughout the software development lifecycle.

To address time constraints, you can keep the team onboarding bar low, utilize Agile methodology for the SDLC design, implementation, and testing phases, and leverage third-party tools wherever applicable.

To address capital constraints, you can create a detailed roadmap to an MVP that’s expected to be within your budget, follow the roadmap using the waterfall methodology, and carefully consider any spending on third-party tools.

Contact Concord if you are looking to complete greenfield product development while facing resource constraints.

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