🤖As a non-tech founder, what it takes to develop an app?
Blood, sweat & tears. I say it and I mean it.
Hey everyone👋, welcome to the 3rd newsletter.
Having an idea & putting it into life can suffer if you don’t have the required skillset. Especially when you build an app or software you might know how to get users, design the app, market your product and initialize the idea but one thing that can stuck the process is coding.
I’ve spent around the last 8 months decoding and understanding the process of coding and developing a web app. It seems all easy to read and listen, to get sock into it, but when it comes to actual trial you’ll know it’s not what it looks like.
The process from idea to live:
The “development” part isn’t just one step thing. It fools us into one simple word which can be so confusing & hunting when you open it.
Everything till wireframe or designing is something you can do or at least understand its work map. But when it comes to development there are endless things you need to know:
How to keep the product alive and running?
What language to use for frontend and backend?
Which framework is better for your product type?
API & integration? WTH it is?
Security, authentication, authorization.
How to save operating cost?
…the list is endless and the resources on the internet will explode your mind.
I’m building a web app and I already started working on it last year (WorkMap, which is on hiatus) by creating 1-2 features that will help me launch faster & build the user base. This MVP design is really simple and it was built in 2 months.
I hired the freelance team from Upwork (as it provides a variety of developers from different countries and at your required cost). After a lot of research and talking to developers, I landed on a conclusion for what language and framework I need to build my app (that’s the only thing I know till then).
I hired a team, but there were a lot of problems.
I know nothing other than which language and framework to use. As I’m a curious learner, it’s really important for me to break down (or understand) the complete framework of developing my app, starting from where to collaborate to code to how will users see the live running app.
The people I hired weren’t at all cooperative. Sometimes what it looks like from the outside need not be true. I’ve heard coders work very silently but I’m at least required to know the progress and updates.
When you don’t know what’s cooking inside, it’s easy to accept the surface is clean. I really don’t know what’s going on 🤷🏻♀️.
The unlimited fears I get: what if they do something wrong in the middle of development and my app stops.
…and many more which better not be discussed. But that’s the lesson that pushed me to create a framework for my understanding. So, next time if I work with any developer I’ll know exactly what are they doing and what they’ll be doing.
The only thing is you need to know what needs to be done to build your product and whom to hire.
Why did I say having some understanding of a skill is important?
If you’re hiring someone, freelance or part-time person, what job description are you going to create? When you don’t even know what you’re looking for. The person you hire doesn’t necessarily knows all the languages or skillsets.
How precise you are in the requirement of a developer will help you find the right one & they will give you better advice.
🏗 Build the thing, What you should do?
Learn to code and then build the app yourself - It will take a lot of time, energy and the process can be really really long.
Hire someone and completely trust them - just the way I did 🤦🏻♀️.
Hire someone and watch over things with some understanding of developing a product. That’s what I do now.
🚀 So here’s my framework & how I work with developers now.
Simply typing how to build a web app won’t get you answers to everything, especially when you don’t know what to expect and whatnot. The problem isn’t getting the answers but not knowing the right questions. You need questions to get answers.
Example: how to check if the new changes/features are working properly before the code is pushed to the server? I was searching about it then found out about “the staging” thing. This way you can easily assist the developer to create a staging site & you can check if everything is working out correct before you push the code to the server.
Start by writing all the questions and why’s you have about developing your product. It can be which code editor to use, how to deploy things, how to make changes on the app, what’s GitHub, etc. The question you raise means you know the dots but need to connect them to make them work together.
Create a Notion page or anything to document or list out things you’ve learned or discovered.
Find out the basic things for developing software. Languages, frameworks, database, understanding of how to deliver the product to the end-users, deployment, what apps or integrations you’ll use, etc. Or if you want to make it easier for yourself talk to a developer friend, business consultant, or join communities to find answers or talk to experts.
When the time comes to work with developers, create a Notion page (or Trello, GitHub or any project planner) where you’ll tell your developers to document every step. Their to-do tasks, who is working on what, what is completed or what needs to be done, what other resources they are using, etc. Tell them to document every move, so that they keep working on the things and you get to see everything and if you have any questions you’ll have clarity of what to ask.
Not only proper documentation will help you but it will also help future employees you work with. If there is something you don’t know you can share the documentation your previous developers created.
Coding and developing is something not everyone enjoys, and one doesn’t even need to learn. And it’s completely okay to give this whole part to someone else. But remember it’s your product and you’ll need to keep control over it.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out 👇🏻
Until next time! 👋
👋 PS: I’m Ritika founder, product marketer and advisor for early-stage startups, find more here or connect with her here. If you’re a first-time founder looking for curated resources, download here. If you enjoyed this post, read the past issues here. You can also promote your product in this newsletter.
A big thanks for reading & sharing!