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The Emotional Journey of Developing Software

by Eban Escott, Aug 02, 2018

There are a number of stages Product Owners go through when they decide to embark on the journey of developing software. At WorkingMouse, we understand these stages can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, so we have developed a number of strategies to cope with mitigating the risks involved.

Developing Software can be like Riding a Rollercoaster

As our diagram below shows, at the beginning of a new project spirits are relatively high and everyone, particularly the Product Owner, is excited. However, despite the variety of parties involved in the development of a software application, it is often the Product Owner who is the first to  to fall into a trough. The reason this tends to happen is because their natural tendency to be overly optimistic about their idea is often combined with inexperience in software development. This results in a need for developers to manage client expectations about how much work is involved from their side of the fence when software development kicks off. Contrary to popular belief, software isn’t just developed by the software engineers in a dark room. At WorkingMouse it’s a collaborative approach and we go on this journey together.
Once the expectations are laid down about collaboration, it becomes a gradual uphill climb for the Product Owner as they move through a Vision meeting and Brief stage. These stages are where an initial knowledge transfer is conducted and a common understanding of the high level requirements of their project can be reached.

Scoping and Development

During the next phase, called Scoping, the team at WorkingMouse start to truly unpack the project so that by the end, the requirements for the first deliverable of the project have been uncovered. During the Vision, Brief and Scoping stages the  Product Owner can start to visualise their first MVP and become super excited for development to kick off. However, the Development stage of the project is where a Product Owner’s emotions may take a sharp dive, particularly as it becomes harder to see the end vision when all the work is behind the scenes development work that can’t be visualised yet.
It is totally normal to have some doubts
As a Product Owner you are championing your idea from the get go. Why else would you be prepared to invest money into the project. It is normal to go through periods of time as development progresses, where you lack motivation or are riddled with self-doubt. The team at WorkingMouse understands the rollercoaster of software development and will help you understand how all the small pieces of work will come together to form your awesome new software application.
Never lose sight of the end goal/ vision
One of the biggest challenges in software development is Scope Creep. Anyone who has been a part of a development project before will be aware of this concept. There is a great article specifically discussing Scope Creep on the WorkingMouse blog. Having a clear focus on what needs to be achieved in order to call the project a success is very important. It can be very tempting to a Product Owner to try and cram as much functionality as possible early on but just remember the more you add in the longer it will take to see the final product.
Working iteratively means small wins consistently
Carrying on from the previous point, when WorkingMouse develops our Partner’s software applications they do so in an learn-measure-test cycle that allows them to deliver small chunks of functionality regularly rather than waiting till the end of the project and presenting the entire platform as one. This helps keep the Partner involved and ensures there is a better chance of product market fit at the end.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to technology
The real value of the Codebots technology that WorkingMouse uses to build out our Partner’s software applications isn’t just how fast it can write code, but how it can reuse the code that it’s previously worked on. By leveraging existing technology we can avoid comically long development time and this ultimately reduces the cost to the Product Owner.
At the end of the day software development is a journey and can be an emotional roller coaster for many. WorkingMouse is here to help you navigate and go on the journey together. If you feel ready and are interested in building out your own software application please contact us here.
If you are interested in finding out more about how we work check out our whitepaper which is free to download.