Do you have an idea for an app, and want to make an IT project out of it? There are, of course, several steps to complete before an IT project can see the light of day, and above all, before it can become a true success. Since app IT projects require a significant investment, it is reassuring when you are fully equipped to make the right decisions for your technology product’s design and success.
Here are the 6 steps of a successful IT project
Naturally, analysis is the first step of an IT project, because it brings together all of the preliminary information for evaluating the feasibility and potential of your technology product on the market.
Here are a few points that need to be clarified:
- Define the problem that will be solved by your product;
- Identify the target market that will be interested in buying your product;
- Define a viable and sustainable business model. Not all ideas can necessarily be monetized or make a profit. It is therefore important to make sure that your project can.
- Make a list of your direct and indirect competitors. The information you gather in this step of your project will allow you to identify better strategies to penetrate your market: price, typical functionality, the advantages of your product compared to the drawbacks of your competition, etc.
- Define your metrics (S.M.A.R.T.) : specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Based on parameters related to the different steps of an IT project, these metrics will allow you to determine whether to continue with or call off a project.
Cost estimate and preliminary schedule
This second step of an IT project is when you use information gathered in the first step to define the scope of the project, the technical requirements/user experience (Design UX/UI) and the amount of time that will be necessary to complete it. Since you will need to work with a technology partner to develop your app, this step of the IT project will primarily help you better understand the technical requirements and the corresponding technical and financial risks.
Step # 3
Search for funding, grants and potential investors
This step of an IT project is often the one that allows you to actually develop your technology product. Since you will need to contract with an external firm to develop your product, a significant amount of money will be necessary. However, financial backing could give you the boost you need to bring your project to fruition. Here are some of the solutions available in the innovation and technology industry:
Government grants/tax credits: There are different government programs and services that provide financial aid to innovative companies.
Financial partners: Financial institutions like the BDC and Investissement Québec provide financial products specifically designed to back innovative projects.
Private investors: There are organizations with private investors looking to fund start-up companies in the innovation and technology industry.
Securities crowdfunding: This solution allows companies to obtain financing in exchange for company bonds or shares.
Step # 4
The steps of an IT project, in the development of a technology product, must allow you to create value as soon as possible. You should prioritize the MVP (minimum viable product) for the following reasons:
- Confirms the preliminary hypotheses and previously defined metrics;
- Provides a tool that allows you to generate income very early on in your company’s life, even if it is at a very small scale;
- Lowers the risk of getting bogged down by efforts that go against the market’s wants, and focus your efforts where the market needs it, by using feedback from the first users to better target future development work.
Step # 5
This step – introducing your product to your customer base – will likely determine how soon you will see a return on your investment. Nevertheless, to penetrate a market where the competition is already well established, you’ll need to use the best marketing strategies available, the ones most suitable your product’s market launch.
Here are some of our best practices:
- Put up a promotional website and maintain a blog for search engine optimization (SEO);
- Create informational animated videos to demonstrate the added value of your product;
- Use marketing automation software for better onboarding and greater user retention;
- Define your product positioning with opinion leaders, who influence your target market;
- Launch ad campaigns with search engine marketing (SEM).
These strategies will allow you to verify your previously defined metrics and to make adjustments based on the results.
Step # 6
Monitoring, pivots, and optimization
Once the product is in the market, you can refer to user-generated metrics and feedback. This will enable you to test your hypotheses, and to do one the following:
- Continue with your original plan;
- Pivot to better align with the project’s market realities;
- Stop the project due to the inability to meet the objectives.
It’s clear that transforming a good idea into a viable technology product comes with its own set of unknowns and risks. Is your technology partner telling you that everything is possible, and to not worry about a thing? Beware! Surround yourself with partners who can give you objective advice, and who will support you in the creation of key metrics to minimize your level of risk. Finally, choose professionals who can guide you through all the steps of your technology project with transparency, and who will give you an accurate picture of the situation, so you can make the right strategic decisions.
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