Five common mistakes tech start-ups should avoid when starting a technology project

It’s predicted that by the end of this year, global spending by organisations investing in technology will have reached $3.9 trillion. If you are embarking on a tech project, you will want to know that your investment is going to be worthwhile, delivering results while avoiding the pitfalls that have been the downfall of many other projects.

Here we discuss five of the most common mistakes that start-ups make when embarking on a digital technology project in order to help you protect your investment in time, money and resources.

Why it’s important to get it right

It’s exciting to think about the level of investment that tech start-ups are making in technology to launch a digital product, but it takes so much more than passion and enthusiasm to realise your entrepreneurial dream. In fact, in 2019 around 90% of start-ups failed: 21.5% in the first year; 30% in the second and 50% in the fifth year.

Running out of money, lack of research, bad partnership choices and products not performing as expected are all reasons cited for most start-ups fails. So, if you want to avoid the same fate as these unsuccessful businesses you need to learn from their mistakes.

Five common mistakes in product projects

Here are some of the most common project mistakes that can lead to a product failing to deliver on your investment:

1.Lack of focus:
From the beginning of the project, you need to build a clear idea of what you want to achieve with the project. The initial discovery phase should help you to crystallise your initial thoughts but it’s important to be ruthless in sticking only to what you need to do to achieve your goals. Without a doubt, the initial stage of any project will highlight a variety of issues or potential directions to explore but allowing yourself to drift between them will seriously impact the scope of the project. Allowing scope to keep expanding causes, delays, confusion, and impacts on team morale as they struggle to mark progress.

2.Lack of research:
It’s easy to get carried away with an idea, but without proper research to understand what is happening in the market, what consumers are demanding, who is already solving the same problems you’re working on and how your solution will be different, you can easily develop a product that no one, or not enough people, will want.
Your initial research will lay the foundations for what to focus on and plan for and as the project develops. User feedback will continue to be important to help confirm that you‘re still heading in the right direction and keeping pace with consumer demands. Without the insight from research done throughout the project, it will be easy to end up with a product of little consequence but great expense.

3.Lack of plan:
Once you have an overall objective for your tech project, you still need a plan for how to get there. For many businesses, a lack of planning, or poor planning, has severely hampered outcomes. Your plan is your roadmap, providing the direction of travel, detailing key targets and deadline dates on the journey to delivering the final product.
A plan shouldn’t be set in stone and needs to be adaptable to changes, but starting out with a plan lets you assess any changes against it, understand the impact and consequences they will have and then successfully adapt your plan to meet your new circumstances. Without even knowing if you are veering off course, you could go for weeks before realising you have and by then you will have wasted valuable time and money.

4.Wrong choice of technology:
For many start-up owners, especially those without the right technical expertise, the most daunting question to answer is often: Which software/tech is the right option for the development of the project? Choose the wrong technology and you project could be doomed from the start; pick the right one and your development journey will be far more successful, and your product can evolve in the future.

5.Lack of communication:
There will often be multiple stakeholders in any one project and without open and continuous communication it’s easy to lose the support of some of them along the project development journey. Those working on the project need to be kept informed, so they remain engaged and know what they are meant to be doing. The content and frequency of communication will also be affected greatly by the means. We have so many different communication tools at our disposal now, face-to-face and remote, that we need to choose the right tool to facilitate effective communication that allows information to flow where it’s needed.

Finding the right technology partner

Avoiding mistakes is about minimising unnecessary costs and delays and, in the worst-case scenario, they are about ensuring your project isn’t doomed to failure through mismanagement. Finding the right expertise can be a critical factor.

At Incepteo our experience of supporting and partnering with tech start-ups means we’ve seen the impact of many of these easy-to-make mistakes when clients come to us looking for help to get their project back on track. This doesn’t mean throwing away what’s already has been achieved, but rather helping them to realise the potential of what they have.

Our core services centred around four key principles of idea, build sustain and grow, encompass the strategy, process, and building a deep understanding of our client’s businesses to ensure that the project isn’t impeded or left trailing in the wake of competitors by falling foul of the common mistakes we’ve identified above.

We partner with our clients to harness their ideas and support them to fast-track delivery in order to build and retain that all-important competitive edge.

Excellent execution is critical for delivering great tech that’s made for today but with tomorrow also in mind. Each entrepreneurial start-up will want to inject their own distinct values and approach to how they achieve that, but they can also learn how to apply the lessons learned by others.

Learning from others

Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience”, and by partnering closely with the businesses in every one of our Success Stories, we are continuously learning lessons taken from our own entrepreneurial experience. We share that experience with our clients to ensure they avoid the most common of mistakes and the occasional new one.

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