We already know how advancements in technology enable visionaries to come up with game-changing tech-enabled products and services. The rate at which new ‘disruptive’ solutions, be it in hospitality (Airbnb), transportation (Uber), project management (Slack), food & beverage (Zomato), digital payments (Paytm), and countless other fields are coming up is staggering.
Aspiring techpreneurs see the incredible momentum behind these technology startups and the way they catapult over existing market dynamics to achieve staggering growth. In turn, they become motivated to find their own ‘aha moments’ – moments where they identify gaps and inefficiencies in an existing space. Once they find such an opportunity, they’re in a position to build something new and unique, and that’s when they set about translating an idea into a working solution.
The difficulty at this stage is figuring out what is actually required to build something tangible – proven solutions that look simple to a user are usually incredibly complex on the backend. This is especially true for entrepreneurs without a tech background - they don’t know the different skillsets, platforms, technology stacks and components of IT infrastructure required to put their plan into motion.
Often, they expect a simple brief of the idea is enough for a developer to begin, well, developing. Many projects are doomed to failure already at this initial juncture, since there’s no shortage of budding freelancers and tech companies willing to take on work – any work – to initiate their portfolio & gain experience, while being paid for it.
An experienced and well meaning developer will off-the-bat offer a reality-check to the would-be techpreneur. Working on just a concept brief and fragmented feature list almost guarantees the project will face major hurdles during development. This is where the technology consultancy scope of work comes into the picture. In a consultancy role, the developer will work with the entrepreneur to write out an extensive, fully detailed SRS (Software Requirement Specification) aka FRS (Functional Requirement Specification) – the ‘bible’ of the project.
This SRS/FRS is a detailed written document combining the technical & functional aspects of the entire solution keeping in mind the business side of things – it brings everybody onto the same wavelength. Some of the major components of an SRS are:
• Overview of the proposed solution
• Comprehensive functional requirements
• Process flows
• Design constraints & guidelines
• List of data inputs & corresponding outputs
• Standards that must be followed
• Technology stack
• IT infrastructure requirements
• Security guidelines wherever applicable
It is true, and fair to assume that the project will evolve over time, causing the SRS to undergo iteration. However, having this in place from the get-go ensures that instead of just covering 20-50 percent of the project scope, you have at least 70-80 percent, if not more, of what the final outcome should look like properly detailed. A roadmap with estimated completion times can be determined much more accurately with this process in place.
Simplicity and a lean approach to execution are great to push a project forward, but these two aspects should never compromise the detailed deliverables and milestones of all the stakeholders involved. We find this kind of deliberate approach to product development far more beneficial to everybody involved during the project life cycle.