How No-code saves startups from exhaustion and failure

Investments are raised for expensive development, the savings of entrepreneurs are spent

founders in constant polishing and improving the product, it seems to them that the productAnd when it does come out, in 1-3 months, it turns out that the app is cool, and there are few registrations, users downloadThe cost of attracting a client is high, the budget is highUnit economics does not converge, and, as a result, comesBut by this time, money, resources and time for refinement have been exhausted.This situation demotivates startups, and this is where they end their entrepreneurial activities instead of trying to use a different approach to avoid risks when launching.

Why is it important to start developing a new product with No-code without involving classical development

Product evolutions

When we look at successful products in the market,such as Airbnb, Amazon or Yandex, you need to understand that they did not become as they are now, and this was preceded by a long and multi-stage path of gradual development. The product evolution process usually has several stages:

  1. Product/business idea.
  2. A prototype is a quick, rough implementation of a future product.
  3. MVP (minimum viable product) is the simplest version of a product, service or service with a minimum set of functions (sometimes even one) that brings value to the end consumer.
  4. Product 1.0 is a product that has more advanced functionality, determined from the needs of customers and business after the successful implementation of the MVP stage.
  5. Product 2.0 is a complex product with extended functionality and a set of features, more advanced than product 1.0.
  6. A full-featured product (version n product) is a developed and expanded product, the functionality of which is developed and supplemented as the business scales.

Stages of product evolution

Stages of IT product evolution

The first three stages are the product-market fit search phase, where the business or productAt this stage, the task of founders or business owners is to test all hypotheses as cheaply and quickly as possible and find what works. 

From the 4th to the 6th stages there is a phasescaling a business model that has proven to be a market resilience and financial success. It is very important to note here that the scaling of the product should occur with the growth of the business, and the business is characterized by the money it earns. That is, the complication of the product and a significant refinement of the functionality should directly correlate with the growth of financial indicators, but not vice versa.

In order to move from one phase to another, it is necessary to pass the bifurcation point, which meansFinding a working business model (product-market fit) and starting the scaling stage. 

One of the omissions of many startups and ownersbusiness in that they believe their product development will follow such a straight line from stage to stage. But often the first time no one gets into a working and profitable business model. As a rule, you have to make from two to five pivots (from the English pivot - “change of business model”) before you find the very working business model that is worth scaling. It is at the stage of searching for a product-market fit that most start-up companies get stuck. This happens because startups spend all their resources on developing an MVP, make it long and expensive, so that if they need to change the business model, the product becomes so inflexible that it becomes impossible for them to pivot.

Therefore, in the development of most business products, it is worth using less expensive tools. No-code is one of them and is perfect for building and testing MVPs.

Stages of product development using No-code from scratch

The main feature of the no-code approach is thatthe creation of an MVP product can take place independently without involving a team, as in classical development. The entire cycle of product creation from product idea to its launch can be performed by one specialist.

Consider all the steps:

Stages of product development using No-code from scratch

Stages of IT product development

Stage 1. Description of the idea of ​​the product/project

Before you start developing, you need to clearly formulate answers to the questions of what, why, and why you are developing.Ask yourself: 

  • What business/product do you see?
  • What problem does it solve? 
  • Who is its audience, how does it solve the problem now? 
  • Is there a sufficient market size, are there competitors, how do they operate, why do you do the same or different from them?
  • How will monetization take place, what budget are you ready to invest in the development of the MVP version?

Stage 2. Drawing up business requirements 

At this stage, it is necessary to think through and describe how the product will work and what functional requirements it will have. 

  • How does the business model work, what does the whole process chain look like from the arrival of the user to the completion of the order?
  • Who is involved in the use of the product: clients, performers, recruiters, accounting, do they need any tools and functionality?
  • In which countries do you plan to launch the service and in what languages?
  • What payment systems are planned to be used?
  • What additional external services should be used, what integrations should be produced? 

Stage 3. Selection of MVP (minimum viable product)

In this case, the business requirements requireselect the minimum set of critically necessary functionality that will allow you to test the hypothesis, that is, to form the MVP functionality. It is important to remember that the main task is to test the viability of an idea, not to develop a fully functional product. It is necessary to focus only on what the business idea itself does not work without, to separate the main from the secondary.

Stage 4. Selection of a stack of instruments 

Understanding what functionality will be implemented in MVP,and which one will remain for future versions of the product, you can start selecting a stack (set) of No-code tools for its implementation. It can be a mix of 2-6 different No-code platforms and services. But it is worth considering: the more services are integrated, the greater the risk. The system / product becomes more fragile: if one of the links does not work, then the whole system may fall. That is why it is better to focus on the optimal number of tools in the stack and always monitor their work.

In addition, it is important to determine the possibilityconnection to the payment services of the stack that is selected, as well as check the possibility of its integration with the necessary external services. Think not only about what is needed to create an MVP, but also about how (if the business model is successful) you can then scale the product, and whether the set of tools for MVP will be an obstacle.

Stage 5. Drawing up a product specification

Having decided what kind of functionality will be implemented in the MVP and what set of no-code tools, you can move on to drawing up a product and technical specification.It includes a detailed study and description of the logic of customer paths, the composition and connections of each of the pages/screens, a description of user roles and access in accordance with them, privacy settings, a status model of orders/payments, drawing wireframes in Figma and prototyping functionality in order to test business logic. 

Stage 6. Compilation of the database

This point is applicable when developing full-fledged applications.Here it is important to highlight the main entities and their attributes, think over the statuses and bundles of tables. 

Stage 7. Rendering the design 

Having a product specification and wireframes, as well as knowingon which No-code stack each of the product elements will be implemented, you need to draw the design. It happens that in some No-code tools there is no way to customize the design completely, you can only change some characteristics: color, shadows, appearance, background. These limitations must be taken into account. But if the selected No-code tool allows you to make a custom design, you can use templates or involve a designer.

Wireframe and product design

Stage 8. Development

In the No-code approach, frontend and backend developmenthas no such explicit distinction and is executed in parallel. It is best to divide the application into parts and sequentially create the functionality of each of them. For example, a client's personal account may contain a main page, a login page, an account itself, and a profile.

The best place to start is by creating a database. It will link all pages / tabs and parts of your application, be its basis. And then boldly proceed to the frontend and backend:

Frontend development:

  • Create a page structure. 
  • Development of interface elements.
  • Adaptation of the interface for different devices.

Backend development:

  • Creation of functionality and logic for each element/action/page.
  • Setting internal processes/calculations of the system.
  • Creation of registration and authorization of users, roles and privacy / access settings and more.

Types of development

Stage 9. Integration with services

In No-code integration tools with externalservices are usually already natively built in using plugins. However, sometimes it is necessary to do custom integration through the API. Therefore, at the stack selection stage, it is worth checking whether the service has an open API and whether the No-code tool can perform this integration.

Key integrations to consider forproduct: payment systems, mailing services (email, SMS), internal services (crm, slac), analytics services, conference services (Zoom). If the tools and service do not have built-in integration, in some cases you may need the help of a developer.

External Services

Stage 10. Testing 

When testing, it is very important to check the performance of the application and the correctness of the functionality that was originally laid down when drawing up the product and technical specification.Testing can take place in several stages, with plan preparation, error logging, and performance checks on various devices.Testing is one of the key stages, it is worth treating itwith increased attention. 

Stage 11. Launch

After testing and eliminating all comments, it is necessary to prepare the productTo do this, it is important to fill it with content (pictures of goods and services), copywrite texts, add a user agreement, an agreement on the processing of personal data, check compliance with all the necessary initial requirements and start testing for users. 

Once a product is launched, it is very important to follow it.performance and support, pay attention to feedback from users, conduct interviews with them. This is the only way to understand whether the meanings and ideas that you laid down during development coincide with how the user understands and uses your product.

Transition from No-code to classic development

Switching to classic development is relevant when no-code becomes the neck of the bottle, and you are faced with limited functionality that hinders business development. 

No-code is quite a powerful tool that allows you to complicate functionality with business scaling.Many products/businesses remain on it. 

However, if you still decide, to goIt is best to use partial parallel replacement development. That is, in parallel with the work of the existing product and processes, begin the development of the most critical part of the product. Then gradually transfer user data to a new product created using the classic approach, and only then replace the product itself. In this way, iteratively you can completely transfer all parts of the business from No-code to code. 

The beginning of the transition usually starts with client external products that require higher quality design, native features. Domestic products can wait.

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