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How To Clarify Your Ideas Before You Build Software

Having clarity about the software you want to build is a huge asset, but in the beginning, ideas can be foggy and not well defined. In this article, we suggest a few ways to clarify your ideas so you can move forward with as much momentum and success as possible.

In this video, a past client talks about the Discovery Process and clarifying their ideas before building their product.

Get Clear On Who You Are Serving And Why

To get started, fill in the blanks for the three sentences below.

My software will help [types of people]

To accomplish [list of tasks]

So that they can [the benefit or transformation provided by your product]

For example:
My software will help busy stay-at-home mothers to easily share their unused baby items so that they can declutter their house, help other mothers affordably purchase baby gear, and get money back for their items.

Itemizing product features are where we all tend to start when we think about designing software. Features set who is using your software and the transformation or impact they wish to achieve as a result.

By focusing on the user and the transformation, you are paying attention to the “who” and “why” of your system, not the “what.” What your system does should always be in service of the who and why.

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Find A Focus Group

A focus group could be a few close friends, existing employees or existing customers. Your focus group would ideally be made up of people who would be the target user of the system.

If you are building software for stay-at-home moms, then your focus group should be stay-at-home mothers.

Talk to your focus group about your product idea. Ask them what their problems and issues are. Dig deep into why those problems and issues exist for them. Find out what transformation they are looking for.

You can ask your focus group plenty of other questions like:

  • How much are they willing to pay, if it is a paid service
  • What are the must-have features
  • Which product name do they like best
  • Which brand slogan do they like best
  • Which branding or logo do they like best
  • etc.

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Do A Survey

Similar to a focus-group, put together a survey and send it out to your contacts. Try to get a pulse on the issues of your potential future customers, the transformation they are looking for, and the importance of those issues/transformation in their life.

If you don’t have a lot of contacts, that’s ok. You are not looking for a statistical sample. You are just looking for some feedback and insight.

By finding out what matters most and least to your target customer/user, you can prioritize your development and possibly go to market sooner by leaving unwanted features out.

Talk With A Professional Software Company

Software firms build products for people in all types of industries. Their experience of solving a wide variety of problems means that they can apply ideas and solutions from other verticals to your software.

Innovation often comes by challenging the way things have always been done and trying something new. A software firm can offer ideas on what is trending in the marketplace so you can pick the best ideas and set the next trend.

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Sharing Your Idea Does Not Mean Giving Up Control

Some software owners are afraid to discuss their ideas with groups of people because they feel obligated to follow through on the input of others. This is not so.

You own your idea and you ultimately get to decide the direction you want to go. Getting feedback is a way of verifying that your users love your idea as much as you do, and they want the change or transformation your product is promising.

You don’t have to please everyone. If you believe you have a market, or if you are creating a new market, and are clear on who your product is for and the benefit it offers, then you are ready to get started!

Resource: The Checklist For Sharing Your Software Vision

Before you get started in developing your software app, your thoughts and ideas should be clarified and written down so they can be consistently and easily shared and understood. To help you get started on the right foot, we have created a checklist.

You can grab a copy of that checklist below and share it with your team!

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