I have come across many entrepreneurs and tech startup founders in my career, and I repeatedly encounter the type that wants to forget all about technical specifications—building the roadmap, defining features and choosing technologies—and just focus on his customers from the get go.
I respect that, it’s a good instinct and a noble pursuit, albeit counterproductive. By forsaking the development process of your idea, you are also abandoning your user’s needs onto less caring hands. I want to explain today why writing technical specifications for your own startup is, in fact, putting your best foot forward.
Challenges of writing technical specifications
What am I getting myself into?
If you have a product idea, you should be able to explain clearly what it is about. That’s it, that’s exactly what a technical specification is. It’s actually pretty basic, right?
When it comes to actually going through with it, you may think it’s easier said than done. It’s not. They’re both equally easy. You don’t need any special intricate or technical skills, you just need to know the market, the value, and be completely invested in the idea.
In practical terms, with the goal of explaining everything better, you’ll have to draw a couple of app screens (by hand, nothing fancy), and put yourself in your customer’s shoes to figure out how they’ll behave and what they’ll expect from your app. Don’t worry, we’ll cover the intricacies of what this looks like in a later post.
Something to keep in mind while doing all of this, is the fact that you have already done all the relevant research that backs up this idea. You know everything there is to know about the market, the technical possibilities, the competition; but your customers don’t.
So in order to convince your audience that your product is the best, you need to impart the necessary knowledge for them to make their own conclusions, and judge so for themselves. If you just say so, they won’t believe you. But if other people share how your product makes them feel, or makes their life better or easier, it’s up to the rest of the audience to believe them.
Trust yourself with your startup vision and idea
Dangers of over-delegating
A lot of the apprehensiveness when taking on responsibilities as a founder is due to lack of confidence. The idea that you need experts to handle every single task when building your startup is frankly unrealistic. However, if this is your way of thinking, there’s a case to be made that you, the startup founder, are in fact the expert in your idea.
We already stated that in order to tackle writing your project’s technical specifications, you have to:
- Be able to explain clearly what your idea is about
- Be completely invested in your idea
- Have a deep understanding of the market, the value and the competition
Who on earth will ever be more qualified than the startup founder in all of these aspects? Simply: no one.
Let’s imagine, for the sake of it, that you find someone creative with an understanding for your market, to whom you delegate the technical specifications and the tasks that follow. This person will become the product owner much sooner than expected, and he or she will shape and change your project from the get-go.
The biggest risk in this scenario is the lack of personal investment and commitment to the soul of this idea, and it may result in an over-polished concept, with nothing to make it stand out. The disruptive and unique aspects of the product will be lost, along with your vision for it.
Shape and improve your startup idea in your image
Keep your ideas yours
It’s not hard to fall for these feelings of inadequacy when building your dream company. You want everything to go right, yet so much can go wrong. It’s overwhelming to think about, but rest assured that with the right tools, instruction, and mainly, disposition, you can go through with it.
You are the secret ingredient for your company’s success. And by following these guidelines, you can put the best of you into your startup efficiently:
- Brainstorm your idea
- Draw your idea
- Ask someone with a technical background or experience (like a CTO or a developer) how easy it would be to build it
- Write down as much information as you can
Startups by definition are creating an innovating product or offer, something new. So it means you won’t always know how it works. Just think on your feet, and know your market very, very well. You, as a founder and idea owner, are the best option to write the technical specifications. What makes your product worthwhile is if people are willing to pay for it, and no one will recognize your startup’s value better than you.