I want to develop a startup product! What should I do first?

Güçlü Talu

Co-founder @ Smartup Network

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Believe it or not "looking for a developer" is not the first thing you should be doing after you have have solidified your idea and are ready to start building your product! Here's a step by step guide to what you should do:


Software should always be documented before starting development. Because you are building a startup product and not a complex banking software worth millions of dollars, you will not write thousands of pages of analysis documents but still you should have someting written that specifies the scope of your small software project. For startups, mockups are the best. Mockups are basically the screens of your app with arrows, decision boxes and notes to specify functionality. Remember that mockups do not have any visual or aesthetic value, they do not have to look nice but they should contain every details of your product's functionality, flow and navigation. Mockups do not represent your app's visual design but they will be an important input for your visual design process along with many other crucial project documents including but not limited to your wbs and project plan!

2. Build a WBS

WBS is short for Work Breakdown Structure. This fancy term simply means "Give your developer the mockups, ask him/her to decompose this work into development tasks and estimate how long each task is going to take " This might be the single most important thing that you should do if you do not want to risk your development process going on forever. Keep in mind that the maximum estimation for a single task should be 6-8 hours. If you have very long tasks, the risk of not being able to the stick to the plan will be higher.  

3. Build a Project Plan

Now that you have a list of development tasks that you need to accomplish to build your product with estimated efforts, add those efforts to come up with a calendar date to finish. Remember a product that is ready to be launched doesn't require just development, add a testing period equal to at least 20% of your development time at the end of your project.

4. Start Backend Development - Start Visual Design

Some tasks in your project plan will have "prerequisite" tasks. You can not start front end development tasks before completing your visual design. The good news is you can start backend development so it is a good idea to start visual design and backend development simultaneously to save time. 

5. Start Front End Development

When you are done with visual design, you can start front end development. Because you were wise enough to start backend development earlier and are already done with some backend tasks, which means you can test as soon as as you are done developing a screen or a page. 

6. Start Testing

The key is to start testing as soon as possible so you come across unforeseen problems - which are inevitable - while you still have time to fix them and not be late. You added a %20 testing period at the end of your project plan, remember?


Smartup Network is a team of entrepreneurs that have experience in building, raising funds and selling startups. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs with bright ideas who don't have the proper team to turn their ideas into products. Our three main areas of expertise are:

We build their products for entrepreneurs whether they are at idea stage or post-MVP stage.

Product Management
We work alongside entrepreneurs to find the ideal product user experience for their target markets.

Finding Investment
Once our entrepreneurs' products begin showing traction, we get them in contact with the right investors.

So far, we have had the opportunity to build startup 35 products in 16 countries, for entrepreneurs from all over the world including San Francisco, Seattle, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Dubai, Johannesburg, Accra, Quito and Istanbul. You can find some of the latest successes of our entrepreneurs' apps through this link. Smartup Network partners with well known startup hubs all over the world. Including but not limited to, Switzerland based Seedstars, which supports startups in developing countries, Boston New Technology Group in the United States and Impact Hub Istanbul, the world-renowned startup hub for social entrepreneurs. Startup experts from all over the world such as. Trivago founder and CEO Rolf Schrömgens and Sina Afra, who was named One of Top 100 Most Influential Tech People in the world by Wired Magazine. Our goal is to support as many entrepreneurs as possible realize their dreams.

Smartup Network
Technical Partner For Your Startup