By Sharon R. Brown
Where’s the pain felt most when you are in the midst of launching a new product or service? Surprisingly, the challenges typically boil down to one core issue — translating the product vision into verifiable outputs — the deliverables.
We took a look at few startups and SMB’s (small-to-medium-sized businesses) to uncover the biggest challenges that they are experiencing in launching their projects.
Our analysis revealed challenges such as data acquisition, community building, and sensitive data access surfaced as some of the key issues. There are few absolutes in product development.
But, the one constant that is worth emphasizing is that regardless of the industry, if you’re building a product or service from the ground up there will be bumps in the road or potential roadblocks.
Throughout my experience launching numerous products and services across a variety of industries in the corporate sector — and over a decade plus as an entrepreneur — I have always been most surprised that companies often struggle to translate their project vision into actionable plans that can be executed within a measured product development life cycle.
Here is a snapshot of a few companies that are navigating remarkable development challenges in their product releases while launching a unique set of deliverables, despite the roadblocks.
The Data Sensitivity Challenge
LifeSite Vault is a new, secure web-based solution for storing all of life’s vital information and documents. The company’s SaaS platform provides a solution to organize, categorize, manage and safely share information, all in one place.
LifeSite’s Product Challenge:
Gaining the trust of consumers posed the biggest challenge for LifeSite. The confidential nature of the information that the startup’s product was designed to lock up creates a data sensitivity issue. However, LifeSite Vault focused on addressing the safety and security of personal information in the product by engaging security experts during design, development and testing.
The company uses the latest military-grade security protocols, and are continuously monitoring and auditing systems to maintain the highest level of security. The product will be launching a premium paid version by March 2016.
The Infrastructure Challenge
DADA is an online community where visual people draw together. Draw something and someone from anywhere in the world can respond with another drawing. It’s a place to discover that you are an artist, and a place for artists to be discovered.
DADA’s Product Challenge:
The biggest challenge for DADA was figuring how to make it work. Since nothing like the online community has been attempted before, DADA could not translate requirements or adapt the infrastructure from the real or online world. A lot of iteration and experimentation was required to build a system by which people would want to draw.
Getting artist to share their drawings, respond to drawings and create community was a hurdle. Ultimately, DADA created a community with extraordinary and meaningful engagement. DADA launched September 2015 and will launch their mobile app March 2016.
The Data Acquisition Challenge
Kehko is a startup that’s building a platform to help socially and environmentally conscious consumers discover companies that are giving back to causes they care about. The company is in the pre-launch stage.
Kehko’s Product Challenge:
The biggest challenge for Kehko has been identifying social enterprises to include on its platform. With thousands of social enterprises around the world, identifying them has been a real struggle. The site is expected to launch February 2016.
Over the next few weeks, I will share more of my perspective about some of the best practices for product and project implementation. Please feel to contact me here and share your experiences and perspectives.
Sharon R. Brown is founder and CEO of eLuminate Network. Sharon is a tech entrepreneur, product management expert, speaker and author, and regularly speaks on the subjects of product development and project implementation. You can follow her via @SharonRbrown1 and Facebook.com/eLuminate
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