What I learned from 2 failed Prototypes and 3 months of delays

September 5, 2007

Three months ago today I was giddy. I had been toying with an idea for the last year or so and on June 5, I finally worked up the courage to venture back into the deeply seductive, and potentially disastrous, entrepreneurial waters. I formalized the plan, set aside money, found and hired a team, discussed and agreed on a timetable then I sat back prepared to count my millions (that was mistake number 1). Today, with the project almost 2 months late and less then 60% of the development done, I decided to post a list of some of the things that have caused delays:

1) Hired programmers not a developers and they required more management then I alloted time for
2) Accepting programmers offers of design services(use India for code try Poland and Singapore for design)
3) Get involved early and often, especially if there is a missed milestone
4) Write more detail (yes more then you think you need to)
5) Share everything you know, think or suspect about the project at the outset.
6) Working a day a head instead of a day behind (for offshore only)

I know this list is pretty obvious and I’m not new to web development but I made each of these errors at some point in the last 3 months and my timeline and project scope has suffered as a result. When I first dabbled in creating online businesses 10 years ago, I lived in a one bed room apartment above a wine shop in Brooklyn. Now I live in one of Atlanta’s sprawling suburbs, in a house that could easily fit 3, maybe 4, of my old apartments. Needless to say my risk profile is a bit different these days, but having thrown caution to the wind I should get back to posting and maybe even have SSP ready by the end of the month.