What does it take to build good software?

What does it take to build good software?

  • Build a product that people want – Stage 1
    • Are you building something people really want?
    • Can you build just enough software to understand what people really want? 
    • How to avoid premature optimization
    • How can I prove my product hypothesis with minimum resources/development?
    • What it takes 
      • Ability to say no.
      • Ability to push back
      • Think of software development as a learning exercise
      • Dev resources are expensive
  • Make the product extremely reliable and consistent – Stage 2
    • As software ages, do things still work? Are older versions still working? 
    • As new features are released, does older feature still work?
    • As data structure changes, does older feature still work?
      • 3rd party webhooks can feed different data
      • database structure itself can change
  • Build a product that delights user – Stage 3
    • Is the UI/UX super intuitive
    • Are there simpler ways to do it
    • Can the flow be simpler with lesser steps
  • Build software that compounds – parallel
    • Is your code readable? 
      • After 6 months can you read and understand what you wrote with ease? 
      • Are you able to build on top of someone else work?
      • Are other people able to build on top of your work? 
    • Managing code complexity
  • Build software the is secure – parallel
    • The cost to business from loss of reputation is massive

Stage 1,2,3 happens in sequence. Stage 1 is a requisite for stage 2. There is no point in having a very reliable consistent codebase for a product that no one wants. Similarly, Stage 2 (reliable consistent product) is a pre-requisite for building a product that people love.

As a company, you can broadly be in one of these stages, but in general, there can be parts of the product that can be at various stages.

Only when stage 3 works, will customers will want to gladly pay you money for a SAAS product month on month. When stage 3 is working is when your customers cannot stop talking about your product.

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Alex J V
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