Crowdfunding offers organizations an exciting opportunity to experiment and innovate as they leverage user interest to gain funding for projects that would otherwise be left undone. Technavio found that the global crowdfunding market is poised to expand at a 17 percent compound annual growth rate for the 2017 to 2021 period. With more companies embracing crowdfunding as a way to engage customers and get funding that would be inaccessible through traditional means, the opportunity is great. However, developers using crowdfunding must contend with the unique challenges created through the funding methodology.
A crowdfunded development project takes on its own personality and quirks that can be unmatched elsewhere in the industry. Three ways to ramp up development functionality to support a crowdfunding initiative are:
1. Embrace DevOps
Crowdfunded projects are going to come with tight guidelines and more changes than normal. The core premise of crowdfunding is to give contributors a larger role in the product development process as a reward for their willingness to fund the initiative. As such, it is expected that investors will be given alpha and beta builds of whatever you are creating and be able to provide feedback. This community interaction can be invaluable in engaging customers and getting recognition for your work, but it also means you’ll have to regularly change direction and roll out new iterations of your product on a consistent basis.
Responding to these demands in a traditional dev environment is impossible, and even a simple agile setup will often bring in long testing and release processes. DevOps is necessary to unify the coding with the backend configuration management efforts to accelerate time to market and keep the crowdfunding community happy.
2. Schedule for unpredictable changes
Stretch goals and similar perks that come when projects receive more funding than the initial milestone can be great ways to incentivize continued investment from the community. IndieGoGo found that the average successful campaign will include 12 perks that are added to a project after launch.
“Operational flexibility is critical in handling the frequent, unpredictable turns a crowdfunded project may take.”
Development teams can’t set stretch goals, make post-launch promises or otherwise create expectations for sustained improvements and then be unable to adjust their processes or practices when the time comes to deliver. Operational flexibility, whether through strategic internal planning or third-party assistance, is critical in handling the frequent, unpredictable turns a project may take. You may not be able to devote much to a perk that comes with a funding goal that may or may not be reached, but having a plan from day one will help out in the long run.
3. Anticipate internal team challenges
A crowdfunded effort can run into trouble if funding escalates to a point that exceeds initial project expectations. For example, imagine you are part of a dev team working on a large-scale solution. You end up finding just the right niche in the market and achieve enough funding to significantly expand the project. The pressure is on. This can take an already large and complex initiative and create long-term development pressure that you aren’t ready to handle on their own. A project that was supposed to take two years is now slated for three, and your organization hasn’t resourced your team for that work. Partnering with development specialists can go a long way in helping you scale your time through strategic outsourcing built around flexible resourcing models and consulting help.
KMS Technology can help organizations worried about the potential problems that come with a crowdfunding effort. If you’re looking to disrupt the market, but need some assistance along the way, contact us and we can step in with advice and resources to get your project on track.