Scoping is just as important and challenging as writing the actual code.
Why? Because without knowing the scope of a product, you're essentially winging its development — which can be costly.
Scoping is knowing every feature your MVP will need and why. It's knowing which emerging trends support your idea. It's knowing your user personas and their specific requirements. It's knowing which problems you aim to solve. It's the thought labor behind a solution. It’s the chicken before the egg. It’s the eggs before the omelet.
Every great piece of software starts as an idea.
Take this email between Air B&B co-founders for example:
Notice the child-like and jovial language used in the letter. It's written like a text message between two friends just shootin' the sh*t.
I wonder if Joe and Brian realized that they were onto something big. Big as in 82 billion dollars big — that's right, billion with a B.
The fascinating thing about innovative technology is that it all starts out like this —simply a string of thoughts and connections expressed and shared between two or more people.
Hidden behind the scenes are the copious amounts of caffeine, sweat, and exhaustion that fuel the development process before a line of code is ever even written.
It's called scoping and it's hard work. Joe and Brian didn't just dive straight into technical territory, tackling questions like:
Which languages should we use to code this?
Which cloud computing platforms do we need?
What is the backend architecture going to look like?
Because it doesn't work like that.
They most likely started out with questions that sounded something like:
Who are our users and what do they need?
Do people like staying in hotels?
How often does the average person travel?
These types of questions help in connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated concepts that ultimately comprise the product's scope.
For Joe and Brian it was as simple as:
travelers prefer homes over hotels + residents willing to rent out their homes for extra cash = a win-win.
This was Air B&B's winning formula. But thankfully for us aspiring entrepreneurs, there's still tons of great equations waiting to be discovered.
So if you have an idea for an app, don't run to the coding boot camps.
Instead, start with the scope.
This is how we help ordinary people build extraordinary products.