On the other hand, most owner developers fail to finish. Here are some of the reasons:
- Too ambitious: Most owner developers start a project from a concept and move directly to implementation. Without other parties to satisfy, the design can stay cerebral where it can grow and adapt. This often works well – except for a perspective issue. An idea that looks like it should take six months can take 6 years – a fact we would have known if we had taken the time to jot down the tasks and add some guesstimates. Of course most owner developers would be to intimidated to start if they knew what they were really taking on. So, perhaps it is better to have a high failure rate than lose the great ideas that do make it.
- Commitment: The creative spark is important, but for software development it takes 99.9% perspiration to make the 0.1% inspiration valuable. That is a long road to hold your vision and belief for.
- Direction: It is easy to get immersed and spend an inordinate amount of time on features that are either dead ends or not needed for the first release of the product. This is one of the risks associated with the strength of flexibility.
- Organisation: Keep all aspects of a complex project in your head takes effort. While this effort is a lower overhead than that involved in a team project, it is still significant. It also leads to things being lost – from great ideas to potential pitfalls.
- Product reliability: relates to organisation deficiencies and the low manpower investment. Coding without formal design leads to gaps in implementation, particularly with error checking. In addition one person has to choose between fixing bugs and adding that new feature. As the product increases in popularity the bug fixing can take all your time.
- Marketing: Let’s face it. Software developers are mostly technical geeks with poor communication skills. If your product is something new, how do you tell people what it really does? If the idea is obvious there will already be a hundred versions around. If it is truly unique, why will your market know to look?