Building the product right is almost as important as building the right product. Many times, the founding team builds the right product but is overwhelmed when the onslaught of customers quickly reveals issues related to availability, data quality, and missing or broken flows. A whack-a-mole approach to fixing these issues leads to a spaghetti codebase that is difficult to maintain and difficult to add new features to.
As the disgruntled customers threaten to leave, or worse - blast out on social media about the product, the founding or management team is often left in a dilemma as to how they can quickly turn around the situation. Re-writing the product might sound like the most straightforward solution but the costs and risks associated with redevelopment and migration may be prohibitive. This is the time when expert product rescuers can help. Product rescue is an extensive effort to help quickly stabilize your product.
Why is this the need of the hour?
Bob, CEO of an American SME, has an important product demo with a large prospect. Winning this deal will double the revenue of Bob’s company. However, Bob is worried about whether his current product will be stable enough for the demo and scalable enough to onboard the new client successfully on the platform.
Mike, CTO of a European SME, is anxious about his product’s performance. The daily batch runs for reconciliation purposes are already taking more than 18 hours! With this increasing load, Mike is worried if his daily batch processes will be successfully completed within 24 hours.
Both Bob and Mike may not realize it, but they are in urgent need of a Product Rescue effort. These are real-life examples of the challenges faced by the CXOs of global SMEs. While the problems may be similar irrespective of the size of the product company, this malaise is mainly affecting the global product SMEs. Reasons include but are not limited to a funding shortfall, technical debt, reuse vs throw, and availability of good technical talent.
What Bob and Mike need is for an expert technical partner to come in and take a look at their current product platform to either fix it or stabilize it enough to serve the current business needs, while in parallel build a newer and more robust version of the product.
If you are with us so far, you would have understood why there is a need for ‘Product Rescue’ As A Service. Now, that we have covered the ‘WHY’, we will delve into the ‘HOW’ of Product Rescue.
How is it done?
On the face of it, Product Rescue might sound akin to firefighting, but the process is much more streamlined. The product rescue engineers are usually trained on how to systematically deal with legacy codebases. They’re often generalist polyglot programmers who’ve spent considerable years on brownfield development cum transformation projects. Although many issues have straightforward “Been there, done that!” solutions, each product rescue often involves challenges unique to the situation.
The first step for the product rescue team is to understand the lay of the land covering the code base, infrastructure, and established processes. The team carefully looks for obvious smells and documents points of failure.
The team then adds instrumentation that helps publish certain metrics to enable the team to observe the system in real-time and understand and figure out failure patterns. There are often many things that need fixing.
In collaboration with business, the team needs to ruthlessly prioritize what to take on, first based on the business value or on the impact the change brings about. Changes are made to isolate failures, better utilize infrastructure, and rejig processes to speed-up certain flows. The learnings from this exercise can help decide whether the product needs a re-write and if it does, what is the most pragmatic approach to do so confidently.
Who to turn to?
We, at Vikasietum Tecknology, armed with our proprietary tools and methodologies, offer product rescue as a service to our global clients. The majority of our clients are from small and medium enterprise sectors, either bootstrapped or funded product companies. Software delivery is broken, and the brunt of this patchy and often unreliable service is borne mostly by small & medium enterprises. Vikasietum Tecknology was born out of the need to make reliable top-notch software engineering services accessible to growing enterprises.
This article has been jointly written by Nilesh Miskin (Technology Evangelist and Chief Digital Officer at Vikasietum Tecknology) and Vivek Saxena (Founder & CEO at Vikasietum Tecknology).