Own Your Application
You shouldn’t create an application if you aren’t prepared to own and manage it.
I know that’s kind of harsh. But it’s true.
Whether it is your site, a mobile app, an operational application, or any other type of application, you need to own it and manage it like the application is a product. It is.
Owning an application is a good first step. Own it from the very beginning. Seek counsel and get advice from application creation experts such as designers and developers, but unless the experts you are getting advice from have an equity stake in your company or the application, you need to own it.
So what does owning an application mean? It means:
- You ensure it aligns with your business objectives and that it is the right application for the right reasons at the right time for your business.
- You understand, help define and approve the application scope and requirements.
- You oversee and manage the creation process. You don’t need to be a design or development expert to be able to manage those that are doing it.
- You do the right planning and then execution around the business aspects of the application including but not limited to: marketing, pricing, user adoption and user training.
You own the entire process and you own the product. Don’t just be along for the ride. Some vendors and experts you engage with care about your success with the application and some won’t. Don’t leave it up to them to care. After all they don’t own it, you do.
Owning your application also has the same implications of owning any product. There is a financial cost and an operational cost to ownership. It isn’t a create it and forget it situation. Well, it shouldn’t be if you expect the application to provide long-term value. You will also inevitably want to make changes to the application to extend and enhance it.
You have ownership of your application. That’s the beginning, but just the beginning. An application is really like a product. You need to think of your application as a product.
How are products treated by their owners? They are managed. Sometimes with specific teams at large companies. Product Managers and Brand Managers are commonplace roles within large companies to manage products. You don’t need a team, but you do need to treat your application as a product and manage it accordingly. The management of an application begins during the initial strategy and planning phases and continues through the life of the application.
Management of an application includes how you will make users aware it exists, training users (if applicable), supporting users, administering users and the application, taking user feedback and evolving the application.
Your partners in creating an application should be able to help you manage your application. They should be able to help you define the application value, establish your user training and support plans, and create an application roadmap.
Getting Ready To Be An Owner
The reality is that only about 20 to 30 percent of an application is the actual creation. The other 70 to 80 percent is all of the ownership and management issues surrounding an application. Often the difference between a successful and unsuccessful application is the business decisions you make in support of the application.