Developers December 3, 2020

How often have you had to restart a project from scratch?

Bree @breedaddy

I had to restart my project with a new developer (this is the third time) due to lack of skills presented in the original scope. The developer had only 6 out of the 27 pages done within the last 4 months. Has this ever happened to anyone else before?

  1. 6

    I would suggest setting up a weekly or bi-weekly demo with the developer. That way you can catch issues early and avoid the 6 pages in 4 months scenario

  2. 4

    It really depends on what your project entails. A lot of people think because a product has only 27 pages that not a lot of things are happening on one page. Look at facebook. When you login the feed has a million things happening but it is only 1 page.
    There is a fallacy when it comes to programming and developing software products. I don't remember what the fallacy is called but its about how software development is the product of pure imagination and ideation. Because our brains are so good at coming up with ideas and imagining things, we drastically underestimate the amount of work and what is truly involved in creating these things in the real world. This is true for most people even developers fall for this. But product owners and managers fall for this even harder since they don't know anything about development and what it takes. You need to really sit down and think about what it is you are developing. Does its scope require a full team? You have already ran through 3 other devs? Perhaps there is too much happening for one person. I have also taken a look at what you are building and I have literally!! just built a marketplace like that but selling other types of digital products. If you want I can even build your version LOL. Let me know if you want to talk just PM me I can show you what I built.

  3. 3

    Hey @breedaddy, have taken a look at your site! My thoughts about your question below:

    It's usually quite easy to underestimate the complexity of a custom-built web app project, for both the initiator of the project (owner) and the builders (developers/designers).

    There could be a number of reasons for this:

    1. It could be difficult to fully understand the scope and technical requirements at the onset of the project. For example in your case, the developer could have made an estimation of the work required in the beginning and after some time, realised he had severely underestimated the project and hence decided to leave.

    2. There are a lot of hidden or below-surface tasks that are essential and time-consuming. For example, this could be planning the database schema, doing up an admin backend interface, mobile responsiveness for each page, writing up code for automated unit testing - things that are usually taken for granted but which the developer would still have to implement or do manually.

    3. If the builder is wearing multiple hats (e.g. developer, designer, UI/UX), then the chances of a project failing would probably drastically increase. Unless he/she is very well compensated, it would be very draining to balance and implement each aspect at the same time - sooner or later there would be burnout and the developer would naturally decide that it would not be worthwhile to continue on the project.

    As what @hackerlatino mentioned, it would be a good idea to not only revisit the scope of work involved but also sit down and try your best to fully understand the work involved by breaking each module/feature into smaller and smaller tasks - this would give you a much clearer idea of the complexity of the work as well as better understand the progress of work from the builder.

    Alternatively you can consider building your MVP on Wordpress by utilising themes/plugins that match your use case and business model. I have come across similar marketplace themes/plugins on Envato so I’m sure that there would be some suitable ones for you out there. A Wordpress implementation would be less complex than a custom-built implementation, and the pool of developers/designers who are familiar with the framework would be larger as well, making it easier for you to find help if necessary. If you put in some time to familiarise yourself with Wordpress, you would be able to be less dependent on others and be more involved with the development of your business as well.

    Hope this helps you a little!

  4. 2

    I had to scrap entire front-end of our MVP we spent months working on and now building it from scratch. It was a mix of bad UX design to start with and developers not skilled enough to build such design.

  5. 2

    For me, it’s rare to restart. But I always “think” if I should.

    It was 2 months ago, I had a investor database that I published in April 2020. Good traction but not exciting. Hence I keep think how I can offer more values.

    It’s not an easy step and people often can’t focus on the value proposition. So I decided to do the usual customer discovery process again.

    In Sep 2020, I restarted VenturesList. Launched in a month with a fresh look, new product and clearer value proposition. Now I’m proudly serving my premium readers.

  6. 1

    It has! I was working with a machine learning problem and burned through a lot of cash really quickly.

    Here's an idea for you. Maybe have your hired developer try building your MVP with something like and memberstack? In my case, I've built and tested a few ideas with this stack remarkably fast.

  7. 1

    I've restarted many, many, many side projects over the years. And my favourite projects get restarted multiple times.

    The reason, for me at least, was being a perfectionist. I wanted as many bells and whistles and a slick look right from the start.

    Are you building an MVP? Is your original scope too big for an MVP maybe?

    I didn't want to launch with scrappy MVPs even though I had little research anyone wanted the things I was building. I think I was more interested, as a developer, in the building a product and not looking forward to the scary unknown things like launching to the public, marketing, or sales.

    It may be the case you're just having bad luck with developers so you may want to find your next developer through recommendations. And get them to be honest with you about the project scope and what's achievable in your timeframe.

  8. 1

    It seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life. My average is probably around 3- 4 times for personal projects and 0 for work projects.

  9. 1

    Since this is the 3rd time, I'd take a bit to reassess what the cause could be. Time to honest with yourself about scope, expectations, communication, and leadership.

  10. 1

    Sometimes yes, the developer lack skills so the new developer might work. But better is to reduce the scope, and have more in-between milestones. And ask right questions every couple of days so that only 6 pages in 4 months scenario never happens again.

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