Should I Rebuild My Tech Or Improve What I Have?

25 August, 2020
Should I Rebuild My Tech Or Improve What I Have?

It’s quite common that a business enlists an agency for software development and it doesn’t go to plan. The customer is left with a product that is underwhelming, or that may have been built in a particular software program that isn’t suitable. The product might be a website, app, or two-sided marketplace, and it leaves them in a difficult predicament: Do I start again with new tech, or build on what I have?

An example might be a mobile application built in a platform that doesn’t have the capabilities to create what’s required. And when the founder(s) test it, or it goes live, it doesn’t elicit the experience they intended for the end-user.

This leads to issues for the customers, and an even bigger one for the business itself. It’s then that decision-makers must decide whether to keep the application or rebuild it.

We’ve faced this question at Station Five and deal with it frequently, and the short answer to the query is that it’s circumstantial. This article aims at giving you total clarity on your situation so you can move on with your project successfully.

The Quality of Your Tech Build

The first thing you need to look at is the quality of what’s been done so far.

Put simply, you’ll need to rebuild when the application has been poorly developed. Inadequate programming leads to all kinds of issues during further development and after launch. Bugs, breakdowns, and failures add to an already stressful period in a business’ launch process; ideally, you want to ensure that when issues are found, they can be resolved promptly and without impacting the business.

Rebuilding Technology

Make sure you get someone qualified to look over the work before making any decisions. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you’d like a review of some development you’ve had done!

Don’t guess, check! It could be the difference between a successful launch or a shocking failure.

Has Your App or Website Been Built with Modern Technology Frameworks?

If the answer is that it hasn’t, then it might be best to reconsider starting again.

We worked with a customer recently who had developed their mobile app in a legacy (outdated) technology. They approached us with a list of features they wanted to develop, and we estimated a timeframe of 10 to 12 weeks for development. Conversely, we could rebuild their whole app with the new features in 6 weeks. While this may not be the rule, it does demonstrate the impediment an old technology framework can have on development. It’s important to not get emotionally connected to an existing application, only because funds have been allocated to it.

You need your technology to be capable of:

  1. Scaling to your user’s needs.
  2. Enabling new features to be developed.

Has Your Product Been Built on Widely Used Tech?

This question is critical.

With software development, you need to hire developers who have extensive experience within the framework. This is rather impossible if no one has been using the program for long enough because it has just come to market, or it’s not common technology.

Failing to do this results in operational risk. You need to be able to access a large talent pool of developers who can work on your project, and it’s too risky to not rebuild and settle for a shallow talent pool moving forward.

Tech Building Failure: Is This Too Far From What I was Looking to Build?

It might seem silly, but too often miscommunication takes place and the customer ends up with something different from what they’d requested at the beginning.

The initial features built may now be redundant, and so you don’t want to build around those features that are no longer suitable. So in this case, it’s best to go back to the drawing board and start again.

You should start again if any of the answers to these questions don’t fall in your favor as outlined. And if you’re unsure, have a software development expert take a look at it so you’re certain. I can’t overemphasise the importance of a third party review.

Getting A Review Of Your Tech

We once had a rather unorthodox situation here at Station Five with a customer who had just joined us.

Another software developer had built their product, and they were yet to go live with it. And they insisted that Station Five launch with what they had already built.

We had told the customer we need to rebuild it before launching, but they didn’t want to.

The result wasn’t ideal; when people started using it and filling out forms on the page, they would submit it and get errors.

And that’s because it was tested by developers but never thoroughly by the end-user.

And these gaps because obvious as a result, and created issues for all concerned.

Sometimes, it can be as black and white as a tech company saying that you need to rebuild. And if you bother to get a review (which is thoroughly recommended) then you need to take it seriously by getting an answer to the following:

Getting A Tech Review: The “Why, What and How”

Granted, developers have different views and are opinionated on how things should be done. But when getting a review and making a final decision, it’s critical that you probe to discover the “why, what and how”, if an expert recommends you start over:

  1. Why the expert thinks something won’t work
  2. What precise problem a risk assessment reveals, and
  3. How likely it is to have an impact on your business

If a company or developer has a different opinion on how it should have been built but ensures there won’t be any issues, you’re safe to consider keeping what you’ve already built.

But if the response to the “why, what and how” prompts extended concerns with precise examples of potential failure, it’s time to consider a rebuild.

Feel free to get in touch with us if your question hasn’t been answered here, of you’d like to enquire about a review on your tech.

Lambros Photios

Lambros Photios

I'm the founder and CEO of Station Five, one of Australia's fastest growing technology businesses. I specialise in idea conceptualisation and go to market, and work to provide startups with valuable information as host of The Venture Podcast.

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