Building SaaS? - Avoid these speedbumps


Winning in SaaS is about direction and speed. And being agile enough to course correct as needed.

If you zoom into a SaaS product, there is nothing so complex that any good developer cannot build. The combination of thousands of simple things and navigating through an infinite maze of options is what makes it challenging.

Over the years, here at SleekSky, we have identified the following few speedbumps that often slow down SaaS product development and hints on how one can address them upfront.

  1. Lack of focus on microarchitecture

At a high level, all SaaS products are three-layered applications. But a lot goes into the architecture of the smallest components, database design, method interfaces, service boundaries, API design, authentication, and many such factors. If not done right, these micro-decisions lead to a hardened architecture that limits the capabilities and agility of product development.

Address microarchitecture issues via frequent refactors, at least initially.

  1. Not identifying product patterns

We generally think of product features as additive. A better way is to identify feature patterns instead. When you solve for a feature pattern, it simplifies the architecture and improves affordances for future additions. These patterns sometimes are hard to cook up initiallly, but having a long-term roadmap can help here.

Don't just add or remove features. Change it all when you see the pattern.

  1. Poor technology choices

A technology or architecture that works well for Google could be the worst decision for your product. Reasoning technology decisions can be tricky. We must also consider non-technical factors such as developer ecosystem, skill availability, programming language agility, malleability, and unique product requirements.

Often a technology that gets you to a good MVP reasonably fast is a good choice. Evaluate technology based on experience rather than trends.

  1. Inappropriate processes Process best practices vary with stages of product and business development. There is no one size fits all, and development teams must iterate these processes along with the product.

Understand each process step and use conventions before restrictions

  1. Learning the hard way

It costs us valuable time to discover technology choices, architectures, and processes via trial-error and learning. And time and speed in SaaS often determine success or failure.

Work with people and teams who have already learned and understand the technology domain and processes to avoid spending time in re-discovery.

SaaS development and product-market fit take time. There is no quick way to get there. When working with an experienced team, at least the variable of development is taken care of. It frees you up to focus your energies on understanding your customers and navigating your product to a good market fit.