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Hey guys I have this great idea for a web application, but I am unsure on how to develop it.

I know I need a team of people to make it, Developers and Designers, but where do I start?

Eventually I know I will need everyone, but for a startup, who are the people you need first, and who can you add on as time goes by.

So first of, I know exactly what every web page will do, I know what elements each page should have and roughly the layout.

So, I thought the best use of my time would to draw out Wire Frames of every page, and then use cases to describe the user interactions.

So thats everything I think I can possibly do.

The first set of people that come to my mind to hire would be a database designer, since I already know what information we need from the users and how their information and data collected from third parties.

Also, they already know how data is going to be displayed from the Wireframes and use cases.

Then I thought I would need to hire a designer, to design the web layout and interface.

Then I thought I would need a Developer to connect everything together.

If you were a small startup and could only hire 1 person at a time, is this the way you would go?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 28 '11 at 3:36

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2 Answers

Here are the steps that I would take:

  1. Create an executive summary of your application. Not only does this give you a summary of the system you're trying to build and can help to keep you (and your team) on track, but it can be provided to prospective investor(s) as an opening.
  2. Yes, create wireframes with basic functionality descriptions
  3. Create a flow diagram (Visio or similar)
  4. Get a professional NDA and non-compete documents drawn up by a lawyer prior to talking to anyone about it. You want to protect your intellectual property as much as possible.
  5. If you don't already know one, find a web engineer first who has a healthy amount of real-world experience. Could be because I'm an engineer, but out of the three (database, graphic designer and developer), I'd feel most comfortable with a seasoned engineer telling me what he thinks I'd need in terms of a workforce.
  6. Develop a prototype. Make sure any assumptions made are flushed out and that the core idea of your system works.
  7. Then look at hiring a designer (and a database developer if required - I'd at least perhaps have a consultant review what's been implemented). Designers will make things look pretty and will definitely add to further development cost, but the design isn't something that you need to prove - the functionality is.

Just my two cents (and I may be completely off my rocker as I have done very little in terms of start ups), but hopefully it'll get you started :)

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+1 Develop a prototype. I wish I'd done it prior to starting my current project. –  Oliver Weiler Apr 28 '11 at 8:27
    
Wonder why the downvote.. –  Demian Brecht Apr 28 '11 at 14:22
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There're no new ideas. Sure.

A friend of mine called me about a month ago. "Can you help me building a site?" asked. His voice was excited. "Yep, what is it?" - "It's secret now. Some kinda shop, but not exactly, it has a tweak" - "Is it social shopping? Just in our country, there were 2 new social shopping sites were opened just today, and it's only noon" - "No, no". About a week ago, some friend in the phone: "Project cancelled, we've found two German (.de) sites which is exactly as our idea".

So, first of all check 200 times that your idea hasn't been implemented by others. If you has never been built a website (and I don't mean WordPress sites), it's 100% that your idea is not a real novelty.

Find a leader

I know, it's a usual thing in US, that there're specialized people for everything. Once I've seen a job ad for vocal part author for music studios... it's so stupid, any musician can do that (if not, he/she isn't a real musician), and of course it's very expensive. So, don't hire a database developer, this task must be done by a developer, if he/she is not complete amateur.

If you find a senior web developer, you have to delegate him/her more tasks, than you think. Usability, SEO, layout... and finally, HR strategy. He/she will tell you the size of the army you need to build the site. He/she knows better than you.

I know, it's a secret, but...

...you should show your plans to as many senior web developer/prjman guys, just as you can. Tell them to criticise it, with the instruction: be cruel.

Biz model

Do you have that? But this isn't prgmming topic.

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As you probably have heard, having the same ideas already implemented is not an issue. What matters is the implementation. That of the competitors before you might very well suck. If this is the case you might have good chances indeed. Look at SO. It's not the first Q&A site and is certainly not the last, but it's got outstanding reception. –  user8685 Apr 28 '11 at 7:50
    
"Once I've seen a job ad for vocal part author for music studios... it's so stupid, any musician can do" - not quite. This is a very specific field and people must usually do and extensive an expensive training of many years to become proficient in it. After that their hour rate may be way higher than that of a SAP consultant. –  user8685 Apr 28 '11 at 7:54
    
Okay, SO is not the first Q&A site, but it has a very well-designed scoring system, I haven't seen before. Also, it's a hard decision: is it worth to re-implement a genre with better usability and minor tweaks? If the competitors implement same tweaks and redesigns their site, I will lost my advantage. –  ern0 Apr 28 '11 at 8:10
    
If someone can write the song, the same person can write some vocals. A programmer, who can't set up a database properly, is not a programmer. –  ern0 Apr 28 '11 at 8:13
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"A programmer, who can't set up a database properly, is not a programmer." I tend to disagree. –  Oliver Weiler Apr 28 '11 at 14:27
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