Rapid web application development is amazing. You can go from idea to prototype in a weekend and start testing the concept with real users in no time. The time and energy it takes to launch a web app is 1/50th of what it used to be 10 years ago. There’s one main challenge with rapid web app development:
Product development can easily outpace the customer feedback.
Think about it: users need time to experiment with new features and provide feedback. With a clean code base, no code debt, and frameworks like Rails or symfony, application development is blazing fast. In fact, it is too fast if you don’t have an opinionated vision of what will be included, and more importantly, what will be excluded from the product. Yes, having a culture of experimentation is great, but that needs to be measured against features that are truly experiments, and will be removed if they aren’t successful.
The next time you high-five your co-founder due to the awesome features just implemented, step back and ask if the pace of development is in-line with market feedback and the new features will be used by 80% of your desired customer base.
What else? What do you think is the main challenge of rapid web app development?