Can a Non-Tech Founder Outsource Product Dev?
... and what we figured out doing it for clients
Mar 31, 2023
I talk to a lot of founders who would have a target customer profile, and a product concept - but they are struggling to figure out how to make it real.
Many hire or outsource software developers, or hire a consultancy - but key notions of product management, or software architecture, are missing.
We realized we were making the same mistake last fall - and we changed our business model. It's not enough to provide high quality dev talent - founders often need aspects of product management, project management, and tech architecture covered as well.
We fixed this, and now we CAN deliver all of the above - included in our 8k/month standard developer pricing. Hit me back to find out how, or read on here.
Minimum Viable Product, meet Minimum Viable Team.
The minimum viable team includes folks who make a product or service, and folks who sell it. It's really that simple. When talking to non-technical founders, we assume they are handling the marketing and sales of the product, because that's the essential role for a non-technical founder in the early going. That leaves fraction to deliver on the product vision. Here's how we do that:
1. We engage a rockstar senior engineer, typically 10-12 years into their career, who is bored at their big company job and has spare capacity. These engineers like engaging with startups because it's exciting, but may not want to take on the risk of leaving their job.
2. The engineer commits to about 90 hours a month of effort - roughly half-time effort. With their seniority and talent we see 3x average developer productivity, so that our full-stack engineers can generally deliver an MVP without dev support.
3. Senior engineers don't need handholding, but it helps immensely to set the table - we include a technical Product Manager on every engagement to provide that. They put in about 10 hours a month handling light wireframing and running a tight Kanban board to make sure iterative progress is being made.
4. Even great engineers can use a second opinion, so our software architects check in periodically to ask tough questions and make recommendations. From your perspective as a Non-Technical founder, think of this as the periodic building inspection - we ensure that there are no cracks in the foundation with these check-ins.
In recent months we've used this approach to build new software products in wealth management, insurance, marketing, and payments. While I can honestly say that the best team is an excellent business cofounder paired with an excellent technical cofounder, I think we've found a close second option for non-technical founders.
Getting to Market
How Long Does it Take in this Model?
In engagements thus far, we see Fraction can help a non-technical founder get an MVP to market in ~4 months, with rapid iteration thereafter. By six months we tend to see a lot more polish and initial customer feedback incorporated. Actual product complexity will dictate, and a team of two fractional engineers (front-end and back-end) can build even more - but it's definitely possible to get an MVP out the door with a fractional team!
Schedule a time with us if this sounds interesting!