How To Kick SaaS
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BackEnd Development

What the Back-End Developer Does

In a SaaS build, especially for an MVP, the back-end developer will generally figure your best setup for a serving platform, get the environment setup, and code the system. If your SaaS requires different kinds of developers, different back-end developers will have different responsibilities. If your system is an app or has an app portion, you may need additional developers with specialties in those technologies as well as developers with web-app building specialities. Or, if you have an AI component, you may need an AI specialist who just focuses on that portion of the project.
PROTIP: If your SaaS has an app component, most of the time you will also have a web-app component for managing users and data.

Starting Up the Back-End Development

More than likely, actual back-end development got started well before you got to this point. The back-end developers had to set up the environments & platforms, pull in dependencies, figure out what systems would be used, plan the database, figure out what systems need to be integrated, and much more. All of this work takes time. Unless they have built the same or a very similar system in the past, they have days of work and research to do in order to get ready to do their primary jobs. Some of these tasks won’t be done until the team gets to the point where they are ready to check off that particular item on the list, but much of the work can be done ahead of time -- and the more that is done up front, the more accurate your time and financial estimates will be.
PROTIP: The key to accurately estimating hours is to have your team break things apart as much as possible and estimate hours granularly. The more granularly, the more they have to think about each item, the more clear they will be about what needs to be done, the more accurate your estimates will be.
For more information on how to do this, take a look at the BrainLeaf.com website at the book “The Comprehensive Guide to Website Design, Web-app & Development Project Scoping.”

What the back-end developer needs to do their job:

  • Information Architecture - with explanations of features, pages, elements, etc.
  • Wireframes and/or Flows - so they can see what the page should look like
  • Coded Style Guide - so they know what different features should look like and they have the front-end code done before implementing.
  • Coded pages, views, and states - that are ready for development
  • All back-end systems planning finalized - remember, there is no "should" in development. It either does something or it does not. There is no in-between.
  • Project Plan - This is a set of deadlines and explanations of who will have what done when that the other team members need to progress. Remember, developers are optimists! Give them deadlines, but plan on them missing the deadlines by at least 20%. Project deadlines are set up as part of the Project Plan.
  • Management - With multiple team members doing different kinds of jobs and relying on one another, even the most experienced and responsible developer benefits greatly from help getting what they need from other team members and coordinating timelines so they are not waiting.
  • Regular Meetings & Communication - Even if everything is planned perfectly, there will be questions and things will change. This is a cornerstone aspect of Agile Development Method.