Companies developing SaaS can grow overnight. In this kind of software, creation success can happen at lightning speed. A good Software as a Service product can transform a startup into a highly recognizable enterprise. With the popularity growing, scaling will eventually become a priority. When doing unintendedly, it can bring more harm than good, undermining the development process. This is why scaling this web-based solution development should be a well-thought-through process.
When is the best time to grow your development team?
Before you scale, you need to complete 3 tasks:
- Validate your market: you found a solution for a problem people are dealing with and they are willing to pay for that solution. This is a pre-startup stage.
- MVP: you built the minimum viable product and are ready to get testers, gather feedback and finally gain customers.
- Customers: you acquired some customers that use your software. This is where scaling comes into the picture!
After these 3 stages, you are ready to begin the initial process of SaaS scaling. It is important to view scaling as a gradual process rather than diving into it with all you’ve got. You should not scale your entire business at once. Scaling will cost you money and time, so it is important to prioritize.
The growth process in SaaS development includes stages like establishing a sales process or ensuring product development and marketing are coordinated. Browsing the net you can find several articles discussing these topics. I would like to focus on key elements of scaling back-end improvements or improving UX/UI design. People. Developers who are a crucial part of any SaaS business. There is a great programming team behind each great software. If you scale and would like to keep application quality on the same level you need greater capacity. Based on our experience of collaboration with SaaS companies I would point to some places where additional team members can boost development speed.
3 areas where developers can help you scale faster
Billing, payments and subscriptions
Most Saas businesses choose the subscription billing model. When your process of invoices and customer reminders is ready to get automated, you should start with scaling your billing system first. Billing becomes complex when the subscription management process does. When you experiment with pricing and expand into new locations, your subscription will get complicated. If you fail to acknowledge how heavily billing is influenced by subscription you will be stuck with a recurring billing system that will not be able to serve your company well and the customer experience will drop.
Automation of billing processes and customer outreach is what makes scaling successful.
Development of new features
To scale well means to aggressively attack the market. You should have as much of the market share as possible before your competitors take it from you. Leaders always have an advantage in front of the press, influencers, analysts. The customers also pay more attention to the market leader.
Saas applications aim to eliminate the need for backward compatibility and customer support, so the developers can move much faster in order to add features, improve the user experience and eliminate bugs. You should always stay focused on improving the performance of your app.
Many believe that the core of a successful SaaS development is the ability to reach the market as soon as possible. With additional developers, you can ship features faster and execute quicker.
Deployments and cloud management
Scaling and automation of deployments require planning and proper architecture.
You should focus on the following steps:
- containerizing application - Docker is the standard for containerizing applications. Before deployment, you have to make sure your applications are containerized.
- Cloud management - use cloud management software, like Kubernetes, to manage your cloud resources and automate deployments
- Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment - a strategy in which you develop, test and release new versions of the software continuously. This will be the most important part of your SaaS processes while scaling.
Your minimum viable cloud infrastructure should be both stable and secure. Functions like automatic restart, restoring from failure is what makes your cloud infrastructure stable. On the other hand, data security is another important aspect as any security breach will result in not only loss of the data, but also of customer trust.
Scaling your development team: when and how to start
When your SaaS project is growing, at some point, you will have to think about expanding your team of trusted developers. It is extra important to find the right people who can handle team management and take over product development. The better people you choose now, the better the future work will look as they will be the ones handling customer experience and overall product satisfaction.
Here are some points to consider when hiring the engineering team:
- In DevOps/TechOps you will probably need 3-4 people to ensure 24x7 support and coverage. If you count DBAs in here, increase the number to 6-7 people.
- In engineering, you can go as far as 20 people including 2 designers. Some of them will do the mundane work while a few of them will focus on the back-end, refactoring and doing amazing things to your project.
- You also need somebody for Quality Assurance. You will be more than fine with 8 engineers and a manager.
The overall lifecycle of a SaaS model project can be divided into 4 parts: pre-startup - where you prepare yourself to enter the market, researching problems and solutions, startup - with product development, growth - this is the phase where you start scaling and handling many complicated processes and finally, maturity - where your position on the market is stable, your client reach is constantly expanding and there is nothing holding you back.
As it can be challenging to find proper and developers on the local market some companies decide to use seasoned remote teams. They become a vital part of their development or help gain time for finding local talent.