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Planning & Design To Not Crash & Burn

Foundational planning steps to bridge vision and technical execution
7 min read
Written by
Andre Costa
Published on
January 17, 2024

Launching a Web3 startup requires more than just a brilliant idea; it demands a meticulously thought-out plan and a well-defined structure. 

Why? There is an information & understanding gap between founders and technologists, so what the founder visions initially and is communicated verbally tends to be much different from what a technical mind interprets and develops.

This can only be resolved by first laying down the foundation before starting development. Don’t believe me? Look at the numbers:

-52% of our clients come to us with either a half-finished project or a failed/buggy/hacked project.(They did not have a planning phase for the project)

-0.16% of our clients have left with a half-finished or failed project after working with us. (Went through our Foundation Framework)

Big difference.

This guide will explore & detail the critical steps to effectively plan, scope, structure, and design your Web3 project, ensuring you have a solid foundation before even writing a single line of code.

And if you want to see an example of a fully finished Foundation Framework, click here.

What, Why, Who 

Clarifying the purpose, vision, and goals of your project (Link to TRD)

  • What: What problem are you solving, and what impact do you hope to make in the Web3 space?
  • Why: Set clear, measurable objectives for your project. What are the specific outcomes you want to achieve?
  • Who: Identify your target audience and their needs. Understand their pain points and how your project can address them.

Project Scope, Feature Set, Requirements

Defining the scope of your project and its core features (MVP), along with the requirements to build those features (Link to TRD)

  • Feature Prioritization: List all the features and functionalities you envision for your project. Prioritize them based on the importance and feasibility of the initial release.
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Split the list of features into 2 groups: non-negotiables & nice-to-haves, by answering one simple question. What is the minimum set of features that will deliver value to users?
  • Scope Creep Prevention: Establish mechanisms to control scope creep. Clearly define what's in and out of scope for the initial release to avoid feature bloat.
  • Non-functional Requirements: Define the prerequisites that the project will need to follow for scalability, security, and performance. Ex: The system should handle up to 100,000 concurrent users.

Blockchain Decisions 

Figuring out where your project fits in the huge world of Web3

  • Network: Choosing the right blockchain network is a pivotal decision. There are an infinite amount of factors to consider, the most important ones being: scalability, security, easiness of use, gas prices, development community, and existing tooling to determine which network aligns best with your project's goals. There is also one more crucial factor if your project needs funding, Grant programs. Many chains offer cash to innovative projects that are looking for a network to build on, explore these options to form a close partnership.
  • Token Standard Selection: Tokens are at the heart of many Web3 projects. Understand token standards like ERC-20, ERC-721, ERC-1155, and so many others, to decide which standard suits your project's tokenization needs, if any!
  • Wallet Integration: The blockchain network selected will heavily influence the wallets that will be prioritized. But, ensure compatibility with a wide range of wallets - if EVM-based include Metamask, Wallet Connect, Rainbow Wallet, Ledger, OKX wallet, and more.

Architectural Design

Designing the technical architecture of your Web3 project, and outlining all of the moving components and their interactions. (Link to TRD)

  • Tech Stack Selection: Choose the appropriate technology stack for your project, prioritizing the easiness of integration, detailed documentation, and pool of talent. For most Web3 projects a JS native framework is preferred, ReactJS (or variations) on the front end & NodeJS + ExpressJS/NestJS on the back end with Solidity/Rust for the smart contracts. 
  • Smart Contract Architecture: Define the architecture of your smart contracts, including data structures, functions, and interactions with external contracts, data to be stored, etc.
  • Database Design: Plan the data storage and database structure for off-chain data, considering scalability and security. A full schema should be created, as iIt serves as the structural blueprint that outlines how data is organized and how relationships between data are handled within a database. It defines the tables, the fields in each table, and the relationships between fields an tables. It provides a visual representation of data structure and enforces logical constraints to maintain data accuracy. (Link to Database Schema)

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Design

Crafting a seamless and user-friendly experience (Link to TRD)

  • User Flow Diagrams: Create user flow diagrams to visualize how users will navigate through your Dapp. Map out the whole process from A-Z taking into account all possible edge cases. Ensure a logical and intuitive journey.
  • Wireframes and Prototypes: Develop wireframes and interactive prototypes to design the general outline for the user interface. Pay attention to usability and accessibility. Use other companies in the space as a reference, take those that have a large user base, we high interaction.
  • User Experience (UX) Priority: Prioritize user experience (UX) principles. You have to make your Dapp intuitive and user-friendly to stand out. The largest pain point in Blockchain is friction and the inaccessibility to the majority of people in society. Prioritize seamlessness.

Third-Party API Integrations

Enhancing Your Web3 Project with External Services (Link to TP API Integrations)

  • Unlocking External Services: APIs offer a gateway to a wealth of functionalities expertly developed by specialized providers. Investigate which external services can enrich your Web3 project's feature set and create a list.
  • Focus on Core Features: You don’t want to reinvent the wheel or build from scratch. Harnessing pre-built functionalities through APIs allows your development team to prioritize core project features. 
  • Adapting to Growth: Always keep in mind your project’s growth in the long term. While third parties can help you easily scale, with lower prices and a dedicated support team, they could also hurt the overall value of your project as you are dependent on a third party.

Project Timeline and Milestones

Creating a project timeline and setting achievable milestones

  • Timeline Planning: Develop a detailed project timeline that outlines key development phases. Take into account possible roadblocks, hiccups, or any unexpected circumstances. And never forget that there must be a dedicated testing block per each phase and a pre-launch revision before deployment.
  • Milestone Definition: Define clear milestones that mark significant progress points. Each milestone should have specific deliverables and objectives.

Budget and Resource Allocation

Estimating project costs and allocating resources

  • Budgeting: Estimate the financial requirements for your project, including development, marketing, and operational costs.
  • Resource Allocation: Determine the human resources needed, including developers, designers, and any specialized roles. Consider whether to hire in-house or outsource.

The success of your Web3 startup hinges on your ability to meticulously plan, scope, structure, and design your project before embarking on development. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you'll establish a solid foundation that not only reduces risks and timelines but also increases the likelihood of your Web3 project thriving in a volatile landscape. Remember, a well-prepared project is already much better than 99% of Web3 projects, after that, it’s all about execution.

If you want to see if we are a good fit and learn how we would breakdown & tackle your project, book a free discovery call below.