The domestic market size of matching services is expected to grow by 23% year-on-year in 2021 and 200% in 2026, five years later (Source: Cyber Agent Matching Service Market Size Forecast 2021 ). In addition, the size of the sharing economy market, including matching services, is projected to grow rapidly to 2.1 trillion yen in 2020 and 14 trillion yen in 2030 (Source: Sharing Economy Association Market Research 2020 ).
Many of the highlights are in the articles published by Mercari, which leads the Pairs and CtoC markets in matching services, and IGNIS, which operates With in Japan, but each successful company has no exception, “Apps and services to the early market.” You can continue until you achieve a product fit with “releases” and constant “UI / UX improvements”.
The development required to achieve product fit
Product fit is expressed in Japanese as product/market fitness (also called product-market fitness) and indicates the degree to which a product meets strong market demand. Product Fit is recognized as the first step for service and app providers to meet early adopters, collect feedback, assess product interest and build successful ventures. increase.
In order to realize each from the development point of view, it is necessary to quickly develop and release with many development resources, and improve the UI / UX (that is, develop and release the update function in a short period of time) to receive feedback from customers in the PDCA cycle etc. It becomes. For a rapidly growing market such as building an MVP model, it is essential to improve functions faster than the market grows. For a development system based on such market conditions, it is necessary to select a development partner that meets the following conditions.
Select a partner who has a track record of developing matching services
Regarding the selection of development partners, it seems obvious, but it is necessary to select a partner who has a track record of developing matching services, which are also successful in the market.
There are many types of matching services, such as BtoC, CtoC, CtoB, and BtoB, although the number is small, and each has many common functions, and some services have unique and required functions. Also, one of the important elements of the matching service is that interested users need to register and become active users. The success rate of user registration varies greatly depending on the screen design. In addition, various incentives and measures are required to have them operate as active users. These are the know-how possessed by companies with successful experiences, and cannot be covered by general development specifications.
In addition, the development know-how accumulated by the development company along with the development results and efficient development using the existing software modules that have been white-labelled for development is particularly important confirmation points.
As I mentioned earlier, many matching services have many common features, and if you already have a software module that you can use, you don’t have to develop it from scratch.
For example, the standard functions required when assuming a CtoC romance matching app consist of the minimum user profile, photo and video upload function, notification function, etc. that are the minimum functions for building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and each is pure. It takes 50 days just to accumulate the development period, and at least 4 to 6 months including the process QA until planning and kick-off.
If you develop a similar function using an existing developed function module, you can develop and release it in about 20 days. Of course, planning and kick-off processes are required in addition to this, but the development process can be greatly optimized, saving time and cost.
MVP needs to be introduced early to PoC (Proof of Concept) to test the assumed concept as soon as possible. In addition, even if we move to this development, it will be necessary to improve the UI and the overall UX to reflect frequent customer feedback after the release.
You may think that it will take such a short time to use existing functions, but the reality is that it is commonplace in the CRM platform, which is also called no-code development. A few years ago, it was necessary to develop an EC site from zero bases, but like Shopify, it is a highly functional EC site that does not require development using many standard functions and third-party plug-ins and only requires module selection. It can be built. As for the matching service, there is no similar CRM service yet, so choosing a development partner who can provide the next developed module is the best answer at the moment.
Example of function development time common to matching services
|function||Average development days|
|User Profile Administrator||40 hours|
|Subscriptions, advertising and payments||40 hours|
|Review, comment function, notification / email function||40 hours|
|Common hobby matching||40 hours|
|Profile function||40 hours|
|Video/voice phone||40 hours|
|Chat function, DM function||40 hours|
|Search function with filter||80 hours|
|Matching algorithm||40 to 160 hours|
|Media upload function||40 hours|
|Article post||40 hours|
Is it a development culture that can raise issues?
I’m afraid that I’m worried about ordering development, but although I’m an external development company and I don’t usually meet, it is necessary to share goals as well as issues as in-house development. In addition, instead of a development system that gives instructions on solutions to the problem and leaves only coding, it actively finds the problem and proposes a solution and the business scheme and application category on the ordering side. It is necessary to have a development culture that understands the culture and trends of the world and can propose the architecture level, the framework to be adopted, and the optimum elemental technology. Of course, it is done in-house. There are many developers who can code, but as a development team, you need to choose a development partner who has a sense of ownership and a process to understand the purpose of the project. This is indispensable for improving and continuing the development of UI / UX in the process of aiming for product fit.
Communication system with the development team
Management of the development team takes time because both managers and members need a learning curve. Even if you have your own development team that you meet every day, it is not easy, so how about team management on the remote development company side?
This is an issue that also leads to optimization of the development system, but it can be considered that the chain of command is different from sharing the awareness of the problem and goals like the members in the company.
There is no royal solution, but one established method is a window system. The ordering company is the PM, and the offshore development company is the development team manager (some companies call it PM, lead engineer, bridge, etc., but basically the engineer team manager), and the PM understands the entire project. If the development team manager who knows all the details of development shares information, the information will be shared and implemented properly within each organization. Of course, it does not stop communication between team members, and it is a support system that allows you to concentrate on project promotion and business without putting a load of team management on PM while ensuring transparency.
The bridge SE that enters between the client and the development company puts a “one cushion” because the bridge is only between the bridge, that is, the development team and the ordering side. For example, it is not efficient because the request from the ordering side is communicated to the manager of the development team and then the action is taken. Also, as a chain of command, the development team members and the bridge are in the same line, and instructions cannot be given. In the window system, information is shared directly, and the manager of the development team directly instructs the team members to take action, so it is a clearer chain of command and there is no one cushion.
About fixing and leaving development team members
The most often overlooked development member change is the most frequently overlooked feedback from many customers. It is often the case that senior coordinator members change.
The software development business is fiercely competitive, and when making proposals to customers, there are many companies that seem to have the best members and make proposals, and at the time of kick-off, we hope to have a perfect system, but senior members are being replaced before we know it. It is not uncommon for members who were managed by members to change. Competent engineers are in high demand and are always in a “competitive” state within the industry. It would be nice if we could have many talented engineers, but the reality is that we don’t. Replacing members requires the acquisition of a learning curve again, which reduces productivity and the cost is a hidden burden on the ordering side.
There is no choice but to change members due to retirement, but since contract development of software is also an industry with a high retirement rate, it is necessary to confirm the retirement rate and career path when selecting a partner.
Depending on the development content and the scale of the project, there are both advantages and disadvantages, and of course, there are parts depending on the development requirements and the method of proceeding with development, but it is wise to avoid deciding on a development partner based solely on the unit price of the engineer. Why not consider developing with Web Factory MK, which has a wealth of experience in developing matching services, has successful experiences, has many excellent engineers, and has a corporate culture that proposes proactive problem-solving. See also the service overview of Web Factory MK.
About the author
After graduating from NDSU University in the United States, he was in charge of Windows products for embedded devices as a product manager at Microsoft Japan. After experiencing product launch at the Windows Product Headquarters, engaged in direct sales of major PC manufacturers and new business development of tablets and mobile devices at Intel Corporation. Joined Apple Inc in 2012 and led iPhone marketing as an iOS product manager. After working as an AI startup, he has been supporting the sales management and development of Web Factory MK since 2020.