Day 1 building a SaaS

Here is my list of things to do ASAP when building a SaaS product (like DevOptics). What is yours?

Deployment Environments

Get a DEV (inside the firewall), STAGE (outside the firewall) and PROD (outside) set up.

Continuous Deployment

Arrange for your software flow so it will go from Repo commit to PROD automatically.

  • Implement zero-down time deployments from day 1, using blue-green, or k8s cut-overs

Feature Flags

Add Feature Flags (like Rollout) on Day One.  Stay in the trunk. Don’t keep code out of PROD.

Front-End Infrastructure

Set your front-end infrastructure for speed and decouple from back-end

  • We like GraphQL; others work
  • Arrange for Mock APIs
  • Set lightweight Front/Back separation
  • We like Cypress 

Instrument your System for Ops

Instrument on Day One using something like DataDog APM.  Reuse existing SaaS Services, don’t build your own.

Operate in Self-Contained Teams

A team should be able to build the back-end and the front-end.  Minimize interactions between teams. Get things to PROD.  PM and UX must be part of your team.

Keep Value Flowing

Don’t hog Value / Code in Open PRs.  Push functionality out, even with a Feature Flag.  Get Feedback. 

Iterate on Processes

That’s the core of “Agile”; operate with Agility and iterate

Add Connection with Customer

Use a SaaS service from Day One. There are multiple options out there.

Track Usage

Instrument your SaaS so you can track usage, front-end and back-end. Use something like Segment, Looker, Interana.

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