From Low Hanging Fruits to High Return on Investment
Working in a resource constrained environment forces us to think out-of-the-box and being creative about how we can "achieve more with less". It was always the case for me in all the industries I've worked in - Cyber, Consumer Electronics and Internet-SaaS.
You are trying to get high returns on your investments (ROI) and while that is actually Net Profit / Total Investment, it can be achieved by increasing the profits or reducing the investments. Turning this to a tasty example - it is all about how to get more apples on your tree, effective nurturing methods to increase their value (taste?) or ways to invest less in your soil or watering system.
Trying to reduce that investment, that cost, always brings to mind efforts like increasing efficiency, improving overall quality or even choosing the right toolkit during design phase, however, in some cases it is simply about moving some branches and picking few hidden apples already there on your tree...
Here are few of the Low Hanging Fruits I have in mind:
Leverage Existing Development - Sometimes a lot of code and a lot of valuable features is written out of your control and your management. For example, custom work for customers done by deployment/integration groups, technical partners building things for their portfolio, tech-sales doing all sorts of demo-modules or ad-hoc solutions, community development if you are in an open source environment and so on. All this code running around (or laying still...) can be a great resource to leverage with potentially low amount of effort. However, sometimes productizing it or even just code-reviewing and testing it will turn it to a big effort and there for, misses the point of being a low hanging fruit.
Re-Package - The Product is actually more than a collection of features or code, it is a perception in customers' minds, created by synergy of features, marketing, business terms and a story. You don't need to change the features in order to change the product, you can choose to change the other elements of the package as well. Take a different marketing strategy or launch a new campaign, call it a different name, tell a different story or change the pricing method. Try one or more in order to move ahead faster with what you have or to expand to new use-cases or markets.
Incremental Changes - Have the "big picture" in mind but get there with small chunks. Don't give up the destination just because you can't get there in a single ride. Invest in what you can afford today, even though it is small and even minor, only to enjoy it down the road once all the small pieces build the puzzle.
Freshen Up - The exterior is extremely important when it comes to end-users. The UI, colors, fonts, layout, structure, and others is nothing less than the 'inside' of the application and its capabilities. Sometimes a relatively low effort touch-up can revive your product or even completely change it and get you to a whole new place, and potentially high returns.
...and sometimes it isn't! Yes, sometimes there is no "magic trick" and you need to walk the long way in order to get to where you headed. Perhaps it is even usually the case... However, never stop looking for these hidden fruits in your tree, and for the low-hanging ones, just make sure you reach out your hand and pick them...