I want to create a social networking site. I like structure. How can I come up with basic action steps from a-z that I can then break down into small bite size pieces?
To start with, create a "No-To-List" of non-action items. It will help you keep your focus intact on the actual and planned goals. It will also help the team's focus to move in unison.
Talking about "To-Do" list of laundry items, start with assessing your internal capability, external requirement, and map the two to find the loosened nuts and bolts.
Once you finish up with above exercise, create a list of action plan items that could help you move from possessing idea to establishing business. However, do ensure to plan your business model in the beginning to prevent from doing recurring redundant task.
Let me know if you've tried creating any such checklist. You can DM me the same or we can hop on a quick call to discuss the fine prints.
Having just launched a software product myself I realize that the work we did before starting the project was the most important work we did. Before you begin developing a software product you need to answer a few questions first:
1. What is the demand for your product?
2. Who are your competitors?
3. Who currently owns your audience?
4. What is your MVP Minimum Viable Product?
5. What is your MMP Minimum Marketable Product?
6. How will you monetize your platform?
7. Who are the influencers in your product audience?
I think there's a lot that goes into this besides creating a roadmap. I think your first focus needs to be to answer the above questions and then decide how you want to move forward. Then you can move into a roadmap, finding the skillset you need to develop your product, creating a marketing strategy for your product, creating effective demand and scarcity for your product launch, etc...
Hit me up if you need additional help. I'd be happy to chat with you about this.
A structured action plan for a social networking site could be:
A: Research The Idea and the Business Model
A1 - Create Mockups of your idea (e.g. using Balsamiq Mockup or other tools)
A2 - Use the Mockups and develop a questionnaire about your idea. Create a landing page.
A3 - Conduct 200 offline and online interviews to potential users, to get feedback on your idea. Show the mockups to offline users and send online users to the landing page. Use Mturk.com, AYTM, Pollfish and other services for cheap feedback on your idea.
B: Set-up A Team for the MVP
B1: Get a technical co-founder or two. You will need at least a couple of developers for your MVP (back-end/front-end and designer). If you cannot get a technical team together and you want to pay for your MVP, then get someone to write the technical specs for your project. Use these specs to recruit freelancers from elance/peopleperhour/odesk etc.
C: Build the MVP
C1: Do the project management for the MVP.
C2: Continue testing the marketing channels and driving early adopters in your landing page, so that you create an email list with your first X thousands of users.
D: Get Your First Users
D1: Use social media, paid ads, PR releases etc to drive traffic to your site.
E: Prepare for Next Steps
E1: Test the business model. Test conversions from visitors to members. Test analytics such as engagement time, times of visit per day etc.
E2: If you have found a way to grow every week you will probably need to raise some money. You have to prepare for pitching to investors and raising your first round.
Let me know if you need more help and good luck with your project!