The market for NFT marketplace development more than doubled from $142 million in 2019 to $338 million last year. Needless to say, many lucrative opportunities abound in this sector for businesses with the vision to grab them.
Not surprisingly, success with an NFT development project requires a careful, managed approach similar to any modern software development initiative. Simply throwing something on OpenSea in a haphazard fashion likely leads to failure. Ultimately, it’s best to partner with an organization experienced in this emerging space as opposed to developing it all by yourself.
What follows is an analysis of a typical project to develop an NFT and its subsequent marketplace. Leverage the insights within to gain a better understanding of the project lifecycle, including estimates of the timelines and the overall effort involved. We also provide a high-level overview of each phase in a typical project.
Obviously, you want your organization’s first NFT launch to be a massive success. A project roadmap ensures you understand everything that’s involved; helping your planning process while making sure your company devotes the resources it needs to meet your desired goals. Now, let’s get started!
__A High-Level Overview of an NFT Marketplace Development Project__
A broad overview of a typical NFT development project provides a feel for the overall timeline of the effort. After this high-level analysis, we then break down each phase in more detail. Again, if you are familiar with project timelines used in software development or other digital ventures, expect these concepts to feel somewhat familiar.
A period spent scoping the project happens before actual development begins. Our team works closely with your company’s business stakeholders and other relevant personnel to understand the core goals for your NFT. The right marketplace for the NFT also needs to be determined. Do you build one as part of the project or use a third-party option? Do you want to offer custodial or non-custodial wallets? What does on & off ramping look like?
After completing this part of the process, we then design the overall architecture for the NFT marketplace and any associated development work that’s part of its release. At this point, we also build a roadmap for the project; providing details for the timeline. Expect this initial project phase to take around two weeks.
The design and development phase begins soon after the scope and project roadmap are defined.The development timeline varies based on the complexity and uniqueness of your marketplace however we usually see development phases run anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks. Our development phase is broken into two-week cycles or sprints, following an iterative software development approach. Each completed cycle is a milestone which allows for client review and any subsequent changes.
Once development and testing completes and the client approves, the deployment phase begins. The NFT gets deployed to its chosen marketplace in addition to any other elements of the project. This migration typically occurs from development or QA into a production environment. The entire effort takes around one to two weeks. The marketing plan for the NFT release, including posting on relevant websites and social media networks, then commences.
__The Scoping and Roadmapping Phase__
As noted earlier, the initial scoping and roadmapping phase identifies the goals for the NFT project and its initial timeline. As part of the process, determining the target niche for the token becomes critical. This also includes identifying the ideal purchaser of the NFT. Both pieces of information ultimately inform the process of determining the right NFT marketplace (internal or third-party) as well as developing the marketing plan for the entire effort.
Related to the project itself, identifying all the user roles ensures everyone on the team understands their responsibilities. Since strong communication plays an essential role in the success of any digital project using an iterative methodology, the project manager usually facilitates communication. This becomes especially important when milestones are reached during the project’s development phase. Finally, don’t forget to determine if there needs to be any post-deployment support after the launch.
__The Design and Development Phase__
The length of the design and development phase ultimately depends on the amount of programming and design work beyond the NFT itself. As it typically takes anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks, more software engineering tasks lead to a longer timeline. Again, expect this phase to be broken out into two-week cycles suitable for an iterative software development process.
Transparent communication plays a critical role in the subsequent effectiveness of the development phase. As highlighted above, the project manager serves as the conduit; ensuring stakeholders are satisfied with the work completed to date. They also communicate any requested changes back to the technical team. Any alterations to the project scope and/or design concepts must be agreed to by all parties. Obviously, the project timeline might be extended depending on the nature of any changes.
Don’t skimp on testing throughout this phase. It’s important to let stakeholders and target users access the NFT and other aspects of the project to find any bugs or design issues. Never rush this process. Remember, your company’s credibility depends on a seamless release with few, if any, problems.
__The Deployment Phase__
Deploying the NFT occurs when it’s migrated from the development or QA environment into production. Again, migrating only the NFT to a third-party marketplace is another option depending on the project’s scope. Of course, deployment only happens after approval from the client. Using an iterative software methodology tends to limit any surprises between clients and the project team, so at this stage approval is usually a formality.
When first scoping the project, the team decided whether to include post-deployment support in the scope. If so, the project team remains engaged to fix bugs or any other issues, with a PM handling communication throughout the support period. Again, quickly fixing issues helps maintain your company’s reputation after the launch.
In the end, the project roadmap for an NFT marketplace generally parallels that of any software development initiative. If your organization wants to take advantage of the growing market for NFTs, connect with our team at Gigster. We boast the technical, business, and managerial experience to ensure a successful launch. Reach out to us at your earliest convenience.