At Making Sense we have plenty of experience developing Minimum Viable Products and working closely with lots of founders who want to release their products quickly with many features as possible.
Below you will find some of the common misconceptions about MVPs. Our goal is to guide you along what we consider the right path of app development. In our experience, the advice outlined below represents the best approach for the types of software development products we deal with each and every day.
Mistake #1: Creating the Ideal Product
Creating an MVP means creating the best minimum version of the product with the features needed to go to market and test them. So with that in mind, you should be providing your customer with the general understanding of what your product will look like. Be sure to include the right features and explore whether the features are accepted in the market or not. You do not need to add too many features at this point, to lure your customer.
If we could explain this graphically, it would be something like this:
Remember, the MVP is all about implementing the right and minimum features of the product. It is not the finished product. The idea is to identify with minimum effort whether the product fits the market and to work pursuing only that goal for the time being. Create prototypes, which will serve three purposes:
- allow you to bring your project idea to life
- reduce risk
- remove doubts about your product
In brief, we suggest you create the minimum features that enable you to gather maximum information about what your customers want.
Mistake #2: Choosing an Inappropriate Method
In software development, we can choose between Waterfall and Agile development methods. But we have to be cognizant of which method is going to be more valuable and favorable for developing this — or any — software product.
A quick review of the options:
- Waterfall. Waterfall is a method in which the final product is delivered at the end of the development process.
- Agile. On the other hand, with agile, we can leverage the opinions and feedback of our client as well as potential users as we go, adjusting items as necessary to create the best product possible.
With that said, we can identify the clear benefits of using Agile on our projects. Among them are:
- predictable schedule
- continuous integration and delivery
- increased collaboration between team members
In conclusion, aim for choosing a method that facilitates making real time changes without losing time and money.
Mistake #3: Underestimating What Team You Need
There is a common line of thinking for the creation of an MVP, you do not need to have a full software development team in place — that you only need to hire a Developer and a Designer. The thing is: developing an MVP is just like developing any other kind of software product. If you want to succeed, you would need the combination of the best experts: UX/UI designers, developers, Q&A testers, and project managers.
You will also need an experienced team in order to gain the best product insights as possible.
What Else do You Need to Know?
Before we go, there are a few more ideas to consider. When you build an MVP, you’re not just creating a product. You’re going further, doing more than just that. You’re actually hoping to create a solution for users, solving a problem they might have.
That’s why it’s so important to first understand and then fulfill their needs precisely. And keep your promises. If you’ve set up an expectation that some feature or service will be included in your product, then you darn well better be prepared to deliver!
This is why we suggest to go through a Discovery phase before an MVP, because is in this stage were we can help our clients to clearly understand their objectives, and to make a deep analysis of the situation. And this is used as a kick off for the creation of an MVP.
You’d be surprised at how many people fail to understand the idea that an MVP does not equate a full-fledged product. In fact, an MVP could be nothing more than just a small manual activity or merely a prototype. Its role is large, though: to bring you one step further in your feedback loop.
Finally, one last word of advice. Make sure that the MVP you’re building has a clear solution to a problem you fully understand. We call this the ‘problem-solution fit’. While this is easier said than done, the benefits are immense. Do this part right and most problems won’t even surface in all your future iterations. That’s an outcome we can all live with!