"A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product's initial users." - Technopedia
Here at Upstack, we have a long history of start-up work, where we've seen things that work great for MVP's and things that don't and we've like to give you a bit of our overall insight.
1. MVP = fully functional product
The biggest issue we found is people that treat their MVP too lightly, building one that doesn't work so well, with basic functionality or a basic concept without any cool features or elegance included. Nowadays tech users put a clear accent on details and they are really unforgiving and also demanding at what they receive.
Our recommendation is to not cut corners and:
- build something that might have some fewer functionalities but has an overall functional aspect,
- build it well: fully complete, on an URL, fast, designed well,
- always make your MVP user-friendly.
2. Cut it right down
The products that you build in your start-up should be market fit. That means that you'll have to correlate your product built for specific needs with the type of users you're actually engaging. But how do you actually do that? We've found that some simple tools out there could really help you out. Testing is one of the easiest methods, so don't be afraid to use it.
- Place an add on one of the channels you're using to sell products/services. Even go ahead and get a 1-800 number to have potential clients call and ask details about the product/service you're building, so you'd know better what fits their needs.
- Make an online poll/survey and list it on your social media pages. Get some engagement and figure out if your correlation of people vs. product is correct or not.
- Build a basic landing page and share it or promote it just to figure out interaction.
Get some interest in your product or service right from the beginning. You don't really have to wait half a year, or maybe even a full year to get the right funding, to get the right developers in building the correct product. Everything in this world can be improved, so by the time you launch an official product you've already fixed many of the issues regarding how market fit you are.
3. Code it right
Having a core basis for your code is the most important thing. As much as possible, the code you build for your MVP, should be the code that you use and grow and build on. Have in mind some simple things that are cost and time effective:
- Don't work in a different framework than what you'll gonna use for the final product.
- Don't use rudimentary coding techniques that you're going to eventually replace with modern ones.
- Build back-end as a service solution that could easily be transformed into a custom solution.
- Front-end is the most important part, so don't cut corners on design or on a modern tech solution. Make it scalable and thus, reusable.
It's really important for start-ups to realise that an MVP is the 1st release of a product. It's not something that you want to throw away or modify constantly. So, before launch, be ruthless with the features you want to include, get feedback on them and grow from that point on.