August 01, 2019Nicolas Taborisky4 min read
Every app you use daily went through numerous stages of development before it reached the fully functional version you’re accustomed to. From whiteboard and prototyping to a minimum viable product (MVP) in production to its fully-featured form, each stage was crucial to getting the app through its product life cycle and out into your hands. In today’s business environment, any successful application will continue to go through many iterations well after launch.
By reacting quickly to feedback received during the MVP stage, organizations developing software products can converge on a solution that truly solves its customers’ pain points.
Before your application becomes widely adopted, there are critical steps that need to be taken to find product-market fit. One of the first steps is developing the “minimum viable” version of the product or the MVP. A popular and instructive example of an MVP launch is illustrated by the founding of Airbnb. First introduced to the world as AirBed&Breakfast, AirBnB’s founders hacked out a website to rent their San Fransisco apartment to conference attendees after realizing hotels in the area were completely sold out. The assumption was that people attending the Industrial Designers Society of America conference in 2007 would be willing to pay for a room in the founders’ home. That assumption was validated by the three guests who signed up to stay with them, giving them the confidence to continue to invest time and money into the idea.
There’s nothing worse than investing millions of dollars into the development of an idea that the market isn’t even ready for. To make matters worse, according to research from Fast Company, nearly 75% of startups fail. Effective scaling depends on utilizing the proper amount of resources to develop an MVP which confirms the market’s need for the application. Companies who scale properly leverage insights gathered during the MVP stage to inform a longterm product roadmap.
How does one go about determining how much time and how many resources go into developing the MVP? Which features are included? Which features don’t make the cut? These are all important questions that have nuanced answers.
Theoretically, MVPs allow you to spend as little resources as possible to test the market and ensure your idea is something worth allocating more time, money, and resources on in the future. The challenge is to boil down your organization’s mission and goals into a bare minimum feature-set which will solve the customer problem you’ve identified. Once the feature-set has been determined through design thinking, surveys, and other test group data, the development team’s challenge is to find the simplest way to build and test the features. The best development teams seek to understand the business objectives as well as the customers’ pain points, allowing them to build the most pragmatic solution and release an MVP quickly.
Software and app development companies like Theodo are not only masters at efficient and lean development but also emphasize goal-setting and collaborative alignment during discovery. This translates to purposeful and mission-driven features in the MVP. Often times, partnering with a development agency can lead to a bloated product on launch that isn’t aligned with lean startup methodology because that means a bigger paycheck for the agency. Theodo will push back on coding anything for an MVP that isn’t completely necessary to maximize the return on investment for its clients.
A startup’s time and resources will always be limited. Maximizing the return on resources spent should be a priority for any startup. Pair that with the extremely competitive and time-sensitive nature in getting software products to market, and the challenges become clear.
To address these complexities, Theodo has developed a methodology and toolset to reduce clients’ time-to-market” and increases the productivity of their teams. Learn more about how Theodo can impact your bottom line and time-to-market.
Theodo’s proprietary software solution, Forge, provides developers with a toolkit to set up development, staging, and production environments in the fraction of the time it would take other agencies. The toolkit also includes pre-built non-business specific features like user authentication to get building blocks in place almost immediately.
An MVP is not a prototype. It should capture its user’s attention and solve a problem other apps cannot. Even still, Theodo has a track record of delivering MVPs in just 8 weeks. This stems from alignment during discovery and a relentless pursuit of feature simplicity. Just 21 days into a typical MVP development project, Theodo gets a version of the product into the hands of real users to measure, record, and analyze interactions. This helps to refine the long-term product roadmap and improves the UX of the MVP on launch.
Are you unsure of which features to include in your MVP? Do you have concerns about scaling your development team to meet established timelines? Do you have investors who require development progress you are unprepared to make? Tell us about your project and let’s get underway as soon as possible.
Web Developer at Theodo