The concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has been favored since the advent of web technology. With the realization that the end product can never be complete, the concept of MVP shaped its life as it believes in deploying product with minimum requirements and improving it along the life cycle of the product. This approach has added advantages. For example, once the product is with the end users/ customers, they will get an idea of what they really want, and developers can refine the system accordingly. This process also guarantees immediate end product deployment in market.
In this article, I would like to focus on how to build a dedicated development team and principles that one must stick to, for MVP product development:
A project kicks off with an idea or hypothesis that ‘your proposed product’ will be a huge hit for ‘your targeted customers’. Present this hypothesis to your targeted customers, see if they will love this product and wants to use it. Ask your customers to prioritize the features that they think are most important.
I would suggest that it is best to test the idea on a small scale, as did the founder of ‘zypoos’, the leading online footwear shopping website, and who tested his idea by buying a few shoes and posting photographs online. He got a prompt response from users which encouraged him to go ahead with his idea. So early studying of market and what customers want will help you to test hypothesis quickly, rather than waiting for the first release of your proposed project.
Analyze these assumptions, break down to tasks and prioritize the goals according to present market demand. List down the features that need to be addressed first like the main features of your product.
Hire a small team that will work hand in hand for implementing these features. A small team allows minimum investment and greater control over the product development. Minimum viable product does not mean that we make a product that is bound to break, but product that is truly viable and slightly above initial expectation; presumably covering most of the main features (initial customer demand).
Deploy the early version to targeted customers. Let the customer judge and guide the product; customers may suggest more features, alter features or advise to remove a few. The team should not have solid vision of the final product since this may blind them from seeing what the customers really want.
Go through your hypothesis again if it does not garner much attention; implant customer suggestions to your assumptions. Prioritize and rework on the set of assumptions.
Having a small dedicated development team for the project ensure greater flexibility, especially if you feel the need to change it. If the new features suggested by customers require another set of specialized professionals, tweak your development team; alter the product development. For example, a few areas may have to be given more focus since; target audience seems to have a higher demand for those. Monitor the customer satisfaction and market, and alter the development resources, similar to ‘kanban’ streamline production philosophy.
Analyze the response and the how far you could get to the targeted customers. Through this exercise you will get an idea as to whether your product can be extended to other customers also.
Iterate through this cycle to produce a perfect product and team.
The continuous process of analyzing and improving your product will gradually build a product which will target a much wider market and more customer segments. Also, by following this methodology you will shorten the product life cycle and reduce considerable market risk.
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