• March 31, 2022

All the companies that you love and use every day, like Spotify, Facebook or Airbnb, started with a simple MVP. A product built only with the essential features that helped the founders understand their users & their problems, develop the next necessary releases and create a product that sells and is easy to use. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about a few key aspects that we think you should consider if you want to build an MVP that will help your startup go forward faster and safer.

Understand the problem – Problem Interview

Hold some customer interviews before you start working on the MVP. Try to learn as much as possible about your user’s problems and needs. Is there a real need for a product in the first place? Ask your potential customers as many questions as you can, in order to figure out the ins and outs of the problem. You’ll be surprised by how many insights you will discover.

Problem Interview

TIPS & TRICKS: Make a list of 10 to 20 potential customers and contact them. Document all the information and insights in a spreadsheet and after you have gathered all of it, prioritize the problems according to the degree of the impact that they have on your customers’ businesses.

Follow up with a solution interview 

After you have learned more about your customers and their problems, and decide that a new solution is needed, create a prototype that will emphasize your solution. Your prototype shouldn’t take more than a few days to make, its scope is to discover your users’ reactions to that future product. 

Present your prototype to your test users and see what they think about your product. Are they willing to pay for your solution? What would they improve? What do they find useful? What do they think the most important feature of this product is? What is the feature that has the most impact on their business? 

Questions like that help startups succeed. Creating the product together with your customers (or early adopters) is an essential part of the development process.

Features you like vs. Features that solve customers’ problems

Make a list of every feature that you think will benefit both the user and your business. For the first release (launching your MVP) eliminate all the “Nice to haves” features or secondary features. This way you will remain only with the essential features that solve only the MAIN problem.

As a rule of thumb, your team should keep in mind that: Features are built only based on data and insights, not on what is cool or what you think the product needs. There’s a difference between what you think your users need and what their actual needs are. Remember: there is always a lot to be developed, so build only what is important and what creates impact.

At mReady, before we start writing the first lines of code, we conduct a first 4-hour workshop with the founders of the startup, where we talk about their business model and their product strategy for the next 6 to 12 months. After the first workshop, we take one-to-two weeks’ worth of time to define the whole vision of the product, research the market, create user personas & user journeys and analyze the business model.
We also list every feature that comes to mind and then cut everything down till we get to the MVP. It’s worth mentioning that the product strategy contains approaches to user acquisition, activation, conversion, retention and re-conversion.

We also list every feature that comes to mind and then cut everything down till we get to the MVP. It’s worth mentioning that the product strategy contains approaches to user acquisition, activation, conversion, retention and re-conversion.

TIPS & TRICKS: Use story maps to define the whole product vision and then for all the features that have to be developed in the first release. This is also a great tool that creates alignment for the team and a simple way to streamline your work throughout your product builds. 

Speed beats Perfection

 A “Failing is good” type of mindset is necessary -even essential- to have in the first year of the startup. If you make mistakes earlier, few users will notice them. On the other hand, if you come to have (maybe after 3 years) more than, let’s say 10.000 users/day, the impact of a serious bug will be much more damaging because a lot more people will encounter the problem.

Build and launch the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as quickly as possible, based on what you’ve learned. Time is really important for a startup, so don’t waste it making the perfect product. Instead, release the product only with the essential features and then add new features to it.

The main goal of the MVP is to get feedback and improve your product as much as possible, as quickly as possible, not necessarily to make a profit. In the first 6 to 12 months your startup should adopt a “testing mood”.

Analytics and feedback is crucial

In order to improve your product, analytics are a must for understanding users’ behavior, identifying their needs and getting feedback. Before you launch your MVP to the market, be sure to have trackers (Events) on every screen and button.

After you launch the first version of the MVP, try to validate the other hypothesis, discover the new challenges your users are facing while using your solution and find ways to fix them ASAP. Also, based on your data, you should ask yourself what features from the backlog (the features that you thought about, but didn’t implement yet) can now benefit your users.

TIPS & TRICKS: Implement tools like Google Analytics for Firebase or Flurry and add events inside every page or action of your mobile app.

Don’t automate anything YET

For every business, automation is a major factor for productivity, but for a newly released product, automation will slow down or even stop the learning process of the startup. Instead of using any RPA software or investing in custom automation systems, do everything manually, in order to fully understand every step of the process. By understanding the entire process you both clarify how the automation should work and you minimize the risks of developing an unverified feature.

Bonus Tip: Development Sprints

One way to get feedback fast from your users is to work in Sprints. Every Development Sprint is meant to help you learn more about the user’s behavior and figure out what the next features to be developed are.

A sprint should take anywhere between one to four weeks of development. After every sprint, you can review your product and test it on your users. This way you can gather feedback fast and learn what are the next features that have to be built.

Introduce the “Kaizen” in every sprint. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means improvement. You should find ways to improve something every sprint, it can be a faster way of how your team is getting feedback from customers, how to communicate more effectively or how the UX of the app can be improved.

The downside of this methodology is that it usually takes a little bit more effort to be done right and sometimes it can become overwhelming. Every stakeholder (Sales & Business Development, Design, Development, etc.) have to participate in order to give feedback, a daily meeting has to take place and sometimes not everyone can attend to every event or discussion.

TIPS & TRICKS: A great way to understand customer behavior is to do a lot of A/B Testing. For example, having a different order of buttons in your app’s bottom navigation or making a certain icon stand out more, can have a significant impact on your users.

Let’s get in touch

If you’re still not sure how to conduct your MVP for getting the most out of it, or simply, need some help to develop your mobile app, feel free to contact us at team@mready.net. We’re always happy to help world-changing companies launch their next mobileReady product.