The most challenging point to pass in startup product development is to ensure that it will have the demand on the market. Even the most accurate market research can’t guarantee that the development result will meet customer expectations.
The reason is that it doesn’t take into account the project specifics, some of which will be defined only during the concept implementation.
During the years the entrepreneurship community came up with approaches like the lean methodology that provided entrepreneurship with the road to success with simplified obstacles: financial, development, marketing, etc. One of its suggestions is to take the following…
Step 3: Test a light product version on the market
Running surveys for startup customer development, learning on the competitors’ experience, following trends and market tendencies is great but it’s only sufficient for the outlining of a suitable solution for the existing problem. To become an actual product it requires user feedback.
The concept of Minimum Viable Product or startup MVP development comprises the implementation of the planned solution with the selected number of features that will:
- Give customers the vision of the full solution,
- Need market approval to be included,
- Don’t require excessive time and financial resources.
Clearly, MVP isn’t the first of startup development stages that marking up the path to give your project a real form. Paper and practical prototyping, proof-of-concept (POC) and similar actions allow visualizing the idea more accurate and polish particular project elements including those that will be included in the first market test run.
Important to understand that MVP launch despite its basics isn’t about rush and complete minimalism in functionality and finances. It requires its contributions that sure are smaller but should be provided properly to reach the approach goal - receive an evaluation from real customers and investors.
Whether you’ll involve a startup outsource development team for MVP implementation or not you have to define the requirements for this project at least partly in advance. To accomplish the step you’ll need the full product vision and prioritization based on the project resources and market specifics. Commonly it will require the decision in the following scopes:
Platform. Even if you plan to embrace multiple types of devices on this stage it’s better to focus on one option that allows the most fully present the solution without extra complications.
Example. For eCommerce stores with the omnichannel strategy, it’s better to start with an online marketplace development than a mobile app.
Design. Being a definitive point for product identification it’s one of the first steps to complete to enable the start of the solution development.
Example. The chosen tech partner, remote or in-house team, will require wireframes and mockups to begin. So unless they initially provided they will be created during a discovery phase.
Technology. The tech stack that will empower your lean startup development step shouldn’t necessarily match the one of the complete products. It should be sufficient for the chosen functionality implementation.
Example. If you plan to release native apps for Android and IOS you can start with one platform or choose a cross-platform framework like React Native to simplify and speed up the creation.
Marketing. MVP shouldn’t get not less attention than a full solution to achieve its goal. That’s why websites, presentations, SEO and other steps to attract customers should be taken.
Example. Even if it’s a startup development plan that has been established within an existing company it’s better to create a separate landing page for a product to give it separate focused attention.
Security. On the early-stages, the project is the most vulnerable to data leaks. Therefore the more innovative idea is the more efforts up to patenting should be taken for its safety.
Example. Some new companies prefer to run in stealth mode that allows securing the intellectual property but in some aspects, it conflicts with MVP and marketing goals.
With MVP launch you can consider going the path of private beta (right after creation) to try it out on the core users and then open it to the public for around half a year after the start. The period you should use to optimize the product after the initial feedback. By the time it goes live it should be ready within set terms and conditions to be able to further grow without reissuing.
Deploying the MVP strategy you should take into account:
Data collection principles
To fully take advantage of the approach to the startup development process it’s also crucial to define success metrics and ensure proper feedback collection to come up with a list of revisions that should be made before the full launch. That’s why the company should have established data collection, storage and access from the secure on-premise or cloud infrastructure.
The feedback gathering process requires scrupulous analysis to ensure that gathered data is valid and identify a necessary improvement and not one person’s suggestion. Such analytics can be performed without the application of advanced digital solutions, testing (f.e., A/B) or even data science approaches.
Remember you shouldn’t just focus on measuring the global result of startup app development but also give attention to each particular metric and track cause-effect connections. Although the whole process requires planning and strict adherence it should remain flexible to work in the product's favor.
Determine the period for testing of each version testing to ensure its sufficient efficiency and diversity. However, to raise the odds of the solution success its’ measurement should be constant. That’s why any product update doesn’t indicate the analysis completion but only the change of its parameters.
Step 4: Reexamine and improve
The gathered data shouldn’t just lay around the house for a better time. It’s an instruction for improvement for the result of startup tech development and its planned full version. it will become clear only after some analysis and evaluation.
Remember, even if the feedback isn’t as positive as expected, it still doesn’t guarantee the ultimate failure. It just outlines the room for perfection.
MVP stage is hard to describe as the process with a definite end. Commonly it should seamlessly flow into the next of startup development phases after the required amount of information collected and processed for decision-making and namely to answer the following question:
- Does the solution fit the assigned problem?
- Does the product meet customer expectations?
- What needs to be changed to gain that status?
- Is it reasonable to continue startup development?
If the determined goals are setting a destination for you to the market it’s time to input more practical efforts into the project according to the analyzed feedback notes.
The next aim is Minimum Marketable Release (MMR) or a full product presentation that usually accomplished in a few stages. The first one is the upgrade of MVP that will have wider but still limited functional though.
During this phase, it’s important that the gap between the versions won't cause any inconvenience for early adopters.
Once you have the renewed list of product features and required fixes you don’t have to put all of them in production. Take a deliberate approach that should be accompanied with user notifications concerning upcoming changes and responses to their requests to simplify the solution integration to their workflow or everyday life.
It’s also the time to double the sales and marketing efforts. The selected and specified target audience should define the most efficient channels for advertising and outreach. It embraces not only digital tooling but also meetings and events like hackathons, conferences, etc.
The related costs along with a startup development budget should be taken into account during the product profitability.
Being busy putting your product on the map don’t forget about quality assurance and necessary project maintenance. The best thing to do is to create a clear roadmap to follow to take the product through the required evolution to the stable release.
Step 5: Check your startup health
Sacrifices whether financial or personal not always indicate the best intentions and reasonable goals. That’s why for any involved in startup development company it’s important to know when it’s time to admit the failure, allow the merger, sell the firm, etc.
The first thing to take into account in decision-making is that profit is only one of the success elements. No more vital is the scalability and condition of the operational model and its ability to get the company through difficulties and move on to further development.
The checkups should be regular not to miss the no-return point. The whole growth process, as well as the market changes, should be transparent to the management level to be able to correlate the processes into the emerging product favor.
No matter how much a deliberate approach you can’t escape all risks concerning the startup product development process. However, the more accurate your strategic planning and predictive analytics are the more you’ll be able to feel confident sailing on waves of customer expectations and market needs.