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MVP: From Guide to Implementation

This is the final part of our extensive series of posts dedicated to MVP. In this piece, we are going to repeat the most important recommendations and hints based on our experience. If you wish to discuss this further, we at Evercode Lab encourage you to contact us. Our team will be happy to get in touch with potential customers willing to develop a minimum viable product.

Definition and Requirements

The concept of a minimum viable product can be defined this way: it is an early version that gives its early adopters sufficient functionalities to cover a pain point. As such, an MVP is tapped into a market and ‘conquers’ its initial share. On the other hand, it is used as a starting point to collect and analyze user feedback. Such responses provide you with insights for further development.

The philosophy of MVP should be understood as ‘the best is the enemy of the good’. If you try to release a full-fledged product with sophisticated features, you risk wasting too much time and resources. As a result, you can fall behind your competitors. What’s even worse, you can spend these efforts on irrelevant, inadequate, or even nonexistent customer demands. In other words, your venture will be destined to fail within this flawed framework.

MVPs lead businesses out of this deadlock. They are all about producing a single yet effective ‘killer feature’. It must be your top priority. Such a feature needs to meet two criteria:

– It must be workable

– It should address a valid and sought-after issue

If you manage to handle these two challenges — while not overdrawing your resources at the first stage — you are halfway to success. Later you can polish the look-and-feel of your product, add secondary elements, and improve customer journeys for your early adopters. But in the beginning, it should always be one step at a time.

Building a Hypothesis

In order to address a pain point with some lucrative potential, one would better start with laying down a hypothesis. We published a detailed guide for such activities. Briefly speaking, it looks like this sequence of assumptions:

– We postulate that our target segment of potential users faces a problem. Such an issue is either not covered at all, or it may be covered poorly

– We theorize that our product is in the right position to address the problem via its efficient ‘killer feature’.

– If we are right, we will reach a certain watermark defined by our projected KPIs and time limits. In the case we fail to reach it, we must have been wrong with our hypothesis.

– Once we have achieved some initial success, we can collect feedback from our loyal customers. It is going to be the main guideline for further steps.

KPIs for Success Measurement

Each situation is a unique case. Correspondingly, there can be no universal standards. Your conditions are defined by your industry, available resources, investment conditions, etc. That is why we can give just an approximate set of KPIs:

  • Amount of downloads and signups
  • Successful trials accounts
  • Retention figures
  • Customer acquisition costs versus projected customer lifetime value
  • Cash flow and your capacity to pay off the investments
  • User satisfaction rates

Whatever your goals are, you should plan not only them but also your way to achieve them. It means you must allocate resources in a sound and cost-effective fashion. Typically, entrepreneurs consider such dimensions as:

  • Salaries based on coding sprints and outcomes
  • Rent
  • Servers, design, testing, and other types of work besides coding
  • Spending on marketing, promotion, and sponsorships (if applicable)
  • Outsourcing costs

The final point deserves our additional attention. As an IT vendor, we at Evercode Lab know that is absolutely normal to outsource some of your activities. In fact, you can save a lot by cooperating with external providers. Two factors are worth mentioning in this respect.

  • Numerous IT companies have to compete with each other. As a result, they have no chance to overprice.
  • If you deal with a more or less seasoned third-party team, you can rely on their skills. This will allow you to avoid the costly trial and error method.

As for customer feedback you need to obtain after your hypothesis has been proven right, the list of techniques you can apply is as follows:

  • Qualitative calculations based on your UA funnel
  • Customer interviews
  • E-surveys
  • ‘Roasting’ meetings at industry events

If you combine these four directions, you will be able to make informed decisions.

Conclusion

Today’s market is extremely tough. First of all, there are just too many aspiring IT teams fighting to earn their place in the sun. Second, their potential customers are simply tired of the overabundant supply of apps and solutions. Consequently, it is very hard to catch their interest. In this challenging situation, building an MVP with a worthy killer is perhaps the only way to win. And the team of Evercode Lab would be happy to help you with that.

Originally posted on the Evercode Lab page here

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