Start-Ups Should Create Apps Using the Lean Methodology
Introducing the Lean Start-up Method
The Lean Start-up Methodology was first introduced back in 2008, by Eric Ries, and has since seen a surge in its adoption rate on a global scale. The biggest point of the methodology is that it helps to create better products while also spending less money. Since an entrepreneur’s goal is to create a product that will satisfy the largest amount of customers while keeping expenditures to a minimum; the Lean Start-up Methodology seems like a good solution.
The methodology is built around a “feedback loop”. It’s a process in which a minimum viable product (known in the industry as an “MVP”) is brought to market in the fastest and least expensive way possible, in order to gain feedback from actual users and customers.
Building an MVP
“Bring a product to market before it’s complete?! You’re crazy!” you may be saying. While psychologists may agree to that later statement, Lean methodology works brilliantly for mobile development! Here is what it provides for entrepreneurs looking to develop a mobile app:
- Faster time to market
- Lower cost upfront and overall
- Less wasted time
- Build a product that your customers will actually want!
All of this provided through what the Lean Start-Up defines as “value creation”. Value creation is the process where a task or activity provides value to the final product. Where it thrives is in the implementation of an MVP versus a complete app going through a full-scale launch. A complete app will take many more months to finish, many more dollars to fund, and much more time before reaching the market when compared to an MVP. All of this will be operating on the theory that users will want and use your app.
If users don’t want what your app is offering, you may be wasting acquisition and marketing dollars. Now an MVP will have come to the same conclusions as a full scale release, but an MVP will have come to those conclusions involving much less time and money. This now presents the opportunity to fine tune your app for the market, or completely switch it for a different opportunity or sector.
An MVP is comprised of the absolute core features that would be in your app. Nothing more. Extras add cost, and the purpose of an MVP is to test the marketplace and the app via early adopters in the most efficient way possible. Once the MVP has been built, we will move onto the fun part.
Testing is harder to do on mobile due to restrictions put in place by distribution channels or app stores. However, there are two amazing features that will save us countless headaches: TestFlight (for iOS) and Beta Testing (for Android). These allow you to distribute your app, in a controlled fashion, without having to worry about restrictions or false impressions. Coupled with some strong marketing, you can build a valuable test base that will serve as users who will champion your app upon public release.
During testing, user feedback is key. In fact, it’s gold to you as a start-up and entrepreneur. If someone gives constructive feedback, it is your duty to graciously accept that feedback whether you will implement it or not. We operate using this cycle throughout testing:
As we go through each cycle of the “Feedback Loop”, we are creating value for our final app. We can go through multiple iterations of this cycle long before we would have been able to release a completed app. Each cycle can be tweaked or changed depending on key analytics and metrics being measured. Every cycle creates more value each time, providing an exponential amount of value over a simple public launch. The beauty about developing with the lean start-up methodology is that we will have this app being crafted according to actual user needs and wants, in a way that creates intuitiveness in its experience.
Ultimately, it is the user who will use your app. Therefore, they need to love your app. The importance of user testing is the centre of the Lean Start-up Methodology, and is often otherwise overlooked; leading to many apps and games gaining few to no downloads on the App Store.
Don’t be afraid to try this methodology for your own app development. Or, hire a mobile development firm who can build an app following it.
Sooner or later, the user’s voice will be heard, but it is on you as the creator to tune in as soon as possible.