Interview Series: Thomas Budiman, Co-founder of Insight Design on MVP

Interview Series: Thomas Budiman, Co-founder of Insight Design on MVP

interview series thomas

About

Kevin Sahin

Designer at Hanno

Specialties: User Experiences, User Interface Design, Wireframing & Prototyping (FramerJS), Information Architecture, User flows & Stories, Design system, Front-end Development. Design team management.

Contact: http://www.budiman.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasbudiman

 

Q.1 Why should startups begin with building a Minimum Viable Product?

 

I see the importance of a minimum viable product not only from the speed and cost-efficiency but also the focus. By building the minimum viable version, we can focus on solving the main problem, finding the right solution or opportunity, testing it to the target audience and getting some feedback as a fuel for the next improvement of your product.

 

Q.2 How do you prioritize features for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

 

To prioritize features for MVP, we need to see which features are the backbone. These features need to support our products so they can be used or tested by the market. In addition, we can also use impact-effort quadrants to help us determine which features we need to bring to the next iteration.

impact-effort quadrants

 

Q.3 What is the best advice you can give to budding Startup CEO on developing a successful MVP?

 

In my opinion, we can’t definitively define what the MVP should look like and how. Different products will have different approaches for an MVP, for instance, some people might think of landing pages as their MVP where they can collect emails and early feedback. Others might say you should focus on the functionalities more than the aesthetics. Well, that can’t be true if you think one of your product values is to be nice-looking and unique. So, we should see the MVP as a form of approach for us to move forward (even with baby steps) in product development or starting a new startup towards understanding who our users are, what their needs are and what opportunities exist–without taking a long time and spending big costs.

 

Q.4 How can you save some extra cash when developing an MVP?

 

I think we know that to save extra cash is the gist of an MVP. Well, this needs to be seen in terms of what products you make, what the team looks like, what strengths the founders are and perhaps some other aspects. I see the most important thing is the strength of the founders. If you want to save the budget, founders need to step in and make their hands dirty. If there is a team or other person working on it, the founders also need to at least understand the process,

so that they don’t take steps that result in wasted time and costs. Last but not least, being strategic and planning carefully in every move.

 

Q.5 Is building MVP still useful in 2019 and coming years?

 

Yes, with a better version, of course. As I said on question #3, we can’t definitively define what the MVP is. People might say that should be a minimum loveable, minimum awesome or something. People will continue to make the MVP way better than we think five years ago, but the essence will remain the same.

Interview Series: Kevin Sahin, Co-Founder at PricingBot on MVP

Interview Series: Kevin Sahin, Co-Founder at PricingBot on MVP

interview series kevin

About

Kevin Sahin

Co-Founder at PricingBot, book Author, Indie maker

Contact: kevin@pricingbot.co

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sahinkevin

Medium: https://medium.com/@sahin.kevin

Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-sahin-89700586/

 

Q.1 How do you prioritize features for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

 

There are many ways to do it. One “easy” way is to answer these questions: What is the biggest problem that I’m trying to solve? What is the easiest solution to this problem?

As soon as your core feature is implemented, do a soft launch with a limited set of users, ask for feedback, implement the most requested features, test, learn, iterate!

The most important thing to keep in mind is not to implement features “because it’s cool”.

 

Q.2 How did you build your minimum viable product? What steps did you follow?

 

We built the initial version for PricingBot in two months. It was really basic, it did one thing, and it did it well. We then soft launched it in Alpha with the users that registered on our landing page.

After several weeks of iteration and calls with our initial users, we released the beta on ProductHunt.

It was great because it brought us 2000+ visits on the websites, several hundred sign-ups, and the users had lots of different use cases/insights.

Instead of asking our users if they would be willing to pay for our product, we just froze accounts and added a paywall. Once the first few users started to pay, we knew our product was viable.

I think there is a big difference between someone telling you he’s willing to pay and someone who actually enters his credit card on your website.

 

Q.3 What are the best practices for a Minimum Viable Product?

 

Use the tools you know best. Don’t use a tool because it’s cool or because you want to test technology. Sometimes you don’t even have to create a product to reach your goal.

A simple landing page, a form, a survey is often enough. Once you have validated an interest you can move forward.

 

Q.4 After developing and launching an MVP, how can you define whether your MVP was successful or not?

 

There are different answers to this question because there can be several goals for an MVP. For us, we wanted to 1) Validate that there is a market for E-commerce price monitoring and 2) Get some insights

During our MVP, we learned that users hated configuring their account by themselves, so we created a new onboarding process to help them. We immediately saw our metrics (activation, MAU…) increase. So this was the first success.

So whatever your core metrics are, they should go up during your MVP iterations.

Then the moment we got our first paying customers was another winner!

 

Q.5 Is building MVP still useful in 2019 and coming years?

 

Of course, it is. I feel like there are more and more “early adopters” online, which is your target when you launch an MVP. It’s never been easier to reach those early adopters, thanks to all the online communities, Facebook groups, Slack, online ads… Users also love to play a role in product building, it’s a trend you can see in lots of industries.  

Interview Series: Will Dayble, Founder Fitzroy Academy on MVP

Interview Series: Will Dayble, Founder Fitzroy Academy on MVP

interview series will dayble

 

 

About

Will Dayble

Teacher, recovering tech entrepreneur. Previous I started a few businesses, did some internet stuff.Now founder @ Fitzroy Academy + lecturing @ Monash Uni on entrepreneurship + impact. Not super into formality. In my spare time, I don’t have any. <3

Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/willdayble/

 

Q.1 Why should startups begin with building a Minimum Viable Product?

 

Because it’s something to do.

It’s easy to get lost in dreaming about beautiful ideas. It’s so fun to talk about how they’re going to save the planet, make you a zillion dollars and be a perfect, brilliant gift to the world.

But while there’s nothing wrong with dreaming, to get something moving you need to do the work. Make something real and show it to people.

Even better, MVPs are fun. They’re small, simple, and easy to throw out. A good MVP is a vehicle for a light, joyful conversation.

 

Q.2 How do you prioritize features for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

 

As your customers what they want!

It sounds really simple, but it’s amazing how many people start building an MVP without talking to the people who will eventually use that product.

Oh and pro tip: Don’t tell people about your idea. I know you want to because it’s exciting, but try to avoid pitching to everyone you meet.

Instead, ask people to tell you a story about the problem they’ve experienced. How did they feel? What did the try? What worked? What didn’t? Who else was involved? How did those people feel?

Those learnings will help you build a better MVP. When in doubt, talk less and ask more questions.

A good MVP is proof that you’ve listened carefully to your customers.

 

Q.3 What is the best advice you can give to budding Startup CEO on developing a successful MVP?

 

Don’t expect your first attempt will be perfect.

It will most likely suck, and that’s half the fun. We think about it like this: Most entrepreneurs build up projects in this order.

    • Shoes
    • Bike
    • Car
    • House
    • Airplane

Your first business (MVP, project, idea, whatever) will earn you enough money for a new pair of shoes. Cool. Throw it out and try again. The one after that gets you enough cash for a new pushbike. Awesome! Wind it up, try again.

Then comes the car, then ten years later – if you’re still hacking away at it – you’ll have the skills, friendships, money, capacity and knowledge to make something that allows you to buy a house! Hooray!

Now very few entrepreneurs actually continue from one stage to the next. They realise it’s just not their style of working, they change careers, life happens. A vanishingly small percentage goes all the way from shoes to jet plane and that’s totally okay.

And by ‘okay’, I mean good okay. Not ‘good enough’ okay, but awesome, happy, best case scenario okay.

It’s infinitely more important to make friends along the way, have fun, and find meaning in the work.

One of the best outcomes of one MVP I personally made, nearly 10 years ago at a hackathon, was a friendship with a guy called Mark. The MVP he and I built together failed miserably. Total failure.

But Mark and I are still friends. We play video games together most nights and he’s helping me move house next month. Huge win, best outcome possible.

Either way, it’s probably dangerous to try jumping from nothing to jet plane.

Start with shoes! 🙂

 

Q.4a) How can you save some extra cash when developing an MVP?

 

Do less stuff. Make each iteration small and immediate.

Have a small team, make each change to the idea tiny. Talk to your customers more often. Don’t spend money unless you absolutely have to. Even if you have a million dollars, pretend you’re working from scratch.

MVPs aren’t about making loads of cash, they’re about learning what works.

Maybe another tip is to remove your ego. Waste normally happens when ego gets in the way. If you’re not pumped up about your own importance, you’re less likely to do what your ego wants and more likely to do what the MVP needs.

Q.4b) The question you didn’t ask: What’s more important than saving cash?

 

Caring about people! Without people, cash is meaningless.

MVPs /lean/fast iterations are a great way to move fast and break stuff, but it’s easy to lose patience for people within that process.

People and products interact, but people are not products, and products are not people!

So for the ‘people stuff’, I enjoy working slowly, patiently, and transparently, with no hidden agendas or end goals. Friendships take years and reputations are built action by action, day by day. There are no destination or version numbers for falling in love or building a community.

When we lose ourselves in the frantic excitement of progress we can forget to nurture the subtle stuff. There’s a time for balance and counterpoint, for reflection and patience.

Go slow to go smooth, go smooth to go fast. 🙂

 

Q.5 Is building MVP still useful in 2019 and coming years?

 

Yes, and sometimes no.

Yes, in the sense that fast iterations with few assumptions get things done quickly. Less time building things and more time showing people what you’ve built will always be a wonderful way to start something.

On the flip-side, however, is knowing that the MVP approach just isn’t suitable for some problems.

You can’t MVP a home renovation. Trust me, I’ve tried. It requires planning, building permits, council and a bunch of other systems that can’t be started and stopped fast enough for the MVP approach to work!

There is a time and place for everything.

In larger systems, you can’t ‘MVP’ your way around a corrupt government, or basic infrastructure, or state agents with bad intentions. Those challenges generally require a slower, broader approach, which is (both sadly and happily) outside the scope of this interview.

MVPs are about being fast.

So go as fast as possible when fast is appropriate, but avoid it when it’s not. Within the big picture, when the large stuff is scary and hard, you can often find little pockets where you can move quickly and kindly, and bring people along the journey of building things together.

I hope that somewhere between ‘shoes’ and ‘jet plane’ of the whole journey I’ll find the wisdom to know when each approach is best.

Hopefully so will you. I’m not there yet!

🙂

Interview Series: George shares on a series of technology startups

Interview Series: George shares on a series of technology startups

interview series george

 

 

About

George Krasadakis

17+ US patents on Artificial Intelligence, Analytics and IoT • 20 years of digital product development – from concept to launch • 80+ innovative, data-driven projects • 10 multinational corporations • 4 technology startups • Founder of ‘Datamine decision support systems’.

Defining and engineering AI-powered products • Leading technology innovation programmes • Extensive experience in Software Engineering, Analytics, and Data Science projects. Views and opinions are my own.

Medium:https://medium.com/@gkrasadakis

Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/gkrasadakis/

 

Q.1 Why should startups begin with building a Minimum Viable Product?

 

Startups should naturally think in terms of MVPs.

The MVP approach, if applied properly, allows startups to ship their product earlier and satisfy their early customers, by solving their core problem. This way, startups can avoid the development and operational costs of those not-yet-needed features. Startups can make better use of their limited resources, and launch features according to top priorities and needs of their target customers.

Startups need to move fast and follow truly flexible adaptive product development patterns. The experimental nature and the limited resources of the typical early-stage startup require laser-focus and smart prioritization; which is the basis for defining a Minimum Viable Product: the MVP is all about identifying the smallest subset of the product, which can be built first to deliver value to your users, as early as possible.

The Minimum Viable Product is about what to build when – in what order; it is about learning from customers and adapting. It is perfectly aligned with a good startup strategy – it is a great beginning for a startup, a framework to balance excitement and pragmatism.

 

Q.2 How do you prioritize features for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

 

Well, prioritization can become quite tricky and complicated. To assign good priorities you need to combine strategic thinking, product vision, empathy, market insights and also sufficient technology understanding and domain expertise.

My strategy when prioritizing features is based on deeply understanding the problem, the impacted users, the competition and the state of the art. To prioritize wisely, I ensure that – as a product development team – we envision the ‘ideal’ state and that we are able to clearly articulate ‘how to get there’. I emphasize on the need to understand what is already available in the market, along with the opportunities and the constraints of current technologies.

I do believe that having a bold vision and the ability to ‘think big’ is critical for prioritization. If you are aware of the full potential, the ‘big picture’ of your product, prioritization gets easier and more meaningful. In fact, the more features you have to prioritize, the better the final priorities will be: when you have your ‘full product’ described at the feature level, the relative importance of each particular feature becomes more clear; while the risk of ‘opportunity cost’ – from features that you didn’t consider to build – drops. This is why I encourage the product team to define not only the obvious features but also ‘crazy ideas’ and creative ways to solve the problem for our users.

To get the first definition of the MVP, I work closely with the product development team to ensure that each of the features in the backlog get assessed in terms of value to the user, feasibility and cost. This assessment process leverages all the knowledge, the signals and the insights we have — everything we know for the users and their pain-points. The objective is to assign a single value to each product feature, reflecting its importance in solving the problem for our customers; as early and inexpensively as possible.

During this process (which could have many iterations – reviews with stakeholders and refinements), we keep ranking the backlog by ‘importance’. When the prioritization is stable enough, we draw the line separating the MVP from the rest of the backlog. This is the first definition of the MVP.

Depending on the case and the complexity of the product, I might consider additional research techniques to validate assumptions and get more detailed insights from users. Or visualization tools to provide clarity on the product backlog, the priorities and the roadmap.

 

Q.3 What is the best advice you can give to budding Startup CEO on developing a successful MVP?

 

Think as a user; act as an entrepreneur.

‘Thinking as a user’ implies empathy and deep understanding of the market and customer needs. ‘Acting as an entrepreneur’ implies a strategy, wise use of the available resources and responsiveness to signals from the market – along with the right approach to balancing risk. This is the right mindset to have when defining your Minimum Viable Product and your overall product strategy.

As a CEO, you need to ensure that there is a solid, inspiring product vision there; that your product management team and your stakeholders deeply understand the vision and the roadmap. State your assumptions and validate them as soon as you get the right insights and data. Build a data-driven culture but also emphasize critical thinking when interpreting your data. Make sure that your team appreciates the culture of experimentation and values how data-driven decisions can improve your product development efforts.

Use Agile engineering practices, stay connected to your customers, get ready to make pivots when there are strong signals from the market. Step back, look at the product ‘from a distance’; ask for honest feedback from people outside your domain.

Define a solid success measurement framework for your MVP. Make a small investment to build a ‘product performance dashboard’ which automatically quantifies product engagement metrics and user feedback into KPIs vs targets. The measure, interpret, react.  

Or, you can skip all the above and hire a great CPO 🙂

 

Q.4 How can you save some extra cash when developing an MVP?

 

Assuming a good definition of the MVP and also proper execution, you will avoid unnecessary costs by building only what is needed to achieve your short-term goal: to engage with your customers, cover their core needs and learn. With the MVP you are building a smaller first instance of your product; successful execution means smaller engineering/ development and operational costs.

In some cases, the MVP could even generate early revenue streams – which, depending on the business model and the stage of the startup, could prove to be important for further product development and user base growth.

Q.5 Is building MVP still useful in 2019 and coming years?

 

Well, I believe that MVP reflects a particular approach or philosophy for building products – which should and will be there as ‘common sense’ for product development. Moreover, when building digital products in this rapidly changing technology landscape, you must constantly apply critical thinking about the definition and prioritization of product features – or you can easily get distracted and take risky paths.

I strongly believe that – regardless of the actual terminology used – this approach makes perfect sense and will be there as the basis for modern product development.

How to Validate Your MVP Through Videos

How to Validate Your MVP Through Videos

how-to-validate-your-mvp-through-videos

 

 

We at RemotePanda have been celebrating March as the “Month of MVP.” During this past half month, we have been promoting and dedicating content towards MVP, creating awareness and promoting how MVPs can be a way to mitigate risk and verify any product before investing too much time and money.

We recently organized a webinar on how to validate your MVP by leveraging videos. Now, you might be wondering what the hell is this, like MVP, is already something that we develop to validate an idea and test the waters, now we are talking about validating the MVP itself. Well, that’s exactly what made this webinar so exciting and informative.

For this webinar, we hosted Rajan Soni, Founder of Infinity Creative. Rajan specializes in creating marketing centric videos and help businesses build brands around video and marketing content.

 

“Videos are one of the most impactful media to send across a message and to leave an impression. And something which is as important as an MVP, which you use to validate your business and to research into the market, videos are the best way to reach out to the audience and take inputs from them on your MVP.” – Rajan Soni.

 

During the webinar, Rajan covered the various aspects of MVPs and videos and how the two together form a formidable test that can help entrepreneurs and startups build a better product and cater to the needs of their target audience.

The webinar began with the introduction of Why you need to validate an MVP.  After that, the webinar touched upon the points like how do you validate an MVP, the importance of creating an excellent story for the video, followed by an exercise on how to create videos using online software.

 

In the startup world time is everything. You might have heard of cases where a company suffered a loss in capturing the market share just because they were late in releasing their product. The only way to efficiently capture a larger market share is to stay ahead of competitors.

 

Why do you need to validate your MVP?

 

The word minimum itself in Minimum Viable Product denotes that your product has fewer features as possible; however, there are three particular things that your MVP needs to do –

1. It needs to have enough value that people are willing to use it. Your MVP should cater to the needs of your target audience; it should provide a solution for their problems.

2. It should have growth potential. You should showcase your MVP, that it reflects and resonates within the minds of the masses depicting potential growth in the future.

3. It needs to facilitate feedback. The most important job of an MVP is to facilitate feedback.

 

Coming back to the main question of why you should validate your, there are multiple reasons why you should validate your MVP.

 

 

Why validate

 

Reason #1 – Cost

 

It costs a lot in developing an MVP. A lot of people think that building an MVP is the most cost-effective way, but still, around $10000-$15000 is required to build an MVP. To be honest it is a lot of money for a CEO who is bootstrapping his way out. This additional cost of $10-$15K can be used in marketing or hiring additional remote help.

 

Reason #2 – Time

 

In the startup world time is everything. You might have heard of cases where a company suffered a loss in capturing the market share just because they were late in releasing their product. The only way to efficiently capture a larger market share is to stay ahead of competitors.

 

Instead of investing so much money and time to get the feedback, instead validate your MVP first.

 

You must have heard of companies like Airbnb, Uber, Dropbox, and Twitter. All these tech titans have one thing in common they all started their journey by developing an MVP. Among these the most interesting one is Dropbox. That is because Dropbox began their journey by developing a simple explainer video. The video was an animation based video where the features and benefits of the Dropbox were showcased. A simple explainer video that went viral and gained a lot of eyeballs. The noticeable thing here is that Dropbox was able to get hundreds of early adopter who was ready to try Dropbox even before they launched their MVP. And all of this was possible just because of a simple explainer video.

Now just take a second and compare the two scenarios – one where you spend 2-3 months and thousands of dollars on an MVP and second where you spend 3-4 days on an explainer video and still get early adopters for the product along with the valuable feedback from the customers, which one of those two scenarios is more efficient and productive.

Let me know what you think in the comment section down below.

 

 

How to Validate?

 

How to validate

 

Well, there are multiple ways to validate your MVP. Like conducting a survey and asking people their opinion or you can create a blog and ask for the feedback on it, or you can create a dedicated landing page for it and then create a video.

“What I find the best way is to create a video and put it on a landing page – Rajan Soni.” That way you have a call-to-action on your landing page where users can subscribe and become a part of your pre-launch customers.

Videos are perfect for pitching to investors as well. Creating a short 2-minute video and using it to send across an idea and all of its features is just fantastic.

Still not convinced that videos are the perfect gateway for you to validate your MVP and build a superior product for your customers?

Take a look at the mindblowing stats about the videos and embrace their glory.

 

video stats

 

How to tell an Amazing Story?

 

Tell an awesome story

 

Before you get into creating the video the prerequisite required is a story,  a story that resonates and moves you. Today, everyone is creating content. In order to move ahead of your competition, you have to create content which stands out. For this to happen, you need a fantastic story.

 

But how do you create a fantastic story? Well, any story has three main division – Start, Middle, and End.

It all starts with the protagonist, the hero of the story who aspires to achieve some goal in his life. This goal could be anything like climbing Mount Everest or driving a Formula One car etc. And just like in the movies, the protagonist comes to a halt as he/she is matched up against an obstruction. After the obstruction phase comes to the conflict phase, where the main character of the story works really hard toward achieving his/her goal. After that begins the resolution phase where all the hard work and dedication pay off for our main character.

This concept is applicable even in business. Suppose our protagonist is a customer, now the customer wants to connect with his friends, but his friend lives overseas, you have a product called Facebook that might help the protagonist, boom problem solved. Your customer is happy with the product that solves his problem of connecting with his friend.

 

Pro tip – What really binds everything together in any story is emotions. Emotions are something that everyone empathizes with. In order to create a mindblowing story, you need to add emotions in your story.

 

 

Story Board

How to make a Video?

 

How to Create video

 

Before we start making a video the first step is to decide what type of video do you want to use. In the broadest sense, there are two kinds of videos – Animated and Produced.

 

Animated videos are perfect for explaining things. So if you want to describe your product or about its features, animated videos works wonders. The goal of an explainer video is to showcase your product or services in an engaging way. So you take one or two features, you show what the existing problem is, how your product can solve the problem and how amazing their life will be after that. On the other hand, if you want to tell a story or you want to reach out to investors or talk about the entrepreneurial journey, produced videos are best. If you are telling a story it’s significant that people see your face, they understand your emotions, and they empathize with you.

 

Coming back to the original question of How to create a video, Rajan gave a demo of software called VideoScribe. With just a few clicks you can create an astounding animated explainer video.

 

What to do after you have created the video?

 

 

 

What next

 

Now that you have created an excellent video what should be the next best thing to do? Remember our goal behind creating a video prior to MVP is to get feedback from the target audience. And the best possible option to get people invested in your video and provide feedback is by leveraging social media. Put your video on social media and genuinely listen to what others have to say about your product. Make the alterations and repeat the cycle, after 2-3 alterations you would be left with a perfect idea for your MVP. The MVP you built will be a lot better and would be very close to the product that people actually want.

Like what you’ve read so far? Watch the complete webinar here to learn more tips and tricks on how to validate your MVP. Watch here –

 

Frequently asked questions on Minimum Viable Product(MVP).

Frequently asked questions on Minimum Viable Product(MVP).

FAQ

 

It’s the month of MVP and we are here to abreast you with all the important things there are to know about MVP. MVP is a concept defined by Frank Robinson and popularized by Steve Blank and Eric Ries. It is a product which hasn’t been fully developed but which has enough features and functionalities that the customers can play around with it and gauge if it’s what they need, developers can get feedback from customers to further furbish the product.

Now that we have gone through the fundamentals, let’s look at the frequently asked questions about MVP.

1. What does Minimum Variable Product mean?

Frank Robinson defined a concept called Minimum Viable Product(MVP) which changed the way entrepreneurs started gauging the product market fit.
A Minimum Viable Product is a product which hasn’t been fully developed but which has enough features and functionalities that the customers can play around with it and gauge if it’s what they need, developers can get feedback from customers to further furbish the product. This process saves a lot on the cost and risk factor, making a fully functional product and watching it fail is like the worst nightmare any entrepreneur can ever have.

2. Why is MVP important?

MVP is a shortcut, a way to change the scenery and 1-up the competitors. The thought behind the MVP is to break the superlative idea into small steps and examine the behavior of the customers.

         Here are all the benefits that MVP brings to your company –

  • MVP helps in saving time and resources and also makes sure that they are invested only in the projects which would bear fruits in the future.
  • MVP also helps millennials to test their idea and recognize what trends can be used and leveraged to produce an optimum product which would cater to the needs of the targeted audience.
  • MVP helps in procuring early stage adopters and potential clients.
  • If leveraged correctly, MVP can also be used to attract potential investors.

3. What is the key component of an MVP?

The main idea of an MVP is to get feedback from the customers so that the product can be developed further as per the needs of the customers. So there are three components that are important here, first one is enough features for customers to explore the product, secondly, a feedback mechanism which will enable customers to send their feedback and lastly, it should have scope to be developed further according to the needs of the customers.

4. Should you develop an MVP in-house or outsource it?

For an early stage startup, mobile application and web development is quite an expensive component. Hiring an in-house team and paying salary to all the employees while investing on the MVP is a lot to deal with, but if you outsource your MVP to the right offshore partner you can utilize so much of your money in developing a feature rich MVP. The cost to hire developers offshore is far less compared to hiring developers locally in the US, and it’s an additional advantage when you find an expert for less cost and that too on a contract basis. Once the MVP is done and you have received the funding you can hire an in-house team and if there is any need for any additional resources you can always fall back on your offshore development team.

5. Minimum Viable Product vs Prototype?

Your prototype is not your MVP! A prototype is a model of what your product might look like, it may or may not be a functional model, while an MVP is a fully functional product or a shorter version of the product which the customers can use.

6. How do you prioritize features of an MVP?

Feature prioritization is one of the most important phases to plan a roadmap, mark the boundaries and differentiate between the wants and needs of the customers. Now the features will defer from product to product, again it’s not a one size fits all. What you can do is make a feature bucket wherein you can categorize your features as “Must Have”, “Nice to Have” and “Not Needed”, this will give you a clear understanding of which features to prioritize.

7. What should be built first? The core team or the MVP!

If you have a CTO who has got your back, like Batman and Robin, it’s beneficial to build an MVP together, but, if you are a lone ranger, it would be best to outsource the Minimum Viable Product development to an offshore development agency. As I have mentioned above, it would save you a lot of costs, which you can use to make your MVP feature rich.
So the bottom line is that MVP should be your top priority, finding a team and that too whose skillset is in line with what you’re trying to achieve will consume a lot of time.

Conclusion:

MVP can help you make a really awesome product, but if not done right, you’re up for a lot of trouble. Check out “How MVPs can go wrong, and how to make sure yours doesn’t” Hope you leave our site satisfied with all the information you were looking for, if you are still in a haze and need guidance with your MVP, get in touch with us, we would be happy to help. Connect with us here.

MVP – The Only Way to Build Larger Companies

MVP – The Only Way to Build Larger Companies

Have you ever came across a product or service that just made you think “Damn, this is amazing, why didn’t I thought about it myself first.”  We all have one of those moments where we can’t help but turn into stone and listen or watch the other person talk about his/her product/service. Bewitched by all the fantastic things that the product has, you start wondering where did this person get the idea to develop an astonishing product/service like this.

We live in a world full of constant metamorphosis, where new technology and products keep surfacing. And cutthroat competition is one of the primary reasons for this constant change and development in industrial space. Each and every player, whether it’s big or small, wants to stay on top of others.

 

Here is a video showing the top 15 best global brands ranking and how it has changed over time

That being said, in this environment of intense competition only a few emerge as victorious. If you watched the video I mentioned, you would have seen the rise and fall of companies over time.

I am sure you would have heard about Airbnb, Uber, and Dropbox, but do you know what Airbnb, Uber, and Dropbox all have in common? Well, of course, they are heavy lifters – massively successful startups; Apart from that, they all started their journey by observing the trends, collating insights, hustling their way into and testing the waters and developing a Minimum Viable Product, or MVP for short.

A Minimum Viable Product or MVP is a bare-bones version of a product or service with just enough features tailored to test the market and customers.

It’s not a finished product, but the prototype created through carefully calculated interpretation, based on hypothesis-driven development. The product only needs the essential functions; anything beyond minor functionality is not added.

By creating a minimal product, one can judiciously use time and resources. This also opens a window for the company to give its customer a sneak peek, a glimpse of how the final product will look like.

Millennials are seeing MVPs as the fastest way to prove whether the idea behind the product meets their target audience preferences and personal needs. And MVPs are all the more successful because, in the world of crowdsourcing, customers are more than happy to tell companies what can be improved and what should be entirely removed – providing useful insights as well as saving resources for the company.

Why is MVP important?

The thought behind the MVP is to break the superlative idea into small steps and examine the behavior of the customers. MVP is a shortcut, a way to change the scenery and 1-up the competitors.

Here are some of the key benefits that MVP brings to your company –

  1. Just like I mentioned before in this blog, MVP helps in using the limited time and resources in the most effective way.
  2. MVP also helps startups to test their idea and recognize what trends can be used and leveraged to produce an optimum product which would cater to the needs of the targeted audience.
  3. MVP helps in procuring early stage adopters and potential clients.
  4. If leveraged correctly, MVP can also be used to attract potential investors.

Just imagine a situation where you put 6-7 months of efforts and a budget of $200,000 and still do not receive a positive result, dreadful right? The time put in by the developers, the marketing done by the marketers and the money from the investor or worse from your own pocket, everything slips down the drain.

Developing an MVP first and testing the waters would have saved you from this crisis. Building an MVP would have accelerated the product launch with minimal features. Moreover, approximately only 1-2 months and around $25,000 of the budget would be enough for building it, saving you both precious time and resources.

Here are 2 companies that we worked with to help them build the right MVPs and turn them into successful products.

01. UB Mobile:

UBMobile is a mobile-first consumer insight technology and services company. UB Mobile developed a mobile application called LifeTap. Lifetap is a fascinating platform where users are provided with the gift cards and coupons of different companies for answering simple and short surveys. UBMobile leveraged its marketing research capabilities and created an application which would allow them to get insights about customer behavior and their areas of interests. An early prototype of the application LifeTap was developed for the same.

After assessing the initial user interaction and pointers provided by the users, it was understood that there might be a few shortcoming and shortfalls. Major flaws highlighted were the performance and the UI/UX of the application. It was also found that users loved the idea and vision behind the application but did not engage with it.

With this valuable insight and data, UB Mobile was confident enough to develop a final product which would be not only smooth in terms of performance but also pleasing to the eyesight.

With that mindset, UB Mobile was psyched up and marched toward to decimate their first obstacle – the UI/UX part. They arranged for a Design Sprint Session in order to grasp more about the personas of their ideal target audience. During the Design Sprint, new and innovative ideas emerged which would boost customer experience by ten folds.

Read more details on how they did it here.

The final design concept aligned perfectly with the feedback received from the customers. The final product gained a lot of eyeballs and was highly appreciated by the users.

Developing an MVP before the final product paid off real good for UB Mobile and opened a door for more opportunities. And last year UB Mobile got acquired. Critical Mix, a premier global data and insights company, announced on June 19, 2018, the acquisition of UBMobile. Read about it here.

02. Farbinder:

Farbinder is a hyperlocal startup that helps people know about special deals and offers in their neighborhood. Farbinder helps the user discover new place around them, browse local events and announcements, check out local reviews and look up businesses and stuff local folks have for sale or giveaway.

Similar to the LifeTap, Farbinder also put a great thought behind what they wanted to achieve and where do they see themselves in the future. Thinking about all that, they decided to go ahead and test the waters by first developing an MVP. The primary purpose of developing an MVP was to get the customers perspective about the design and the vision behind the app, also it was a way to get under the spotlight and showcase the idea behind the app in front of investors.

After the launch of MVP, it was discovered that certain design aspects were acting just a hindrance to the refined user experience. These flaws were taken care of by performing a Design Sprint session. Design Sprint sessions provided Farbinder with early-stage clarity and feedback for improvement. From there they went step by step from setting up the problem statement to creating multiple solutions and choosing the optimum one.

Developing an MVP helped Farbinder to capture the early stage customer’s needs and provide a solution that they actually want. Farbinder was also able to save valuable resources that would have been gone to waste if they hadn’t checked the market beforehand.

Final thoughts

Minimum Viable Product development means finding the perfect blend and synergy between the minimalistic design and significance. Development of the MVP should be kept to the minimum, but the product should not be deprived of the main feature you are trying to showcase. In recent years, MVPs are being used more and more by lean startups and tech titans to get traction and validation.

If you decide to release an MVP, make sure your strategy is as unique as your business. RemotePanda has helped build MVPs for Farbinder, UB Mobile and many more that have led to million-dollar sales and funding. To learn more, contact us here.

If you are wondering what can go wrong with MVP and what you should do to execute it the right way, Read here.

MVPs can go wrong!! How to make sure yours doesn’t.

MVPs can go wrong!! How to make sure yours doesn’t.

mvps-can-go-wrong

In today’s advanced world, it takes a lot of efforts to uncover a niche and meet the needs of the target audience. You can’t just go around turning an idea into a product or a service and expect the customers to consume it. What matters the most is what the customers really want. If you can’t satisfy the need of the customer with your product/service, then all your time, money and efforts are futile.

Frank Robinson defined a concept called Minimum Viable Product(MVP) which changed the way entrepreneurs started gauging the product market fit.

A Minimum Viable Product is a product which hasn’t been fully developed but which has enough features and core functionalities that the customers can play around with it and gauge if it’s what they need, developers can get feedback from customers to further furbish the product. This process saves a lot on the cost and risk factor, making a fully functional product and watching it fail is like the worst nightmare any entrepreneur can ever have.

Though MVP is a blessing, people are under this assumption that it’s okay to have MVP as a mediocre product because they are in a rush to release it to the market, and once it is launched, they are hit with a reality check when nobody is showing any interest in the product. It is imperative to build your MVP as efficiently as your final product, with all the functionalities that the user can interact with.

When an MVP is released people tend to lose focus on the monitoring and feedback phase, which is the most important part of the methodology.

Another fact people should take into consideration is that there is no one size fits all MVP formula, your MVP will depend on which stage your business is in and what needs you are trying to satisfy.

And the most important thing to be aware of is that there is a difference between a prototype and an MVP, your prototype is not your MVP, a prototype is a model of what your product might look like, it may or may not be a functional model, while an MVP is a fully functional product or a shorter version of the product which the customers can use.

MVP is a concept that needs to be executed effectively, it can take you from rags to riches or from riches to rags if not done properly. Let’s see what can go wrong with MVP and what you should do to execute it the right way.

A. You’re focusing on a smaller problem:

You're focusing on a small problemWhat we generally do is break the entire process into small modules and have those modules tested in increments and aggregate them with the product again. This is a very long and slow process, it’ll consume too much of your time and money.
Instead of doing so, focus on what people really want, ask the right questions and try to come up with one big problem that needs to addressed in order to make your product a success.


Dropbox made an explainer video to know if its customers wanted a file-sharing platform, and while the product was still in beta phase, it had 75,000 subscribers.

B. Not involving the target audience:


Not involving the target audience
You aren’t developing anything for your personal use, and even if you are, it’s your responsibility to make sure that what you have developed, fulfills its purpose and satisfies your need. In the same way, you need to understand what exactly is your target audience and what problem you are trying to solve. It’s not necessary that all of your customers would want to buy your product and explore it, but those who do, it’s of utmost importance to take their review, contemplate on it and make the needed changes to the product in such a way that it fulfills your customers needs in the best way possible. It could take you 6 months and thousands of dollar to build a product and then get feedback from your customers, this is a really long and expensive process.

MVP does away with this and gives you the liberty of spending the least amount and gaining exact requirements of your customers within 2 months time. Products do not only have to satisfy your customer but have to leave them with a feeling of delight.
So, defining and focusing on your target audience is vital, because without it you’ll unnecessarily keep expanding your scope and incur more cost.

C. Not prioritizing User Experience:


Not prioritizing user experience
According to a 
Walker Study, customer experience will rank way higher than price and product by 2020. As a matter of fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for great customer experience. So it goes without saying that customer experience is one of the most important things that should be taken into consideration while developing your product as well as the MVP, the customer should be able to explore the product with minimum guidance and should be able to understand and express their opinion about the product. The goal is to hit the emotions of the users and make it alluring enough to put on an amazing first impression.

It’s not necessary to have a cutting-edge design, however, it should be attractive with regards to the basic principles of visual design such as hierarchy, balance, unity, proportion, colors, etc.

You can always give your users a short tour of the app when they sign in on to the home screen for the first time. The goal here is to make it easier for users to grasp the concept.


D. Choice of the device isn’t appropriate:


Choice of the device isn't appropriate

The platform you select to bring your MVP in front of the target audience is equally important, if you’re developing a mobile platform then it would be best to show your MVP on a mobile device, it would be terrible for a customer or an investor to take interest in your MVP and end the conversation with a question that says
“Does this work on a mobile device”. Likewise, if you’re developing a web app, make sure that it works on your current website or have one made for it.

MVP is a widely used approach in Lean Startup and it cuts down on a lot of costs associated with the product development as well as the risk associated with the product failure. So it’s vital for a business to build an effective MVP. We have some Frequently Asked Questions on MVP that you can go through to get a clear picture of MVP. If you are still reluctant or need any help with building an MVP, get in touch with us, we’d be happy to help.