So, it is 3 am, and you are still counting sheep and trying hard to fall asleep, and an idea flashes by, one you think will change the way people see, experience, and understand technology. What do you do?
Simple, write it and in the following days design it, develop it, test it, and deploy it. But if truth be told, it doesn’t take just days, it takes months, and by then someone else counted the same sheep had the same idea, and actually got it out in the market faster than you could say – Hey, that was mine!
How did that happen? The other guy took a route called Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
In English, it is that version of your product which has just the right number of features to satisfy all your early customers and allow them to share feedback for your future product development.
So, what are the 7 important steps to ensure that your idea is so good, that you can develop it with the bare minimum, see it launch, and actually benefit out of it.
1. Research it
Yes, you need to research about who your audience are, who your competition is. Understand what is in the market, finalize the use cases that make it top of the list of why the product is needed, have supporting data that is required for a management buy-in, and discuss expected business goals or aspects that need to be validated.
I am sure that little journal in which you have been jotting down your idea and why it is needed will come in very handy at this point. Yes, a few pies here, and a few stacks there should do you good (I am talking about charts…. food’s a good idea too).
2. Validate it
Maybe your prototype needs the right kind of implementation, or you have a mobile app and you want to reach your clients and customers with them, or you just want to make the life of developers of the world easy and use RPA to automate something.
Well, all this sounds like everyone will love them the minute you hit that red launch button. But will they stand the test of time? You need to get your ideas validated by a team of experts (technical architects, business analysts etc.) to see if it is technically feasible before you have a press release about it.
3. Test it
And for the fourth time – test it (no your lovely cat there does not count, unless that is for whom you are automating something – may be self-filling cereal bowls… hmm).
Remember usually there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to building a software product (you may think it does – but Customization (psst… Customer) is King), so if you want a smoother product launch have the right bunch of testers get the feel of your product. Write blogs about it (don’t look at me, like that), reach out on social media even (don’t do a send to all- again- the idea is to first test privately), get the right software and technology solutions company to have their group of trusted testers and peer product managers do that for you (geez, maybe I am writing a blog to market us…)
4. Have a solution blueprint
A solution blueprint is the best possible visual you can create that has everything your viewpoint, the functionality, all the data, the system design, the structure, and technology of the product rolled into one. It is designed to improve your business processes and make them suitable for deployment.
My suggestion, write down the kind of solution architecture that will be required, think extensibility, and check if scalability of your product is an option while keeping your business goal in mind.
5. Create a great product launch proposal
So far the strategy you created was brilliant, your product is a blockbuster (at least in the testing phase). The next thing on your list.
Write an amazing product proposal – include what the problem is, how you plan to solve it, what can be achieved once this plan is put into place, add costs (this can tell you and your potential buyer, whether they can afford it or not) get your build versus buy analysis right.
6. Ensure the perfect product execution
So, you need to have an excellent execution team that takes your take idea to an MVP to be working together with you on this, take your product to its final stages, and help you get that dream launch. Having said that, you should know what goes into the stage, shouldn’t you?
For the execution to go well, peer product managers usually check for agility, ask and give frequent feedbacks, they create weekly or bi-weekly deliverables so everyone stays on top of the product launch.
Might I add two things that are really important when it comes to seeing your product making it to launch – keep an eye out for opportunities and threats (not from people – I meant you know –from the product point of view and all that) and finally don’t lose that sense of humor you had when you started out with the idea.
We get it… launching your product is as stressful as having a baby- trust that you are in good hands.
7. Focus on Delivery and Support
Yes your ‘garage phase’ as they say is coming to an end, you had a great idea, and you put together the bare minimum that you needed to develop a solution. Then you built a basic product infrastructure that could scale, while you made iterations on the way right through the development and the validation (fancy word is you turned your ahead-of-time idea into a Minimum Viable Product – MVP).
It is done! Now that you have got the product out to your customers before you spent a lot of blood, sweat, time, energy, and coffee on it; wait for them to get back to you on it.
You will know that qualitative testing can help you understand not just the usability but also the experience delivered to your customer by your product. Be ready to support your customers through this phase, since there is a lot to learn for both of you.
In conclusion, what you have done by going to the market with a minimum viable product is that you set yourself up for success, because now you get feedback from real customers when you show them your prototype, you can adjust your product accordingly.
It is the most basic, low-cost solution that requires very little time, very few people, and yet reaps high returns. How is that for an idea?
If you would like to know how to minimize risks and increase your chance of market adoption while overcoming time and budget constraints, or how shooting in the dark is not as bad, or anything else that we haven’t bombarded you with links for, then write to us.