Big Bang Projects are a Bigger Risk
Maximizing your resources with a Minimum Viable Product
- 90% of start-ups fail, according to articles by Forbes and Fortune 500
- The #1 reason for failure is creating products the consumer doesn’t want
- The Minimum Viable Product method can help assure that your product is well-received
Trying to break into the market with a successful product is the goal behind most new projects. Successfully navigating the process from concept to reality is a challenge no matter how experienced you are. Pulled from Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup, the Minimum Viable Product method is an approach used to create a product that you know your audience wants, working smarter and learning with your customer about their needs. Using a structured methodology around your development can help to streamline the process, letting you make your product better, faster. Of course, this only applies to customized development situations, and is inappropriate for any product that requires safety testing. Moving forward, the question to be answered is what is an MVP, and how can it be of use to you?
A Minimum Viable Product is different from a prototype in that a prototype isn’t necessarily conceived or intended to go to market. By testing the market with a Minimum Viable product, you can learn about what consumers want, touch base with early adapters, and establish communication with your user base for feedback. Initially, you need to decide what the minimum usable iteration of your product would look like. This method works best with more malleable mediums, such as software development – don’t let that discourage you from taking this method’s lessons to heart. Releasing anything that isn’t completed or at its best is a hard thing to do, but if that’s made clear and kept in mind from the beginning, early adapters to new technologies within your targeted audience will be interested in following the development of your product. It’s important to set both expectations for early iterations during development, and specific milestones you or your development team would like to accomplish with each new iteration.
The goal is to learn what the underlying needs of your customers are and how you can either modify or continue onward in order to meet them. A development project can often take months, if not years, and keeping an open channel of communication with your customers is key to keep tabs on their shifting needs in order to adapt to them. Creating early customer engagement helps to ensure a more successful reception upon the final launch.
Needs Change – Knowing When to Pivot
Having to alter your initial vision or face failure is a difficult crossroads to navigate. Especially after development has been underway for either several months or years, changing the concept that spurred that initial passion and ambition in favor of what the customer wants is hard. However, as mentioned earlier, success partially requires having a product that people want. Knowing when to swallow your pride and pivot, altering the course of the development, is an important skill to acquire. Customer needs and the market state may be out of your control, but how you approach them makes all the difference. Flexibility and simplicity are key in order to make the most of your development. It could very well allow you to release a simpler, more effective product earlier than initially expected, cutting costs overall. Using a minimalist angle and keeping milestones in mind helps to take the pressure off of a development team, breaking a massive project down into something more manageable.
Finding Success with MVP
One of the most successful games on the market today had an initial release that was coded by one programmer in 6 days. Over the first year of development, over a hundred new versions were released, with hundreds and then thousands of players providing feedback. Recently, it sold for $2.5 billion to Microsoft. Minecraft, the game in question, is resoundingly popular to the point of having achieved pop culture relevancy, releasing merchandise with major companies like Lego. Their thoughtful consideration and inclusion of the needs of their audience is arguable where their success came from. Early players were excited to see what the next release would bring, and the player base grew exponentially. Many more examples exist, such as Spotify and even Lego, who tests and refines their concepts before being released based on feedback from the children they present them to.
This can be taken as proof that through thoughtful simplification, flexibility, communication and big ideas, a development project of any scope can find success with its user base, given that it was developed with their needs in mind. This minimizes waste of resources, helping with the project’s bottom line. Foundations Notebook allows for customization that helps you work with an ever-changing set of goals and better meet your customer’s needs. There is no set solution but rather the tools to find the solution that fits best.
Erin Griffith, “Why Startups Fail According to Their Founders”, 2014. http://fortune.com/2014/09/25/why-startups-fail-according-to-their-founders/
Henrik Kniberg, “Making sense of MVP”, 2016. http://blog.crisp.se/2016/01/25/henrikkniberg/making-sense-of-mvp
Neil Patel, “90% of Startups Will Fail”, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/01/16/90-of-startups-will-fail-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-10/#1a1e0bf755e1
Vladimir Blagojevic, “The Ultimate Guide to Minimum Viable Products”, 2013. http://scalemybusiness.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-minimum-viable-products/