NAVIGATING THE UNKNOWN
Having a large software project in front of you is daunting — we get it. But help is available. By leveraging a technique called Minimum Viable Product (MVP) validation, experts can guide you through the “how” of building a large application. This will give you and your stakeholders a clear picture of how your application will be developed and how your application will get to market — faster.
WHY DO YOU NEED MVP VALIDATION?
Before we dive into what the MVP validation process is and how it works, we want to walk you through why it’s an important first step. At Shift, we have had plenty of clients come in through our doors asking how we can build a feature-rich application that does everything under the sun. When we begin to walk through the effort and timing of building such a rich application, the client quickly becomes overwhelmed with cost and the length to build each and every one of the ideas presented to us. Getting to market could take years and consume a budget that isn’t viable for the client.
But, there is hope. By leveraging MVP validation, companies can ensure that an application not only accomplishes key business goals but also launches to market on time.
WHAT IS IT?
The Shift version of MVP validation is an exercise where a team of software developers and delivery leads work directly with you and your stakeholders to break down a large project by defining the product vision, key business goals and an aligned feature set.
The team works together through a series of meetings to determine what is built and released first for maximum impact (i.e., the Minimum Viable Product). This is completed by leveraging insights gained from subject matter experts on the client side as well as Shift’s software development expertise. Additionally, this process allows us to provide a more accurate timeline and budget for the application.
Keep in mind, when we say “Minimum Viable Product,” we’re not proposing the release of an unfinished or unusable application. Instead, think of it as zeroing in on the first iteration of your build, which will allow you to gather valuable user feedback on core functionalities before developing a more advanced, final product — ultimately, getting you to market faster.
Here is how we guide and define a Minimum Viable Product through our validation process:
- Minimum — Necessary features that the application must have.
- Viable — Features that must achieve what the end user is expecting.
- Product — Something that enables user interaction and achieves key goals defined by the business unit.
Typically during the validation process, our team will take a deep dive into software development and possible engineering spikes where light development has started. We also conduct meetings to define and prioritize requirements, work closely with stakeholders to outline business goals with the business, and engage our user experience team to further define the user and audience.
WHAT IS THE OUTPUT OF MVP VALIDATION?
After the MVP validation process is completed with Shift, you won’t be left empty handed. You’ll receive a treasure trove of information on how to build your product and get it out the door fast. Details will include everything from a backlog of development tasks to a budget and development roadmap. Everything you’ll need to succeed.
Here’s a full list of the typical MVP validation outputs you would get:
- Backlog — A list of core features and corresponding details within each task build, input directly into our project management system.
- Roadmap — A high-level timeline of the project containing the order of features we plan to develop.
- Budget Estimation — A budgetary estimate based on the Minimal Viable Product scope.
- Wireframes / Prototypes — Depending on the scope, some clients also request wireframes or prototypes, which would be provided at the end of the project.
- Research — Depending on the scope, our user experience team will provide research and insights on key users and audiences.
THINKING MVP VALIDATION IS YOUR NEXT STEP?
Depending on the size of the application, the MVP validation process with Shift can take about a month. However, we’ve had great success with the process to date and find MVP validation to be critical to the success of applications.
If you’re interested in seeing an example of MVP validation in action, you can check out our case study on Sukup Manufacturing Co. If you are interested in starting a project with us or have questions about MVP validation, you can request to start a project or reach out at [email protected].
This article was written by Eric Rowley, Director of Project Management at Shift.