You’ve Got Your Minimum Viable Product…Now What?
Sean McGowanJanuary 16th, 20183 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
Finally, after weeks of ideation, prototyping, testing, agonizing over what features to include, it’s finished: your first minimum viable product, or MVP, is ready for release. But what’s the next step? Where do you go from here?
The answer is to build a minimum viable product.
This is not exactly a popular answer, but it is the correct one. And that’s because your minimum viable product isn’t a product, but an ongoing process. It’s not an ends, it's a means—a methodology to separate the signal from the noise, to find the kernels of profitability and marketability within an idea that’s yet to be fully realized.
This isn’t to discount the first iteration of your minimum viable product—on the contrary, it’s a critical step in the path to launching a successful product or business. But it is still just a step, and UX company Codal is here to help you climb the rest of the stairs, until you reach a truly complete product.
A Process, Not A Product
Ignoring retesting and revalidation is a surefire way to kill your burgeoning product, and it’s something nearly everyone, from startups to enterprises, fail to do properly. In fact, one of the most common mistakes made in MVP testing is an unintuitive one: they focus too much on the MVP.
Successful MVP tests don’t just answer technical, or even design-based, questions about the product (although those are important!). The best MVP testing also validates foundational business hypotheses, and about the viability of the market it exists in. In other words, you’re not just testing the MVP. You’re testing the market it exists in and even the customers you’re targeting.
That’s because the digital product design process is inherently based on assumptions, and the riskiest ones need to be tested. Often times startups forget to test the most crucial assumption of all: is there a need for this product? In fact, a report by CB Insights found that 42% of startups failed because they never researched the answer to that question.
Some of these assumptions are tested during the actual design of the MVP—in Codal’s blended Agile process, our designers conduct user interviews, surveys, and tests to validate their assumptions and assure the product meets customer expectations.
This is done through iterative prototyping and wireframing, to avoid the disaster of building out an entire product, only to find the user doesn’t want, need, or like it. Designing products with the Agile methodology is an excellent way to test assumptions, but because of time or resource constraints, it’s not feasible for every single assumption to be validated while making the initial MVP.
The most important ones—is there a market for this, does the user need it—definitely need to be tackled. But not every one can be tested at first. That’s why the MVP is a process, not a product.
MVP Success Stories
This understanding of MVPs is baked into Codal’s design process. One of Codal’s clients, SpendWitty, approached Codal back in 2015 with a simple idea: a platform to connect shoppers to the small businesses in their area. SpendWitty envisioned an application where local vendors could offer subscription-based promotions to their customers, and manage them with a merchant-facing CRM platform.
In forming our design strategy for this new product, Codal included further user testing and analysis of the MVP in the actual market, to determine which functions and features needed fine-tuning, and which didn’t require adjustment.
In another case study, Codal’s design strategy for HealthyAmplified involved predicting the user feedback and testing. After designing and developing an MVP under deadline for the healthcare platform, Codal created backlogs in our project management system that planned out potential iterations and adjustments to make to the MVP.
While the product is still being tested, Codal leveraged its experience to position itself proactively, anticipating user challenges and readying for the next stage in the MVP process.
Your MVP & Codal
Crafting an MVP, and the constant iterating and updating that follows, can be exhausting. The process can require a significant amount of time and energy, but at the end of the day, it’s necessary. Every successful product has undergone the MVP process in some shape or form.
To lessen the burden, UX design agency Codal can help with every stage of the MVP process, from the first iteration to a fully realized product. Our expert designers, technologists, and business analysts are masters in all phases of building a robust digital products. Contact us today and see how Codal can help with your product design and launch!