How To Successfully Build Out A Beta MVP Or Minimal Viable Product
Plus 3 Tools You Can Use To Build Your MVP
Having been involved in several successful and not so successful MVP builds for new product launches over the past 20 years, I have learned more than a few things over that time and want to share them with you.
My first big one was back in 1988. It was vastly different in some ways back then and yet eerily similar to what is going on today. The technology has improved quite a bit, but the way people work and think has not changed much at all in many ways.
Back then I had to fight with people about believing that the Internet was going to take off and be bigger than they could ever imagine and that because of Moors Law, the speed and usability of computers and the internet would increase drastically. That, plus convince them that people would actually buy things on the internet.
This was all pretty novel back then. Out of that build and dozens of other, here is what I have learned.
Your MVP Blueprint Is Everything
It does not matter if you have this written down in a fancy online mind map or on a napkin, you have to be able to articulate and draw out the whole plan for your product and site completely. Here are links to two tools that I keep in my secret arsenal that I like to use, www.bubbl.us and http://www.yworks.com/. I have not seen anyone else mention these before, but we have been using them both for years. Another one is https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/pencil/. Pencil is great for wire frames.
The MVP Blueprint is where most people fail. Once you get this done, you then build out the MVP as quickly as you can and you do not deviate from what you have written down in the Blueprint period.
You DO NOT go in and tweak things during the build, you DO NOT add any other features or functions. You do not throw in the Kitchen Sink when a Spigot Garden Hose, and a Bucket will do. If you can, get rid of the hose.
You DO build it as out as fast as you can and you get a team that can run like the wind.
The Two Most Important Items For A Successful MVP
- Get a complete layout of the look and feel of the site, create a function and logic tree and do not deviate one iota from it until the MVP is completed.
- Build out your site as fast as humanly possibly using the minimum technology needed to do so and nothing more
Never ever try and make your MVP into your finished product. This is a recipe for delays and disaster. Your MVP should be used to illustrate, corroborate, and validate your ideas for the product. It is named minimal for a reason.
Typically you may have investors or potential investors and other interested parties waiting for the MVP. So, once you have your Blueprint done and give the green light to your build team, the best thing to do is back off until it is completed.
DO NOT nit pick or get involved on the daily build out. This will only hold things up and coming from the view point of someone that builds them on a regular basis, you will only piss off the build team and cause delays.
It is helpful to get into the mind set that every time that you interfere and take 15 minutes of their time, you actually have to triple that time as being wasted. This is because when we are deep into a project and we have to stop, it usually wastes not only the time we are working on the project, but it takes a least 30 minutes to get back into the mental space we were in before we were interrupted.
Tony Schwartz in his book, The Power of Full Engagement, discusses this phenomena in detail and I highly recommend you put it on your reading list if you are getting ready to do an MVP. I have included a video of some of what is in the book below.
All of the non-successful or failed builds have come down to one simple thing. The owners simply did not know what they wanted and kept changing their minds mid-build out. I have seen what should have been a three month build out turn into a year and a half failure because of this.
Speed Equals Success
This is why it is imperative that you know what you want first and have it completely laid out, do not deviate from the plan, and get it done as fast as you can. Make sure the MVP build is lean, mean, and most importantly fast.
You can always ad features and functionality later on. But the faster your get your MVP up and running, the faster you can get people to see and use it, and it will be easier for you to raise funds and to also tweak things as you move on the Beta Version 1.1.
If you have an MVP that you need done, please contact us. We love doing them and helping bring new ideas to life. Here is where we do most of our site builds these days www.ConvertToWordPress.org .
Best of luck to you and if you have the time, I highly suggest that you watch Tony’s video below.
I am in a hurry to get this out there before my editor has had a chance to take a look at this, so all typos and grammatical errors are mine.