Lean MVP development for high-tech startups
Perhaps, you know that many high-tech startups are now adopting the lean approach and agile MVP development practices to create marketable products with maximized customer value. The main idea of lean MVP development is to build a fine-tuned software product based on real market feedback and ultimate customer satisfaction.
The lean approach allows startup teams to efficiently develop the simplest products possible with short delivery cycles and fewer resources involved. As a customer, you don’t waste time and money on in-depth market research and time-consuming project planning, and your go-to-market strategy gets more realistic thanks to interactive prototypes that let you see and try must-have features before market launch.
Below is an essential guide to lean MVP development for startups that focus on innovations and high-tech products.
Agile goes first
Over the past decade, Agile has become one of the most trendy and efficient approaches to software development in IT enterprises and startups. In essence, it is a simple statement for organizing the software development process by 4 values and 12 principles which are known as Agile Manifesto.
Perhaps, Scrum and Kanban are the most widely adopted methodologies that use the Agile Manifesto to deliver commercial software products. Scrum and Kanban allow high-tech startups to stay flexible at any step of the development process and deliver MVPs on time, on budget. An Agile-oriented company is likely to implement the Scrum or Kanban concept to make its MVP development transparent and opened.
The search terms “scrum,” “kanban,” and “agile” demonstrate similar trends in Google Trends, which seems to be another sign of both methodologies dominating among Agile product development.
Now let’s set it clear what “lean” and “MVP” mean and why lean MVP software development matters for high-tech startups.
Lean means developing a value-added product for customers fast and with fewer resources. It is a startup product development approach to balance delivery time, value, and resources, ensure customer satisfaction, and optimize the go-to-market strategy. A lean product maximizes customer value while minimizing waste.
A lean software startup understands customer pain points and focuses on creating a perfect product for the customer through an agile value creation process that has zero waste.
MVP – Minimum Viable Product
It is a market-ready product version that has sufficient features and functionalities to gather comprehensive market feedback and identify potential and priorities for continuous product improvement. Based on these findings, the team creates another MVP and tests its traction on the real market again. This lean MVP development cycle takes place over and over again until the ultimate customer satisfaction is reached.
They are innovators that create something new by using the latest technologies and product development ideas. Such companies often deal with extremely risky IT projects and get high payouts in return.
As high-tech startups create, explore, and implement innovations in uncertain markets, they have to learn the latest product development trends and adopt emerging technology frameworks and concepts.
Now, let’s combine all three titles to come up with this definition:
Lean MVP development is a transparent, highly efficient approach of startup product development to build, validate, and launch a market-ready product with minimum resources as fast as possible. This approach best fits high-tech software and innovation development where high risks and uncertainties are mitigated by fast market feedback, agile quality checkups, and continuous product improvement.
The basic formula of lean MVP development
Ongoing product validation, experiments, and short sprint schedules constitute the basic formula of lean MVP development for high-tech startups. The development team focuses on building a sufficient set of features and functionalities using short delivery cycles (usually 1 or 2 weeks) to release a minimum viable version to the market and see if it has demand.
If the MVP gets traction, the team keeps working on product improvement according to the user’s expectations, and every new update is again tested and validated on the real market. If the demand is insufficient, the team collects market feedback to understand the weak sides of the MVP and redesign it accordingly.
Six essentials of the lean MVP development process
To note, every startup is likely to have its specific methodological framework to MVP development based on lean and agile approaches. So the given below essentials may vary from the ones you can see in a startup.
Our development team at Digi117 has tested and adopted these steps in dozens of MVP development projects to address a customer’s product strategy, users, requirements, and budget.
#1. MVP strategy workshop
When a potential customer reaches out with a product development request, first we need to understand the customer’s pain-point and expectations. A product strategy workshop is proven to be an excellent way to work closely with the customer to identify MVP requirements, line up priorities, and map out the overall go-to-market strategy.
#2. Lean product roadmap
Generally speaking, the customer wants the future product to get traction as soon as possible. To make this happen, we need to come up with a minimum viable version of the product comprising must-have features and functionalities, plus MVP development should be lean and aligned with the customer’s spending.
Based on market research, competitive analysis, and customer feedback, we work on creating a product roadmap to outline the minimum viable features and components, set up priorities, and plan for timeframes and budgets. Extra features are carefully listed in the product backlog and can be added to the roadmap at next sprints. Additionally, we build user journey maps and identify user personas to develop a functional and user-friendly MVP design.
#3. Data-driven MVP design and prototyping
Data-driven MVP design involves the use of user and product data to create user experiences and UI that resonate with the sensible logic of the MVP. A/B test campaigns, live smoke testing, user feedback, product analytics reports are a few examples of the data sources that we track to ensure excellent UX/UI, and build interactive prototypes.
#4. Kanban-based development and QA
We use Kanban for incremental product development and quality assurance to integrate the MVP into the customer’s existing workflows and requirements, making it possible to react to changes and match the go-to-market strategy. This approach allows our development team to control quality and deliver the simplest marketable MVP, without spending too many resources on that.
#5. MVP deployment and DevOps
It is about deploying, migrating, and integrating the MVP by using agile and scalable сloud platforms such as AWS and Azure, as well as self-hosted server solutions. We configure high-performance and analytics databases, deploy multi-server environments, and manage end-to-end engineering processes to deliver maximum MVP performance and scalability – painlessly. The product gets ready for onboarding new users and gaining traction. It’s a real market launch.
#6. Continuous product improvement
We collect and analyze early market feedback iteratively to test how the MVP meets the customer’s KPIs and solves a defined problem for the target audience. Continuous improvement is an indispensable step of the lean MVP development process to find and fix issues, fine-tune functionalities, and ultimately differentiate the product in the marketplace.