How to build a Minimum Viable Platform using agile

  • Posted By: Jay Tiwary

Tech startup ideas start with developing an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to validate the idea and then scale up to the full-featured product. But the definition of MVP is often confusing and people struggle to strike a balance between the wish list and must-have features of the early product they wish to launch. Most of them agree to adopt agile methodologies and consider the feature list they have prepared as part of Idea exploration as an MVP product. They fail to accept the fact that product development is a process and the final product will come through the journey.

What is an MVP? as per Eric Ries of the lean startup:

"the minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort."

The key aspects are “minimum set of features”, “customer feedback”, “idea validation” and to do so you may develop the smallest thing you can build that delivers customer value. I have had a chance to deal with a number of entrepreneurs and what I noticed is many of them cant enlist an MVP vs Final product which clearly means that they have no idea what could be an MVP and they believe the feature set they have thought of till date as MVP feature list.

Here are some simple questions that can help you before you plan your MVP feature list:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. How are you going to solve it?
  3. Trying to solve diversified problems with multiple solutions?
  4. What are the minimum features to validate my solution?

If you are trying to solve many problems at a time with multiple solutions there are more chances of failing the objective or you may end up delivering a feature-rich product than just MVP. Try to prioritize the features using agile MoSCoW principles, the must-have should have, could have, and won't have. Set a timeline to deliver the product and iterate through the features with an objective to deliver all must-haves and whatever you from the should have's and could have been in the given timeline. The key to doing this is "early launch", "fixed time" and "fixed cost". If you have many problems to solve, go with multiple releases solving one problem at a time. The iteration steps should be:

  1. Launch the MVP within a defined demographic knowing your user base
  2. Collect the statistics
  3. Collect feedback from the users
  4. Analyze the feedback and update the product, new release

Iterate & build the right way:

Once you have discovered the feature list you need to develop for your product, setting the priorities of the feature list is important. It's not that easy unless you have a pre-validation of the idea and you clearly know the most important thing to solve the problem and there are features around. Many startups fail because they start building an MVP without proper pre-validation, and end up with products that nobody uses. Agile methodologies is a great help and very close to delivering MVP products, with defined iterations, you can set priorities for each iteration, and building the product in a scalable approach than building in parts that actually doesn't solves the complete problem. The following picture is the right example of choosing the features and scaling it up

mvp stages

The agile iterations and discovering each iteration in retrospect


Having said that an MVP should have just minimum feature however it must have the feature to validate the idea. It cannot have a broken product or a buggy product. A common mistake people make is to assume that the MVP can be really buggy or ugly. This is not the case. While the MVP does not necessarily need to be polished to perfection, it needs to contain a set of required features—ones that work properly and delight the user. If your software is broken or looks unfinished, it will give an awful first impression and deter users.

Over enthusiasm and ignorance of architecture, process & marketing tools

Many entrepreneurs because their overenthusiasm keeps on stacking multiple features leaving the most important tools needed to market the product initially. The feature list of the product must have the right tools to market, maintain, and collecting the analytics, its not just the core features list. Social sharing, promotions, discounts, SEO, analytical tools, affiliate marketing are some tools that must be considered while developing the product. Simultaneously products should be developed on the right tech tools and architecture the way it could be maintained & scale up easily. Many entrepreneurs make these mistakes and end up rewriting in case it doesn't meet the objectives of digital marketeers or has been badly architected.

The best approach

Hire the right set of people at the right time, create a team to create the value proposition together not doing in bits and pieces. Most of the early startups fail to understand the importance of different aspects of the product and just focus on one thing which is available to them. Freelancing platforms have given access to hiring developers of budgetary choice which may not be sufficient to build or vision the product and build the product on the right architecture to scale up. Yes, it is MVP that doesn't mean it cannot be scaled, it should have the right standard practices involved from day one which actually helps to deliver to maintain the product for a longer run. The validation of idea in a given timeline and demographic sometimes could be misleading and could take time and needs multiple releases to really understand the impact. Build a product that gives you sufficient tools to market, analyze, maintain & scale.

How should I do?

Hire a team considering all the aspects mentioned above, trust me it not going to cost much, it could have some cost involved but it reduces the chances of failure. Choose a team or individuals who understand agile right, MVP right, define your process and timelines, launch as early as possible and then keep updating based on the constant feedback. Icodelabs has the right people have worked with many startups, contact the team to help you to build the right way.



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