Developing towards a minimal viable product makes a lot of sense in modern markets, but there are quite a few ways for a nascent company to put its foot in the muck and find itself out a lot of capital to no benefit. To make sure your team gets everything right for developing MVP’s, make sure you keep these common major missteps firmly in mind:
Developing a solution for an ill-defined problem
Building a product in search of the problem it’s solving is quite the disaster for any startup, but when you’re looking at developing MVPs, the issue skyrockets in priority and precision. Why? Because if you’ve misidentified the specifics of the problem you’re trying to solve, you might just cut an absolutely crucial feature for your MVP to actually be viable. And even if you’re doing your homework and asking prospects about what features they need and don’t need, if you misunderstand the problem, you might not even understand the questions you need to ask.
Trying to put together a successful startup MVP without all the right team members and tools will generally meet with failure. The perception that you can throw together a workable MVP with two or three people using a bunch of freeware isn’t wrong per se, but it is naïve. To make an MVP you can hang a company on and trust your capital to, you’re going to want a proper development studio; whether that entails hiring employees, finding partners, or outsourcing is up to you, but you need a real team.
Ideally, your MVP won’t require as much infrastructure to make happen as a fuller featured iteration of your idea, but it still requires a cohesive, effective system of development, record keeping, logistics, and so on. Make sure you’ve thought about how the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of development will work before you jump forward and start tripping over mundane issues.
Choosing a poor ‘minimum’
Perhaps the most insidious misstep of MVP development lay in misidentifying what your ‘minimum’ should look like. You need to remember, the goal isn’t to figure out the cheapest product you can get someone else to pay for. It’s to figure out the minimum viable product — the leanest version of your product you can produce and build your startup upon. That means it needs to work. It needs to solve the customer problem. Make sure you’re talking to potential customers and asking them what they need.