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  • Writer's pictureSylvester

Achieving Product Vision: Effective Strategies for Iteration

Getting to Launch Day for your MVP takes months (or maybe years) of hard work, and when the day finally comes you’re rewarded with … even more work. Ha! You knew this, you tried to plan for this, but it’s normal to feel daunted by the enormous effort it will take to grow your fledgling newborn app into a robust, full scale product that users trust and rely on. Continuous improvement based on customer feedback is the spirit of Agile development and the key to success of your MVP. It keeps the process manageable, lean, aligned to the product roadmap and customer-focused so that you can achieve product-market fit before you run out of capital (i.e., the reason 90% startups fail.) 

In this post, we’ll walk you through an Agile approach to product refinement so that you can make the process work for your team and give your business an optimal chance at success. 

You’re Iterating Features, Not the Whole Product

First things first, we need a mindset shift: post-launch of your MVP, you are iterating on features, not the whole product at once. You have a big, beautiful vision for where your MVP is headed and what you want it to be capable of at full scale. But getting to that robust, full scale product is best accomplished through short, iterative cycles of the features in the product. 

Let’s say your product idea is to create a virtual workout trainer using Generative AI. There are many different services that human workout trainers provide that your virtual trainer also has to be able to produce: custom workout plans, post-workout summaries and recommendations, etc. These are the features you have to build and iterate on to achieve the product vision, and there are several features within the features that you have to incrementally iterate on to make them work as desired. Let’s use one feature as an example: custom workout plans. Ideally, your virtual workout trainer will automatically generate custom workout plans based on a user’s health data from their smartwatch (Apple Health data, for example), but that seamless integration may take time to implement. An incremental step toward the goal would be to allow customers to manually input basic health data (height, weight, sex, medical history, daily diet) until the integration with their smart watch is up and running. That smartwatch integration will also make other features possible, like auto-generating post-workout summaries based on the user’s real time health metrics (heart rate, calories burned, etc). 

Product Improvement is Circular, Not Linear

Sometimes business leaders have a misaligned expectation that a product roadmap will outline, “Build Feature 1, Feature 2, and Feature 3” in a linear fashion, but in reality, it’s an evolutionary cycle that is much more incremental and circular. Product developers break down features into the incremental building blocks, and then make a plan to circle back to add another layer of improvement to the feature in question. 

Your product roadmap won’t be able to account for all of the changes you will need to make to your product to achieve your vision. Your team may have to circle back to a feature you thought was complete to revise it to customer expectations. This is why it’s important to establish a sprint cycle that is user-centric. A truly agile MVP software development process is about iteration, scalability, and adaptability as you learn more about the needs of your users. 

In a two-week sprint cycle, your team will spend the first couple of days reviewing the product backlog, prioritizing user feedback for the sprint, estimating effort and assigning tasks, and defining sprint goals and success criteria. Then they’ll spend the next several days executing on the iteration, testing it with users and making more refinements. This process requires a careful balance of evaluating user feedback and performance data against the product roadmap to discern which changes to make and whether the sprint effectively improved the overall product experience. When it’s over, they’ll start the process over again with a new set of incremental changes to build, test, and refine.

Clean Documentation

Clean documentation is an important step in the iteration process that future-proofs your product development. Yes, it takes time, but it helps the product dev team and business dev teams remember what, how, and why changes were made along the way. Remember: the people who build your product won’t necessarily be the same group who maintain it years down the road; your documentation provides valuable information to the team members who will onboard later in the life of the product. Software never stops needing attention; the cleaner your documentation, the easier your product will be to maintain for years to come. 

At Mile Marker, our “ruthlessly lean” approach to MVP iteration has helped clients bring really powerful product visions to market. Curious to learn more about our process? Let’s talk

About Mile Marker

Mile Marker is your strategic partner for Agile software development. Created for founders, by founders, we offer strategic software at startup speed. We specialize in aligning your technical work with your business goals through collaborative planning, offering a multidisciplinary development team, and ensuring ongoing support for your software. If you’re searching for a software development company or need a technical partner, start the conversation with an introductory call.


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