In product development, Minimal Viable Products (MVPs) are the linchpin between an idea and a successful solution: everything hinges on whether this fledgling product can garner meaningful feedback that your team can use to iterate, refine, and scale your product. Get the feedback process right, and you have the information and attention of your users to drive business growth. Get it wrong, and the wheels are going to fall off, as the saying goes.
But mastering feedback from MVP iterations is complex and time-consuming. You have to answer a bunch of questions: What are you trying to learn? How will you measure success/failure? What tools and strategies will capture the feedback you’re seeking? Which features should you prioritize for development?
In this post, we’ll walk you through five tips for mastering feedback on your MVP to optimize your learnings and build a successful product.
1 - Clarify Your Objectives and KPIs
Before you launch, you need to spend time with your team determining what you want to learn from the initial version of your MVP. Before you say “product-market fit!” hear us out: that can’t be the only or even primary goal for launching V1 of your MVP. Ideally, you’ve done your research on product-market fit early in the development process (before you build!) through strategies like a Riskiest Assumptions Test and in-depth interviews with potential users. You should be 95 - 99% sure that you have product-market fit figured out through those strategies so that you know what to build. The MVP launch should confirm what you’ve learned about the market and help you answer the question: what improvements can we make to our platform to keep customers engaged once they’ve joined: is the navigation right? Is there an additional feature they need?
2 - Choose Your Feedback Methods
Once you have an idea of what you’re trying to learn from users post-launch and the KPIs you’re seeking, it’s easier to choose the methods and tools that will give you the feedback and level of detail from users that you’re seeking.
Analytics are often earmarked for later development in new products, but that’s a risky choice. Analytics, especially tools like Google Analytics or HotJar, can monitor actual user behavior in a platform and provide objective feedback. Human memory isn’t always reliable, so having actual analytics to compare with what users are saying (subjective feedback) can help dev teams pinpoint areas for improvement.
Feedback forms are great for quick metrics to define things like your Net Promoter Score and monitor customer satisfaction.
Surveys are useful for additional objective measurement, e.g., "Rank these X features from most important to least" or "Have you used Y feature" or "If we added the ability to do X, would you use it?" or “If we remove X feature, would you be upset?”
User feedback discussion helps uncover the subjective details about user experiences. You can ask questions like, "How is this app improving your life?" or "What used to frustrate you that this app is helping to resolve?" or "What other features do you think we could add to the app that would be beneficial?"
User feedback with clickable prototypes are helpful in very specific use cases, but they’re often misused. Startups often try to use clickable prototypes to answer "Do you want this app?" which, as mentioned above, is better answered through a Riskiest Assumptions Test. Clickable prototypes are expensive to develop, so you should only be using them to answer more difficult questions, mainly around navigability and information architecture, e.g., "On this home page, do you have all the information you want to know at a glance? Anything missing? Anything here that you don't care about?" or "If you are on the home page and you want to search for a specific record, how would you do it?"
3 - Segment and Prioritize Feedback
Once you’ve gathered feedback on your MVP, it’s time to segment and prioritize feature requests for future versions of your product. Your product roadmap should serve as a source of truth in this evaluation stage, helping you to stay the course without getting sidetracked by user feedback that may not align with your core business values. There are methods like the Value Versus Effort model, which we touched on in our post about effective MVP project management, that can help your team score and rank feature requests from high to low priority. The idea is simple: the more effort required to create a requested feature, the more value it has to offer in order to justify the investment. Look for recurring themes in your user feedback: do a majority of users want the same feature? That’s a strong indicator that the effort is worth the cost. (Read more about feature prioritization here.)
4 - Make & Communicate Updates to Your User Base
Following through on revisions to the product and communicating the updates to your customers is a crucial step that builds trust and helps establish your reputation in the industry. Refining your product based on user feedback is not just a development process, it’s a marketing strategy. When you demonstrate that you’re listening and value customer feedback, it creates a positive feedback cycle where they are more likely to submit feedback and feature requests in the future, they become more invested in the success of the product, and they are more likely to recommend your business to others.
How you communicate these updates is important - in-app notifications can help users navigate new flows, but sending email newsletters and posting about valuable updates on social media can also be a powerful marketing tool. Even personalizing the updates by publicly thanking the customer who suggested them (with their permission) is a powerful gesture for building rapport. Be thoughtful and intentional about how you communicate your updates because the symbiotic relationship you build with your initial users in the MVP stage will be a springboard for attracting more users and establishing your business as a trusted partner in the industry.
5 - Repeat & Refine
Product development is a continuous process. The habits you create in your early stages will create a solid foundation to help your business scale, not only by attracting more users but also attracting funding from investors to reach the next stage of growth. Staying committed to customer centricity will help you stay competitive in the market.
If your team is struggling to develop strategies for user feedback on your product, we’re here to help. Every business is unique, with different challenges and technical requirements to consider. Our small but mighty team of product development experts can sit down with you to discuss the nuances and help you strategize an action plan for a successful MVP launch. Reach out to start the conversation today.
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.