When you commit to a development partner to build your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), there are some expectations you should have for how that process should look. There’s more to it than cost-efficiency. A truly agile MVP software development process is about iteration, scalability, and adaptability as you learn more about the needs of your users.
Here are some tips for how to effectively manage an MVP development project:
Iterate with Data
Iteration allows you to gain valuable user feedback to validate your business or pivot toward a stronger product-market fit. Iteration is also a crucial component to staying competitive. In order to enhance the user experience, you need to know how users are interacting with your platform. You can – and should – gather that information in multiple ways, through product analytics and through live conversations with your customers. Your team needs to be on a first-name basis with your initial user base. We share more about meaningful performance metrics for MVPs in this post.
Beyond user data, your product also needs to evolve with market conditions and emerging tech trends; it’s important to conduct market research regularly and stay engaged with industry experts.
Prioritize Features for Iteration
Prioritization is key to a lean development strategy. In the Agile methodology, the Value Versus Effort model helps developer teams consider the effort (resources, hours, and investment) it would take to implement a new feature. The more effort required to create a feature, the more value it has to offer in order to justify the investment. Developer teams use this to score features and rank them from high to low priority, and it can be a really effective way to organize a backlog of updates to the platform for continuous improvement.
The key to effectively using a Value Versus Effort model to prioritize features is to estimate value and effort accurately. Humans, even smart ones, tend to overestimate value and under-estimate effort. When this happens, it’s common for the “mission critical” list of features to be overloaded, creating confusion for the developer team. Remember: if everything is critical, then nothing is.
The value of a feature can be assessed in a couple of ways: first, a common feature request from multiple users is a good indicator of value. Another way to estimate value would be to measure the cumulative Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) from all the customers that asked for a feature.
Accurately assessing effort comes with time and experience for a developer team, and retrospective exercises can help with this. When teams track the estimated time to produce and launch a feature against the actual effort and take time to review it in a retrospective, they can identify bottlenecks and refine processes so that their estimates grow more accurate over time.
Bottom line: a Value Versus Effort model is most effective when it’s based on real data, not vibes.
Make it Scalable
One of the reasons we’re so committed to Agile development as a methodology is because it takes scalability into consideration from the beginning. By starting small and keeping the codebase clean as we go, and monitoring performance metrics closely, we can design a flexible architecture that accommodates future growth. We can identify bottlenecks and scalability challenges early in the process and allocate resources to address them as the user base grows.
Know When to Pivot
Sometimes, even with thorough market research and strategic alignment with your development partner, a product-market fit isn’t quite right. An Agile MVP process allows us the earliest chance to identify misalignment and pivot. When key metrics and milestones are consistently missed, despite iteration, it may be a signal that it’s time to pivot and make a fundamental change to your product’s direction in order to achieve long-term success. Flexibility and a willingness to adapt are key to making an informed decision (and hopefully, your team has already defined the cost of failure so that you know before you reach that point.)
Maintain Clean Documentation
Clean, well-documented development processes enhance collaboration on MVP development:
It enhances collaboration between you and your development partner because you’re both clear on goals and guidelines.
It leads to faster, more efficient development cycles.
It creates a smoother onboarding experience for new team members by reducing the learning curve.
It ensures consistency in the development processes, reducing the risk of errors.
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 development is highly effective at giving our clients the optimal chance at success. Our team of seasoned developers are here to help you get your MVP off the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible. Reach out to learn more.
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.