So you decided to pursue an idea of a super-duper revolutionary application. Maybe you think that what you’re left with is planning the building process of this app and dividing issues between the software development team who will get their job done.
Such a scenario resembles an already known way of thinking, connected with a project and its management. It is based on planning the actions in some sequence and budget.
Today’s complexity of the market and its fast evolution make another perspective – a product approach one – seem to be more and more powerful.
While both product – and project-based methodologies have benefits, I believe the product approach is more effective and efficient when it comes to collaborating on marketable software products.
What is Product Approach Mindset?
It is a way of thinking, a set of behaviours that make it possible to realize your product with the smallest effort, just to get to know your clients and their needs from the very beginning – before you put effort and money into fulfilling needs you are not sure of.
A product oriented approach doesn’t mean that you make a low-quality product. It also doesn’t mean that you need to create a fully working product, just a bit faster. This approach is also not about launching a product that doesn’t fulfil its requirements.
Here, the technique of building an MVP – Minimum Viable Product – comes to our aid. An MVP is based on verifying your product with the market from the very beginning. Once you get the knowledge about your customers’ behaviours and needs and confront it with your product abilities, you can start the next iteration of working on it.
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Tips on how to test your MVP
Verifying your ideas with the market means a variety of actions. For example, you could invite beta testers to cooperate with you. They are people who will use your product and give you constant feedback about which part of your app is worth developing and which is useless.
Another very effective tool for checking if you have a life interest or you’re just losing your money is using analytical tools to measure and examine your product. Google Analytics, or other similar solutions, could come in handy here. They allow you to track the traffic on your website and see if the clients use the product as they should. It’s also possible to see how many of them leave the app.
If all of the above sound strange to you, you could invite User Experience specialists to cooperate. They should be able to help you with not only the design but also the business logic of your idea in a way that would verify its purpose easily.
Humility is the Secret to Business Success
The last and the most important element, essential for going with the product approach and usage of MVP rules, is humility.
The fact that the idea appeals to you doesn’t mean that the rest of the world will also love it. And the other way round – if some group of people is not interested in your product, it doesn’t mean that is totally useless. Maybe you haven’t simply hit your target, yet.
Being a curious explorer is the only solution for fast verification of our ideas. You have a hypothesis? Find a cheap and easy way for its verification. Draw conclusions from your results and decide what your next move should be. Your return on investment is what decides the validity of your idea if you take the market profit into account.
Total Cost of Ownership and Technical Debt
When working on product development from the very beginning, you need to look after its business and technical development.
When you work with an already working product that you want to develop or change, there is a temptation to work in “Let’s make it cheap and fast” mode. There is nothing worse than that – the moment of product stabilization, or even earlier, is crucial for keeping good quality even more than at any other time.
You need to bear issues like Total Cost of Ownership or Technical Debt in mind, which increases if you don’t bother about the quality. These two increase when you don’t have quality in mind. What are TCO and TD about?
Imagine a wardrobe with clothes inside. As long as you want to keep it tidy, you need to take care of hanging the clothes each time you use them. The more clothes you have, the more time it takes. All the other issues like washing, ironing, etc. increase the total amount of work your clothes need to be readily available.
What happens if you neglect the daily routine and instead of hanging your clothes you will start to throw them to the floor? You will end up with something that in the developing world is referred to as technical debt. It makes your product more difficult to use. Total Cost of Ownership is then the total effort that needs to be put into your product maintenance.
The conclusion is: there are costs not only at the beginning of your product development. Later on, it is also the case.
Your idea is your product. NOT PROJECT
If you wanted to remember only one thing from this text, please remember that your idea is not a project, it’s a product. Let’s then deal with it like with a product – verify its meaningfulness fast, in a safe environment, draw conclusions and modify. In other words – let’s experiment. When you catch the wind in your sails, remember that not only development is a part of your product’s administration. Like everything in the universe, the software also needs to be kept and maintained, otherwise, it will run uncontrollably wild.
If you want to develop your idea into a high-quality digital product that will benefit your clients, please contact us.