As a nearshore software development company that has been very active in the startup world since day one, MVP development is nothing new to us. In fact, hearing new ideas for disruptive new software products is something we do on a daily basis. In many cases, we provide a very valuable asset to these entrepreneurs by helping them scope out their MVP and build their software road map. Such a process can help technical stakeholders:
- Develop realistic expectations and gain perspective before building
- Make short, mid and long term decisions regarding their product’s features
- Obtain, manage and allocate resources and budget accordingly
For those entrepreneurs who choose to build their MVP with Teravision afterward, this process also gives valuable roots to our future relationship. Apart from being able to visualize the predictable and reliable results beforehand, seeing our team gather and analyze information and organize detailed breakdowns and road maps helps technology stakeholders get a close look at how we work before starting.
Are you bootstrapping? Need to put together a fixed scope to build your MVP? Want to know the time, budget and resources you may need for your first phase and beyond?
In this article, we outline the steps necessary to carry out this process, ways to maximize its efficiency and value, and the reasons why we take it so seriously.
Gather and Define the Requirements for Your MVP
For some earlier stage entrepreneurs and lone stakeholders, this step is as basic as general ideas and doodles. Others may have a written list of requirements and functionalities. A step further would be a set of static wireframes, and some may even have working wireframes (Invision, etc.) to provide. Whatever the form in which you choose to present these requirements, it is important that they are an accurate representation of your vision and reflect your creativity. We have seen it all, from sketches on a napkin to detailed sets of wireframes, and we know that what matters the most is that these requirements come naturally from you and your creative/product team.
Once we receive these requirements we will spend the next 3-5 days asking you questions and making clarifications in order to better understand your business goals, product plan and need for scalability. Assumptions and even suggestions on alternatives and best practices may come up from our side as well, and we will make sure you know of them.
Build a Working Document
Our team will take the discussed requirements and get to work on defining and documenting:
- Ideal tech stack for the project (programming language, frameworks, tools)
- Cloud Infrastructure (AWS, Azure, Google).
- A breakdown of the functionalities discussed for the MVP and the estimated development hours required to build them
- Necessary team size and number of sprints to get the job done (length of the project)
Review, Adjust and Deliver
The idea is for this working document to represent your specific product road map, including all features and product phases. After we have completed our scope, we will have a meeting to review our suggestions and calculations.
Taking into account the numbers we have outlined, your priorities may change. You may decide to include other features in the scope that you had originally envisioned for further down the line. Alternatively, you may choose to leave some features out for future phases. Whatever modifications you wish to make, we will make them during this session and later deliver a final, revised version.
Part of this document will also be what we consider the budget of the project, calculated based on our own hourly development rates. This will include all of the development hours outlined for the specific features plus the planning, setup, materials and other man-hours involved. An important point about this quote is the fact that it is an Agile Quote, and includes suggestions on how to launch a test version before launching a complete, full version.
We will deliver this document to you in an organized and reader-friendly format.
What to Do with this Document?
A simple and passive answer to these questions is whatever you want. You can print it, frame it and put it up on your wall if you like. However, here are some common and logical options for next steps:
Option 1: Share it with your colleagues and peers
While you were the main stakeholder in this scoping process, there may be other members of your organization or network that should take a look at this document.
Within your organization, virtually everyone will want to know what to expect when it comes to the MVP. The product and technical teams may want to review it and share their input. Members of other departments may want to evaluate how the proposed road map and results would affect their workflow. Founders and Financial decision-makers will need to review the estimated budget and begin evaluated the ROI of the project.
You may also have professional acquaintances and friends whose opinions you value, and perhaps you’d like to gather their feedback. Other entrepreneurs who have undergone similar builds can go over with you what they’ve learned, and even your friends can share their comments on your proposed road map from a user’s perspective.
Option 2: Share it with potential investors, partners or other interested parties
Part an entrepreneur or product stakeholder’s journey is, of course, raising capital and exploring the partnerships and clientele necessary to become a sustainable and successful business. It may be necessary or valuable to review this document with them to define the way forward.
Investors will, of course, want to evaluate the proposed budget. Fortunately, this document not only allows them to see the financial resources and time needed but also the exact reasons why they are needed. From a technical and product standpoint, investors will now know exactly where their investment is going.
Your product’s success may also rely heavily on an extensive partner network. You can review this document with these potential partners to make sure it aligns with their current practices as well as the customers they support.
If any additional modifications are needed due to feedback from any of these parties, just let us know and we’ll review it again together.
Option 3: Just get started!
Though helpful, the options mentioned above just may not be necessary. You may be the sole decision-maker in the process, or your entire team may have been involved and aligned from the beginning. You may already have the capital ready or set aside. Your product may be independent and rely on few or no partners and affiliates.
Sure, we’re not the only development company out there and our scoping process requires no commitment other than the time you spend to meet with us. However, if the proposed results align with your goals and all the pieces are in place, we’re ready to start right away. In fact, your MVP will be in the same hands of the leadership you have worked with throughout the scoping process, and thanks to our “bench” concept we can typically put the rest of the team together to begin within days.
Most importantly, the proposed results you have seen are the results you can expect. Our goal in scoping your MVP is to provide predictable outcomes as your development partner, so you can manage your business accordingly.
Conclusion: Why Do We Do It?
Believe it or not, this question comes up all the time. Because we don’t charge for this service, many people wonder why we dedicate the time and resources we do to it. Our answer is simple: It is what we do.
As a company, we live and breathe tech startups, and hearing entrepreneurs’ pitches on how they plan to solve the world’s problems never get old for us. Being able to help them reach their goals and see them succeed is what really keeps us going.
As a company, we spend every day hearing about new software ideas and evaluating how they can be developed and improved in the most efficient and successful way. Some become growing and thriving businesses. As you can imagine, for one reason or another, some others never make it to the starting line. Whether or not the timing is ideal for you to develop your MVP with us, we’re sure you’ll like our process and perhaps you’ll remember us for it further down the line. Either way, we greatly value the learning experience.