Minimum Viable Product
Updated: Sep 8
A common problem when developing an app is trying to build too much, too quickly. Non-technical people often say they need an app and explain a very well developed app. First, that is going to cost a lot of money. Second, that is making a lot of guesses. Finally, that is just not a way to be successful in development because you could be guessing what the users want wrongly.
1. Cost a lot of money
Building an app is difficult and there are many pitfalls. It is hard for a non-technical person to know what to do. When you go to develop software, you really need to break down items into what are called "irreducible" pieces. When you are asked to quote a project, as a developer, you are only as good as the information you have and before any code is written (or even well after), the twists and turns that will most likely happen in your plans makes for a lot of uncertainty you must account for in the quote.
The way teams operate that employ software developers internally involves the "Minimum Viable Product" (MVP) model. You're left with needing to develop the app's infrastructure (how its databases, 3rd party tools, etc.. operate) and then build on that the most important feature and continue to take feedback, watch how users use it, and iterate (ie continue to build value and drive revenue for you). This helps you build an app that users love and they are happy to hand over their hard earned money (passively, such as ads, or actively for subscription models, or some combination of the two).
2. Guessing is Required in Large Specs
As mentioned above, developers must make some pretty general quotes without going into deep detail on the issues (this costs money because it is detailed deep-dive that takes technical people's time). For instance, Login could mean just email and password, but you can't forget about forgetting (forgotten password) on your users' part. Also, Facebook, Google, and a host of others offer login services (OAuth) that could make your user's experience better. These types of options are inherent in coding. You will make innumerable decisions and when you get a quote, know that it will always be somewhere between the worst case scenario and the not so horrible scenario, but almost certainly higher than if you'd piece-by-piece the development in accordance with the industry standard agile development practices.
3. User Dissatisfaction
The process of development is built around making the user happy. If they aren't coming back to the app, using it when it is most valuable to them at least, or otherwise not engaging, your app will die. Therefore, you are best to aim for the most influential value you offer and build that version, the MVP. From this MVP, you are able to easily add pieces (at a more manageable, predictable cost). However, you still need to be able to break down the items without the help of the developer, which is extremely hard for most technical people, let alone non-technical people. On top of this, you need to coordinate development and find (and vet) the resources, which is the job of a Project Manager (PM) and is another very highly paid position that requires technical knowledge (this is what we do for our members).
Don't be in a rush to get big. Be in a rush to have a great product - Eric Ries, Writer of the Lean Startup
How We Help Our Members
We take the approach of being the "tech partner" slash PM for our members. The tech gives advice and is there to answer questions, as well as doing the heavy lifting when developing the code, sourcing the technical talent and vetting them,the quoting and talking to the technical team (coders, UI, and more). This is all covered in the per item quotes at a flat rate fee of which you set the pace and budget.
That way, you get a set hourly cost for every piece of your development and can confidently plan. If the quote is inaccurate for a sprint that has been started (paid for), we take the hit and that is very common (the project being harder than anticipated) in development. However, with our experience, we can not only help you make the most economical solutions, but the best results.
We want your success to drive our success.
We will help you build a free quote on our Mercury Platform, just Contact Us and we'll be in touch.