You have a fantastic idea for an app that you’re sure will do well. Your colleagues think it’s brilliant and so does your partner. You approach a software partner to develop your app. Their response?
❌‘Great. We estimate that to cost £XX-£XXXk. We’ll present the product in Y.’
✅‘Have you researched this product? Who is your audience? What are their needs? What does success look like for you? How are you commercialising it? How have you validated the idea?.’
Getting your product to market is a three-stage process:
1. Validate your idea: do some market research, understand your audience, can you manually deliver your product to a small audience and get them to pay for it? Common examples- if you want to develop a service, can you deliver it completely manually to one person?
2. Develop a clickable prototype. It’s likely to be scrappy and clumsy, but this gives you an opportunity to test your idea.
3. MVP (Minimum Viable Product): An MVP is the minimum required to get a high-quality production-ready product to market that people will pay for and achieve the objective.
Someone wants to develop a tool to analyse a blog, then find related content to ensure that the idea hasn’t been written before.
Step one: Define your product. Find one customer who would be an example of your target market, and deliver the product to them manually.
In the blog example, this would involve taking a blog, then finding related blogs through google trawls. It would take ages. But it would give you an example to present to your customer and you can get their opinion.
The first phase of validation probably won’t be scalable- and that’s fine. The minimum will look different to everyone. An engineer might build something in Excel for example. A tech company might build something with No Code. But it doesn’t matter how scrappy your first iteration is- as long as it allows you to test your concept.
Once you’ve proved that your product has value to your target audience, then you’re much better placed to speak with a development partner – sure, some situations dictate software is the first iteration, but there is typically always step before.
Step two: Development of a clickable design prototype.
We work with our clients to understand your target audience and how they feel in the customer journey. The product must be built around the customer using emotional intelligence. At this point we want to be designing a high-quality product which is the minimum they need to get the product to market. The plan would be to intensely research and create this prototype over approximately 6 weeks.
Step 3: Look at the minimum you need to build to take this product to market (MVP).
At this point, we focus on the core purpose of the product. We focus on creating a high-quality MVP, rather than the number of features. MVPs with too many features are victims of dilution of purpose, the focus can become quantity over quality . They are risky for two reasons- you risk the quality, but you can also cloud the core concept and distract the user. In addition, if you need to pull those features out, it’s expensive.
You’re excited about your product and you’re impatient to launch it. But don’t do it quick: do it right.