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We are continuing our series of articles on how to build a successful MVP. Today we will get down to the real business and the most interesting part. We will tell you how to validate funding and choose features to be included in MVP. If you have missed our first article, it might be useful to check it here. And now roll your sleeves up and get ready for our MVP tutorial.
Step 3. Validate funding
By this step, you have already figured out a unique problem or unique solution as well as have a certain vision and scope of what you want to develop. You understand the risks and have some understanding of your final product. You know the risks and understand how to manage them.
It is a perfect time to take a step back, look your future product over and validate funding. Many entrepreneurs are so inspired by their idea that they skip this funding step. And make a huge mistake. Of course, if you have an infinite amount of money, that is not a problem at all. But usually, the budget is very limited. So funding questions shouldn’t be avoided.
Since you already have already documented the vision and scope of your project, the best thing you to do now is asking the Company that is going to develop it for a general estimate of the cost of the project. But please remember, there’s still plenty ambiguity, so never ever ever ever judge it as the real cost of the product. The “ballpark” estimate or rough estimate you will almost never be the same as the final detailed estimate. Its only purpose is to provide general guidelines for the cost of the project. So don’t rely on it heavily.
It is also a good time to find out how much money you are ready to spend on the whole project and how you would like to allocate the money specifically. This will help you, later on, build you would later help you in building a milestone plan. (Set your milestones?)
You should be realistic about the financial returns you expect from the product. Your current expectations might too high. It is better to plan for smaller financial gains than to unrealistically expect larger gains only to fail. If you earn more later, it would only be a pleasant surprise.
Step 4. Choose basic features
Now it’s the right time to take your knife and cut out the redundant parts. Let’s first ask: What is MVP? MVP is a minimal viable product, which means that it is both minimum and viable.
What is the minimum for your product?. Basically, you can learn this by asking yourself the same question, when looking at each feature: WILL THE USER BE ABLE TO USE THE PRODUCT WITHOUT IT?
For example, when we were working on Volition project, we knew that it wouldn’t be possible for an online store to get away without listing products, basket, payment system, user account.
Features like this formed the basis of the MVP. The same thing should happen to your product. Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’ to any of the additional features you love, but can live without. This is not the end of composing MVP, we will pay special attention to them later. But if you put too many features as ‘must’, it will increase the final cost and postpone the first delivery.
In fact, this question is more complicated than it seems at first glance. There might be some features you are doubtful about. That is OK, no worries. Just put them into some kind of ‘Maybe’ column. If you have budget issues, they will be the first to be let go.
By the end of this step, you will have the list of ‘must’ features and maybe a few of ‘maybe’ ones.
Step 5. Choose a kick feature
OK, now you have the list of some boring product, which would work, but probably won’t win your customers’ hearts. So let’s make it a little more viable, which means let’s add some kick features that will help your product stand out among competitors.
Basically, this is where you get to the features you love. In the case of Volition of all the features, we enjoyed most was giving customers the ability to vote for upcoming products. This really made the company one of a kind. Of course, it was the first on the “kick list”.
You can have more than one feature, but we recommend keeping the list short. It is always hard to refuse from some great ideas, but basically, the fact that they are not included in MVP doesn’t mean that you won’t have them. It just means that you will be able to deliver the Phase 1 product earlier, so it will spend more time in the world and start earning money for you earlier.
Keep in mind that after you finish your MVP, you will be able to get down to all of the other features, just with some portion of work released. And by adding more features to MVP you are simply postponing release deadline and nothing else. It is much better to release a basic product and send updates every month than spend another half a year on features that can wait.
Besides, once the product is released, your customers might give you a hint on what they want most and their understanding might differ from yours.
Questions? Comments? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below.