Launch Your MVP

Once you confirm your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), obtain market validation, and receive interest from early adopters, you need to start the process of getting an MVP into their hands.

Overview

The primary goal at this stage is to properly scope and deliver an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Spend the least amount of effort needed to release a product that will start bringing value for customers.

The MVP will enable you to get your product out to the market and get feedback.  Keep the product’s feature set as limited as possible to help reduce development costs.

Release small versions quickly and start collecting real product feedback from the market so you can focus product development efforts.

It’s important to maintain high-quality standards and a good balance between “perfect” and “quick”. It depends on your market and ICP, however in many cases some quality can be sacrificed at the MVP stage to allow you to gather quick, early feedback.

Milestones

You need to select a scope for your MVP so that it provides the customer with core features that bring value to them and solves their problems, but at the same time you need to minimize the amount of work your team needs to do to release the MVP. Failing to do that will inevitably lead to overspending on the project, will increase complexity and maintenance cost and will delay the moment when you can collect meaningful feedback from early adopters.  

Once there is reasonable progress in defining the scope of the MVP, validate the scope with your early adopters. This will enable you to more informed decisions about how to prioritize features for the MVP.

Start drafting your Sales & Marketing strategy for customer acquisition and brand awareness. You can start with our SaaS Sales and Marketing Strategy template here. For example, your pre-launch strategy, post-launch strategy, etc. 

Start looking for a development team that can execute on your MVP and scale with you as your business grows. Don’t focus on cheapest option, focus on quality, experience, track record, and the right fit for your startup. You can consider hiring internally or outsourcing or partnering with a tech company. 

Once you have the team and resources needed, its time to get the MVP completed, leveraging Agile best practices and methodologies for development.

Warnings

Don’t forget to take into consideration best engineering practices

Despite the fact that an MVP implies there are going to be imperfections and lots of change requests, your product team should also leverage best practices around scalability, user experience and cybersecurity, where possible. It’s going to be challenging for your development team to create an MVP, retain a high level of agility, as well as build a foundation for future growth, however, engineering best practices can help in this area.

Don’t forget to embrace agility

Throughout the lifecycle of your startup, you will be learning and pivoting a lot, so you need to embrace change. Your product team has to embrace it as well and must maintain a high level of agility as they react to market feedback you’re collecting. This is not an easy task, however there are a number of practices, processes and tools that can help.

Don’t succumb to scope creep

Keep the scope only to the minimum needed to excite users and get feedback.  Only focus on core functionality. This is critical for the success of your startup. Get the MVP out to the market quickly to collect feedback. If you include non-essential features, this will cause delays, likely contribute to unnecessary complexity of the MVP, and could create more bugs for users, possibly discouraging them. Release the MVP first, then collect feedback. You’ll then have a better sense of what features to focus on and how to prioritize them based upon market feedback instead of speculation.

Don’t neglect customer feedback

The market is the ultimate judge of the value of your product. If they are not happy, are confused, or don’t receive enough value, your startup is not going to be successful. It doesn’t mean customers should dictate how you build your product, however, you need to weigh and prioritize feedback carefully. As you receive feedback, make sure to capture it using a process, then place it into a backlog of requests so you can prioritize and react to it. Customers need to feel their needs are being considered and listened to.

Don’t focus on a “perfect” solution

At this time, the MVP is meant to be imperfect (and you should communicate that to your early adopters to set the correct expectations). You need to keep a good balance between acceptable quality and agility. The quality should be sufficient to keep your customers involved. Focus on solving customer problems, providing them with value, and maintaining a high level of agility.

Required Expertise

  • Product management
  • Project management
  • UI/UX design
  • Software development
  • Software architecting and engineering
  • Cloud infrastructure
  • Product development

How do I know I can move to the next stage?

  • You have completed development of an MVP, it’s live, and there are users engaging with it and providing feedback.
  • Users are receiving value and you have a high level of confidence they are going to stick with your product.
  • You also collected enough feedback to prioritize the next set of features and have a good understanding of how you will generate revenue from the product.

Timeline

It depends a lot on the nature of the product, however, ideally, we recommend the length of MVP development to be less than three months. If it takes more than 6 months, it’s possible your scope is too large.

Need help with challenges at this stage?

Startup Stages Guide Copilot

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