As you might know, I love being in tech startup game. When you are at the early stage, product development and right strategy is important. Without it you may end up spending several months, thousands of dollars on your MVP (minimum viable product) and in the end of the day, you might realise that’s not what people want.
Why to release early
To release early it takes courage. When you will release first time, if you do everything right, your product will be sh*t. Be sure of that. But you should embrace it. Because you are in testing mode. You will be testing a lot and you need to get strong while facing rejection and learn from your mistakes.
We need to release early for several reasons. Most important are:
- You will spend less overall time validating your hypothesis;
- You will get closed to your PMF (product market fit);
- You will burn less money which will let you to test more, validate more and get more clearer way towards building product for your crowd. Remember — build something people want. *wink*
Example of how can you reduce time to release
The other day I was talking with very cool people who had some very interesting idea. We talked about their startup and it felt like any typical startup what I described above — spent thousands of dollars, drafted tens and tens of features, no prioritisation of these. All what’s known is end deadline.
What’s worse, that after solid half a year building, they didn’t even release yet. Oh man. And most likely codebase will get dropped due to too much of bugs and spaghetti code.
Lessons learned, that’s the good thing.
We went deeper into their product and tried to understand clear goal and how it can be validated. After that was done — we clearly wrote down couple of requirements which might validate their USP (unique sales proposition).
From more than 6 months of dev. time we managed to reduce MVP’s time more than half. But I wanted to try to get even less. What came into my mind was Payments. Their integration took quite a while, at least couple of weeks spanning to more than a month. How can we reduce time of it, how can we make payments work with less time. Do we even need them?
In the end of the day yes — we selected we need some payment mechanics. Since it’s P2P, people must be able to send money to others. And here I got the idea — what if we don’t implement payment engine at all into the app and have fake payments?
For the MVP stage and validation it can be done as follows:
- Make most minimal payments implementation;
- User transfers money to other person;
- They receive a message that money will be transferred to others account within x days;
- Company manually transfers money to the person.
By doing this, we ended up saving tons of time and get much closer to release.
Of course it involves manual work but again, you will need to do lots of manual work until you really know what people want. Otherwise you might end up being too perfect which will get you into infinite loop of never releasing.
I hope this example can encourage you, startup people, to release your MVP early and try to think out-of-the box of ways, how can you reduce the time of development.
Embrace your failures and keep believing your dream!