Minimum Viable Product (MVP), a concept which has been coined and popularized by Frank Robinson, Steve Blank, and Eric Ries has garnered a lot of attention in the recent past. While a lot has been written about and talked about the concept and its use, there is little information is available on what exactly goes into building a MVP and what should be the technology considerations. The primary objective of developing a Minimum Viable Product is to gather quick feedback, make faster iterations without having to worry about huge costs and get some real ideas for the final product. Apart from the core idea behind the product, the choice of technology for the MVP also makes a lot of impact on the quality of the customer feedback.
Over the last several years, Clarion has worked with several early stage startups and small businesses and helped them build their MVPs. Many startup founders and owners don’t have a fixed idea about the technology to use and what to look for in the technology. Sometimes, large scale enterprise applications also start off as a MVP and then get further developed into a fully functional application.As their trusted technology partner here is the guide we provide to them -
There cannot be a single answer on which technology to use for MVP. The choice of the technology depends a lot on the functionality to be included in the MVP. While many MVPs were built using RoR, a lot of others were built using PHP. Sometimes, using existing options like Facebook Connect makes more sense than building something from scratch. If creating a good mobile experience is important for you, then you need an excellent front-end technology. In a nutshell, don’t go only by the opinion of the technology experts. First, define the core functionality which you want to include in your MVP and then decide the technology stack.
As a startup building an MVP, you don’t want to spend a fortune on building the MVP itself. After all, it’s only for getting quick feedback from your users. Instead of going with costly technologies, see if you can leverage the open-source technologies. However, be mindful of the development costs as well. Sometimes, hiring a developer for a specialized technology might cost you a lot more than imagined. You also need to take into consideration other costs such as hosting costs, licensing requirements, costs of technology frameworks, etc.
There seems to be a general consensus that MVP should be built without caring too much about scalability. However, this belief can lead to terrible failures later. While we do agree that MVP is not the end product, it needs to eventually grow into a scalable final product. The technology you choose should allow you to build a scalable architecture for your final product. If your MVP is just about testing the product idea, then just building a landing page could serve the purpose without actually building any tech product. However, if you want your users to actually try the product, then you need to build a working product which can be scaled quickly. You should consider success and definitely consider that the media coverage for your MVP will get you a whole bunch of new users and the technology you use for your product should be able to scale fast to handle the load.
Ease of Change:
The very idea of developing an MVP is to get feedback and make quick changes to the product. The technology stack should allow making the changes with ease. It should allow simple iterations and implementation of changes quickly and easily. Agile is fast becoming the chosen project management method for the development of MVPs because the changes and redirection in software development are very common and Agile makes it easier to manage those. Also, because of open channels of communication, the product owners are more engaged and are effectively able to contribute ideas on an ongoing basis.
With no upfront commitment, no worry about maintenance or upgrade, SaaS service is one of the best ways to go. It can potentially save you a lot of time and resource. For example, you can always use services like Google Apps to collect user information, kissmetrics or mixpanel for analytics, LiveChat or LivePerson for customer support chat, ZenDesk for customer support, GoodData, RJ Metrics or Google Analytics for data collection and analysis, or Chargify or Recurly for billing services.
Availability of Talent:
Early stage startup founders often face the shortage of engineering talent. However, choosing the right technology stack depends a lot on the availability of right engineering team members. While a certain technology, say PHP, might be old but very suitable for your product, some developers might not want to use it because it is not considered as innovative. On the other hand, newer technologies like NodeJs might attract more developers but you might have a limited talent pool to choose from. Ideally, such factors should not decide the choice of the technology. At Clarion, we suggest the best suitable technology for the MVP based on the product users’ profile, functionality, and plan ahead. Our clients value the fact that with Clarion, they have ready access to 400+ highly skilled developers with expertise in different technology areas.