Today we’re taking you on an in-depth journey through MVPs: how to get to that stage, which features to include, what to do afterwards, and more. Our guides on this voyage are Mike Scott (CEO of Nona), Ed O’Reilly (COO of Nona), and Will Green, program director at The Grindstone Accelerator.
Mike has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, and as the co-founder of Nona leads a team of award-winning software developers.
Ed is also a co-founder of Nona and has worked on over 200 software projects over his career around the world, with first-hand experience building products for a diverse range of businesses.
Will is a seasoned entrepreneur and has been involved in a wide range of startups in different capacities, including as an advisor and mentor.
Now that you’ve met the experts, let’s get started!
For those who don’t know, an MVP is the abbreviation for minimum viable product, which describes the minimum amount of features your product needs to test its viability. It’s the first usable version of your product. However, before you begin to build, there are other steps you need to take.
Before you build your MVP
Establish your hypothesis
Before you can build your product, you have to establish your hypothesis. What is the problem you are trying to solve with your product? Will your product meet a need? Do people actually want your product?
You have to cement your hypothesis before you can begin validation, because you need to know what you are explicitly trying to prove. Will compares the whole process to a primary school science class: “You’re looking at your hypothesis. What is the aim of the experiments you want to do, looking at the different methods, looking at your results, the steps, even the equipment that you need,” he says. “I think it’s so important having that sort of experimental mindset.”
Starting with a hypothesis also keeps you focused and on track. “Because if you don’t”, says Ed, “then the results that you get back can be made to fit pretty much any narrative.”
How to establish your hypothesis
“What I’ve seen so often,” starts Mike, “is people begin to build things because they think that people want them, or because they think that there is a problem that is being solved, but they actually have absolutely no proof or data at all to show.” So how do we gather this data to help us formulate the correct hypothesis?
“There are a number of steps you can take”, says Ed, “but I think it’s important to remember that the reason we’re building the MVP is to validate the assumptions we’re making, right? So it is a validation step in itself.
“Now, you can do pre-validation steps. So things that you can do beforehand would be a proof of concept effectively, a feasibility study, see if this is possible to actually achieve, maybe do a no-code prototype that you have a set of users test without actually having developed a product. You need to be pretty clear about whether a pain exists? Is there an inefficiency? Is there actually something that your target market needs?”
Select your tech partner
Now that you know what you want to validate, you can begin to build. You’re going to need someone or a team to help you with this build, especially if you aren’t technical yourself. Ed has more advice on the matter:
“If you’re needing to validate a concept that is blockchain specific you’re going to want to pick your internal or external people that have market-specific knowledge, that have that context, that isn’t going to have to relearn that stuff. To develop it in general, if you’re at an MVP stage, use people that have experienced building MVPs, use people that will know how to measure viability, use people that have measured viability before and can demonstrate to you how one would measure viability for your concept. Use people importantly, that can build something simply and flexibly.”
There’s a lot to organise before you can even begin to start building! Click here to read part two of the blog, where we discuss the next stage of the MVP process.