Over the last 15 years, Grio has collaborated with companies of all sizes to create hundreds of exceptional software solutions. Though there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to building an app, we’ve discovered that starting your journey with your Minimum Value Product (MVP) is a great way to set yourself up for long-term success. In this blog series, we are taking our hard-won wisdom and sharing Grio’s ten essential steps for building a killer MVP.
An MVP, or minimal viable product, is essentially the bare-bones version of your app. Building an MVP, rather than a full-fledged app, allows you to test your product viability, engage investors, and go to market sooner, all while saving you time and money.
You can read all about the benefits of an MVP and why it’s imperative to the success of your app in our first post, How to Build a Killer MVP: Introduction.
In this week’s blog post, we cover the first step for building a killer MVP: Agile development methods and divergent/convergent thinking, both of which are essential for optimum software development.
Agile Development Methodology
Agile software development is a process of continuous, iterative product development. Product, design, and development teams work in parallel as the product evolves, adjusting and adapting as needed.
It is an iterative and flexible approach to software development that emphasizes collaboration, customer feedback, and continuous improvement. The Agile methodology was created in response to the limitations of the traditional Waterfall model of software development, which relied on a linear sequence of phases, where each phase had to be completed before the next one could begin.
The Agile approach to software development involves breaking down a project into smaller, more manageable chunks or iterations, typically called sprints. Each sprint usually lasts between one and four weeks and involves a cross-functional team of developers, testers, and other stakeholders working together to deliver a working software increment.
The Agile methodology emphasizes communication and collaboration between team members, as well as with the customer or end-user. This helps to ensure that the product being developed meets the customer’s needs and is of high quality. Agile teams also prioritize working software over documentation and place a strong emphasis on adapting to change.
There are several frameworks for implementing Agile development, including Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP). Each framework has its own set of principles and practices that guide the development process, but they all share the common goal of delivering value to the customer through iterative, collaborative, and flexible software development.
At Grio, our Agile methodology includes:
- Creating a backlog of all features (for the MVP and perhaps beyond) in the form of “user stories”
- Choosing top-priority features to implement on a weekly basis (also referred to as a “sprint”)
- Delivering workable software after each sprint
- Being open to adjusting the process based on what went well and what didn’t
Some advantages of Agile development include:
- Continuously improving the product development process
- Providing transparency for project stakeholders
- Changing course when and as needed (reprioritization)
- Getting your product to market more quickly
Popular software that can assist in adopting Agile methodology in your MVP development process includes:
These tools will help you stay organized and manage all the tasks related to fulfilling your product goals.
Divergent and Convergent Thinking
Product design should utilize both divergent and convergent thinking to create the best possible product:
- Divergent Thinking: The creative process of generating original ideas and new possibilities
- Convergent Thinking: The process of honing original ideas into the best solution
During the Discovery Phase, you will want to make use of both divergent and convergent thinking in structured exercises. In the divergent thinking process, encourage the team to dream up ideas that could make the product great to use. Nothing is off the table. Feasibility is not considered at this point. Casting a wide net can challenge basic assumptions about the product and what it should be. Divergent exercises have the potential to unlock innovative and novel features and approaches that would not have otherwise been presented.
Once all the ideas are on the table, shift to convergent thinking to whittle them down. Focus only on what is essential and practical for an MVP. When prioritizing ideas, your team should focus on multiple factors, including the effort to implement, cost, practicality, and usefulness. Your distilled ideas will be the MVP’s core feature list.
Building a Killer MVP: Next Steps
Once you’ve established your Agile development methodology and implemented divergent and convergent thinking practices during product design, it’s time for our next post, Grio’s How to Build a Killer MVP, Step 2: User Discovery- Letting User Needs Inspire Epics.
In Step 2, we’ll explore how creating epics that prioritize your users and their needs will help you form a strong foundation for your future MVP.
Let’s discuss how we can transform your brilliant idea into a killer app.
Book a free MVP consultation with one of our industry experts today.
Learn more about Grio’s end-to-end app design and delivery plan, the MVP Blueprint.
If you missed other posts in this series, check out:
- How to Build a Killer MVP: Introduction
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 1: Agile Development Methods and Divergent/Convergent Thinking
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 2: User Discovery – Letting User Needs Inspire Epics
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 3: Market Discovery – Using Market Analysis to Gain Leverage Over the Competition
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 4: Planning Phase- Creating a Plan to Successfully Navigate Your Project Milestones
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 5: Design Phase- Taking Your Product from Paper to Prototype
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 6: Development Phase- Embracing Less Engineering and More Testing
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 7: “Breaking” Your App So Your Users Don’t
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 8: Release Phase- Making Sure You Practice Before Your Public Performance
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 9: Measure Phase- Determining Your MVP’s Success Using Key Performance Metrics
- How to Build a Killer MVP App, Step 10: Maintain and Enhance Phase- Valuing the Cycle of Continuous Improvement Throughout Your App’s Lifetime