0-to-Minimum Viable Software Product (MVP): The Fun, Cheeky, and Seriously Technical Guide for Founders


building an MVP

Are you a founder looking to build a software product from scratch?

Congratulations, you're about to embark on a journey full of excitement, challenges, and potential rewards! But before you dive headfirst into coding, designing, and marketing, you need to take a step back and ask yourself a crucial question: what's the smallest, simplest, and most valuable version of your product that you can launch to your target users?

This, my dear friend, is what we call a Minimum Viable Software Product (MVP). An MVP is not a half-baked, buggy, or incomplete product, but rather a well-planned, well-executed, and well-received version that solves a real problem for a real user in a real market. An MVP is not about cutting corners or compromising quality, but about being smart, lean, and agile in your approach to product development.

So, what are the hard and fast guidelines that founders should follow when building an MVP?

Here are a few:

  • Define your problem statement and user persona(s) clearly and specifically. You need to know exactly who you're building for and what problem you're solving for them. Don't try to please everyone or solve all problems at once.

  • Prioritize your features and functionality based on user feedback and value. Don't try to include every cool idea or fancy feature in your MVP. Focus on what matters most to your users and what distinguishes your product from the competition.

  • Iterate and test your MVP early and often. Don't wait until your product is 100% perfect or polished before you show it to users. Get feedback, make changes, and learn from your mistakes as you go.

  • Be transparent, honest, and responsive to your users. Don't hide behind your product or your brand. Show your users that you care about their feedback, their needs, and their trust.

  • Have a clear and realistic roadmap for your product beyond the MVP. Don't think that launching an MVP is the end goal of your product development. Plan ahead, set goals, and adapt to changing market conditions and user feedback.

Now, let's talk about some areas to avoid entirely when building a new software product.

Here are a few:

  • Don't try to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. You can't be everything to everyone, so focus on your niche and your strengths.

  • Don't copy or clone other successful products blindly. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition, not just imitate them.

  • Don't neglect your user experience and user interface. Your product should be intuitive, easy-to-use, and aesthetically pleasing. Don't sacrifice usability for complexity or beauty for novelty.

  • Don't overpromise or oversell your product. Your MVP should be an honest representation of your product's capabilities and limitations. Don't hype up your product beyond what it can deliver.

  • Don't neglect your legal and ethical obligations. Your product should comply with all relevant laws and regulations, protect user privacy and security, and avoid harm to users or society.

Building an MVP is both a fun and cheeky adventure and a seriously technical challenge for founders. By following the guidelines and avoiding the pitfalls outlined above, you can increase your chances of success and satisfaction in your product development journey. Good luck and happy coding!