How to Build MVP? - EZ Talks 11 | frontendhouse.com
How to Build MVP? Team, Challenges, Tips

September 10, 2021

How to Build MVP? Team, Challenges, Tips - Experts Zone Talks #11

Krzysztof Wyrzykowski

CTO

Olga Vasylenko

Marketing Specialist
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web development(3)

To test the idea and hypothesis, and to collect customers feedback, startups usually build an MVP of the project before the full version. MVP is the product with the minimum amount of features, which has the core functionality of your product.

Today we will talk with our CTO Chris about the process of MVP development and about pitfalls of Minimal Viable product creation.

In the "How to Build MVP: Team, Challenges, Tips" episode you will find:

  • 00:50 Does every startup need MVP?
  • 01:59 How do we define and build MVP at Frontend House at Liki? What does the process of creation look like?
  • 05:03 What information about my product I have to deliver to developers to start the process of MVP creation?
  • 06:54 Do we need a large team to develop an MVP? What team members play a crucial role at this step?
  • 10:00 What are the biggest challenges while building an MVP?
  • 11:26 What is the next step after creating an MVP and collecting the feedback?
  • 13:32 Have you ever met a situation when you have too much feedback and what has to be implemented?
  • 14:16 What are the most popular clients’ mistakes?

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Transcription

Olga
To check hypothesis and idea, startups always build an MVP. Minimum Viable Product MVP (introduced by Eric Ries as a part of Lean Startup methodology) is always used to collect feedback from the client. And today we will speak with Chris, our CTO of Fronted House and Liki.
Chris
Hi guys, nice to see you.
Olga
Nice to see you too, so let's start. Are you ready to start?
Chris
Of course I am.

Does every startup need MVP?


Olga
So my first question is - does every business need an MVP?
Chris
It's quite a tricky question...
Olga
Of course it is tricky :)
Chris
And this is the first question, so I am very surprised. But I don't think so. I don't think that every kind of business needs MVP, but most of them, especially startups do, because they need to verify their idea, they need to verify their business needs behind their applications. With MVP, it's very easy for them to deliver a kind of ready-to-production product and to verify the idea with the investors. So I would say like 90% of startups really need an MVP version of the application.

If you have an internal app or an app that you use for managing your resources in the company, I wouldn't say you need MVP. You just need the product that you will use with your needs. I think that's the answer.
Olga
Thank you for the answer. How do we define an MVP at Liki and Frontend House? I mean, how does it look like the process of creation?

How do we define and build MVP at Frontend House at Liki? What does the process of creation look like?


Chris
The process is quite straightforward. So we start with [workshops](https://frontendhouse.com/experts-zone/product-discovery:-building-digital-product-from-scratch-experts-zone-talks-9). Workshops are the most important step in the process because they will help you to understand what you actually want to produce, what resources you need. They will show you how everything will look like. To be honest, after the workshop, you really understand what you actually want to create. So we start from the workshop. We meet together. We see it together for a couple of days, like one, two, three, depending on how big the product is. And after the workshop, we create documentation. Documentation with the user flow, documentation with your personas that will use your product, and other things, like basic charts, user experience, user interface. And that is the next very important step in MVP creation because from that you understand the product.

And we understand the product. We can estimate development and we can assign a proper development team. Because when we know we have a proper scope of everything, we can pick the best developers from our company to check who is the best in your product delivery. So we complete the team and start development, which is like the first step. And from this point, we also need you with the MVP creation because you, as a client, are very important on every step of MVP. And so from this point, we start development and we meet together, like every week or every two weeks and we show you progress.

We collect your feedback and having this feedback we can be sure that when we deliver MVP, everything is aligned with your needs, with your requirements. And from this point, I would say MVP is done, and we don't need to do anything apart from collecting feedback from the users. So we can prepare user testing for you. And we ask users to check if everything is working correctly, no one is lost in using the application, everyone knows what to do while using your application. That’s actually a very important step in MVP creation.

And the last one is for you to find investors. From my experience, it's much easier to go to investors and show you, like, See, I built this, this, this. I know everything I need to do. I just need money. So it's a lot easier going to investors and asking for funds, when you have something that is called MVP, then you just go with head full of ideas.
Olga
Well, you just explained everything right now. Great.
Chris
Are we done?
Olga
Not yet. I have more questions for you. What does the client have to deliver to developers to start the process of MVP creation? Or the team will help to define core features and other important stuff during the workshop?

What information about my product I have to deliver to developers to start the process of MVP creation?


Chris
There are different kinds of clients. There are some clients that have basic documentation, they have flow charts, they have a lot of things prepared upfront. So they reach us and they have a full scope I would say. But there are also clients that have just an idea and that's it. Idea. Of course, we have both of them. And again, it's the first step that we need to go together. So upfront of this, we will send you a lot of documents, so you will need to feel them by yourself, like a question about your application, about your business, about your competitors.

So that will help you to understand everything. Right? You have this idea, we deliver you a bunch of tools to write everything because we need to prepare for the workshop as well. And once you hand over all the documents to us, we have, like, one or two weeks to prepare the team for the workshops. We also make some research based on user, check the value and market needs of the version of a new product. And during the workshops, we continue with ready ideas, ready solutions, and then we discuss everything. I would say you don't need anything to reach us. We'll help you to start everything from scratch.

If you have something that is also helpful and we can pick up from that.
Olga
If you have an idea, you can reach us via the contact form on frontendhouse.com. And Chris will help you to create the MVP of your project. My next question is... Is a large team of developers needed for creating an MVP and what team members are needed?

Do we need a large team to develop an MVP? What team members play a crucial role at this step?


Chris
I will start with team members, it’s the easier question. At the very beginning, we need a user experience designer, we need a user interface designer, we need a project manager, and we need a technical leader. And this team will help you with the workshops. These are four people that will join your workshop. So the first step of creating the MVP, and they will help you define the scope, define all the documents. And these four will work with you for all MVP creations, depending on the scope and how big is your project, like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 months or even more.

It depends on your ideas and how big the project is. So we have this workshop, we created everything we need, and then it's time to pick up developers. So we always have this team composition that every MVP has a technical leader who will make sure everything is done properly with all the code base and everything we use is up to date, it follows all the rules. And it's very important, actually following the best practices because once you will, I don't know... You are the startup, so at some point, you will need to build your own team.

And it's quite tricky for developers to check somebody else's code. So if we follow the rules for your team, it will be much easier to start and develop more and more features after all. So there is a technical leader. There is also a project manager who supervises everything for the production and the development team. Development depends on budget, depends on the scope and on the timeline, of course, because you might be already set up with some investors that, I don't know, you have a meeting in two months, so we need to calculate how big team you need, it might be one developer or it might be five developers.

But we take care of this. So it's not a straightforward answer, like how many developers I need? You need to leave it with us to be honest. So once we know the scope and once we know the deadline, we can decide how many developers you need. And it's not that easy question. Not that easy answer.
Olga
And by the way, if you want to listen more about team roles in the development process, you can check [Przemek’s interview](https://frontendhouse.com/experts-zone/how-to-build-a-successful-software-development-team-experts-zone-talks-3). So the link will be here or here or in the description. Is there something more you wanted to say about this question?
Chris
No, thank you.
Olga
Okay, great. Thank you. So what are the biggest challenges while building an MVP?

What are the biggest challenges while building an MVP?


Chris
For us as a developers, there are no challenges.
Olga
None, absolutely none.
Chris
Just kidding of course. Every project is different. Every project has its own issues, its own crazy ideas. So the creation challenge at the beginning is to understand everything and define this to make sure that we are building what you really need and what your customers need. That's the biggest challenge, actually. Of course, during the development, there are more challenges, for example with composition, with some features that might be unique, like nobody has created them before, like that kind of stuff. We are developers, and we handle this and we love that kind of challenges, to be honest, because that makes our work excited.

Yeah. So for me, as for a manager, the most important and the biggest challenge is to understand all your needs, understand you and the scope of everything. So after all, you'll be happy with the final or the MVP product.
Olga
So the biggest challenge is to understand crazy ideas. But I think you like crazy ideas, right?
Chris
Of course I do. I mean, it's something that makes me happy. Challenges are like the thing I live for.
Olga
Chris lives for crazy ideas.
Chris
Exactly.
Olga
And what is the next step? We developed an MVP. We collected the feedback. What's next?

What is the next step after creating an MVP and collecting the feedback?


Chris
We collected the feedback, and it's very important to collect the feedback because after all, it's not you who will use your application but it’s your clients. So once you collect the feedback, of course, we need to revise it. We need to check what makes sense, what's not. And I strongly recommend to implement this feedback. Otherwise, you will be getting that kind of feedback all over it. So we set up the team again, we implement the feedback - at least that one that makes sense because not all of the features, that come from the feedback, really make sense because it might be an issue just for one person who is maybe not super your target.

I don't know. So we filter this, we implement this and there is a time to think what's actually the next step because you have MVP, you have your feedback implemented, so you might want to go to your investors. I think it's like the best time to collect the funds. Once you have the funds, you might decide if you want to create your own development team, start with your development, which is not a bad idea because yeah, it's much easier for you and for the investors to manage your internal team. But if you decide to continue to work with us, we are, of course, happy to help you.

And again, we decide what's left to be implemented because MVP is everything - is like the main core features, and some of the features might be grayish to inform the user there's something new coming, or maybe you are after the meeting with the investor, maybe you have more requirements. Or maybe it passed, like two or three months, and you have more and more ideas so you can pick up from them and continue with the development process and deliver more and features for you.
Olga
Have you ever had a situation when there was too much feedback and you didn't know which one had to be implemented?

Have you ever met a situation when you have too much feedback and what has to be implemented?


Chris
No, to be honest. Once we understand everything... and we always try to design things, like thinking about the end-user, so I wouldn't say we get that much feedback that we can't handle this. It's usually a couple of things to improve, and they are always very good points, to be honest. It's not like we check the thing and are like.. it doesn't make sense. It's always, like, very good points. You can't think about everyone during the design process, so we are really happy to collect this feedback (especially from early adopters), and we are really happy to implement this feedback.

It makes applications great actually.
Olga
Nice. What are the main and the most popular mistakes of clients? What are they doing wrong?

Chris
I'm sure that as a client, you are never wrong. I'm sorry, guys. I'm laughing and not because I’m mean, but there are some situations where we could understand each other better. But one thing that, I wouldn’t say that drives us crazy, but it's always kind of maybe a little bit annoying, that we have this workshop, we create everything, we have full scope, we decide on the design system, typography, everything... And you show the app to someone who is not even related to IT, not related to your business, and he says, I would do this different and you come back to us..

I mean, I had this kind of situation once, after showing the application to the parents or someone. They told that they would do this differently. And the feedback was, like, start from scratch, basically. You really need to trust us because we are experts. We know what to do. And that's why you have this MVP. That's why you have the feedback session with the end-users, and we take investors, so you can call it the feedback. And decide what needs to be decode.

What needs to be added, an extra feature, any changes in the design system, and that kind of stuff. So I would recommend to leave it for the very end, for the feedback session. Other than that, there is nothing really wrong with clients. I wouldn't name that. We're always happy if there's a situation that is a challenge for us. We are always happy to deal with this challenge and help you guys to produce the best applications we can.
Olga
But maybe there could be some mistakes, like when clients want too many features in MVP for example?
Chris
Yeah, it’s actually a very good point. It usually happens that during the workshop we sit together and we decide what needs to be done for MVP and what needs to be done for a final product. And for you as a client, it's always like you want to have everything in MVP, and it's not like how MVP works. You really need to focus on the core, main set of features. You need to decide what is most important for your clients. Maybe, like, I don't know, adding an avatar, maybe changing your name inside the application, or having I don't know, awards for your user that happens after a year of using the application.

Maybe it's not that important for MVP, but the payment system, like buying flow and those kinds of features. Maybe they are much, much more important than something that will happen for users after a month of using the application. Yes, it's a very good point, clients want to have too much scope in the MVP.
Olga
Experts in agile software development from Frontend House will help you to define core features to create and build your MVP Minimum Viable Product. I think I'm ready to build an MVP - to let experts build an MVP for my startup. If you are, you know where to find us. Thank you, Chris, for visiting our studio and for such precious information. Thank you.
Chris
Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure, and it was nice to see you guys again and I'm open to your questions about the MVP approach, MVP development process, and product development in general.
Olga
Nice to see you. You can watch other videos and visit our social media. You know where to reach us. Thank you, Chris. Bye. See ya.
Chris
See ya. Yeah.

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Meet the authors

Krzysztof
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Krzysztof Wyrzykowski

CTO

I specialize in creating advanced digital experiences, often taking part in interactive web campaigns and playing a leading role in combining modern technologies, usability and accessibility.

Olga
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Olga Vasylenko

Marketing Specialist

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