If you are busy adding new features to your app, it may not be the best path for your product. Early app adopters look for the product to be easy, intuitive, and fast. Your app only needs MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to create an excellent first impression, deliver on the promise, and grow.
Before you drown a ton of resources in trying to be better than your competitor, it’s worthwhile to know that apps that find favour with their users aren’t always running after the next shiny object.
They validate their idea, pick the priority features they want to be known for, track the features, and iterate. Much like our step-by-step guide, it’s all you need to break even with your MVP and scale.
Step 1: Ideation and validating your idea
There are many ways to get started with your big idea. The first step is brainstorming on the core idea and then validating it. During ideation, look for existing products in the market that fill the gap. Identify their USP and their positioning. How do they attract an audience similar to yours, and how do you plan to serve them uniquely?
While your idea may already have a market and you are sure you can position it uniquely, it’s essential to de-risk your project at this time. What it means is eliminating any foreseen elements that might render your product idea unrealistic.
It could range from pricing issues, perception of your app category, ignoring the complexity of your app, or side-stepping the need to have a trial before a full launch.
Once your idea passes through these filters, validate your MVP. It could be setting up a basic landing page or email to test your product assumptions. Set up an A/B test of your different assumptions to find what converts the best. With these tests, you now know if you should proceed or pivot to the next step of picking your MVP features.
Step 2: Choose what features go into your MVP
Because you have now validated your product, establish the bare minimum features you need to get started. We know it can be a daunting task to pick a few features. Your mind is probably determined to include as many features as you want in your product. But that’s not the case when you approach an MVP.
With an MVP, go for features that aren’t in the market yet. Look into the features and workflow of an existing product in the market to identify gaps in the system. For example, if you consider a file-transfer service, look at products like WeTransfer and compare their features to what you have in mind.
Your MVP need not contain all the features that an alternative has. However, pick one USP and focus on building an MVP that showcases just this. For example, you may want a public file sharing system instead of a P2P-based alternative.
While choosing this USP, make sure to list the potential differentiators that can later on make it easy to promote your product. Don’t forget to keep the audience and their app needs in mind before you narrow down on the unique angle for your product.
Step 3: Align these features to product viability
Even when you narrow down the features to one USP, you’ll be staring down at a long list of requirements to get started. You could start by gathering all requirements and sorting them in priority order.
Next, identify a common theme across the chosen features making it easy to track them later. If you have more than one theme for all the features, it is best to put them in buckets. This way, even if you are working on different features, it’s easy to quantify the performance.
Factor in the feasibility of each feature as you go along. Consider the impact versus the effort required to meet the bare minimum needs. As you work your way through these steps, make sure to strike out every feature that does not contribute to either product viability or marketing your product.
In the end, if your product isn’t viable, it’s going to exhaust your resources faster than expected. And since the viability is at stake, it will be harder to market your product as a dependable solution to your audience.
Step 4: Tracking each feature with a work management dashboard
To ensure the product features are consistent with your product vision, set up a work management dashboard. With this, you can prioritise every feature and track progress on all of them.
When setting the dashboard, try to be lean. You don’t need an extensive set of KPIs to track. Focus on each theme as selected earlier and narrow it down to each feature. You could begin by tracking customer channels like customer acquisition or engagement and the revenue numbers to break even.
Of course, you also need to consider the long-term aspects like MVP architecture, road-mapping, and the technology stack to optimise the MVP development time and cost efforts.
While these will come in due course, ensure that you minimise the risks involved with each feature, especially when it comes to adding in more functionalities with time.
Step 5: Third-rarty APIs for additional functionalities
The crucial step after tracking the features is taking in the customer feedback. You could get great feedback on your existing features, or the feedback could be asking for more features. If you need to polish your current features, it’s time to immediately put your developers to work.
If you add complex functionalities, consider using third-party APIs to meet the needs instead of building from scratch. By doing so, your business is primed to respond quickly to market demands. It also fastens the speed to market, reducing the time spent from months to a few weeks.
Your in-house team might be equally competent to take on this mammoth task with the assistance of a sizable budget. But unless it is fine-tuned to quickly serve the right audience with their specific needs and an excellent customer experience, you’re better off relying on the expertise of third-party APIs.
Third-party APIs take on complex functionalities with ease. It allows non-technical product owners to explore these functionalities without having the technical expertise. Another advantage of working with products like Thunkable is you can quickly and efficiently create apps without worrying about additional in-house budgets, hiring experts, or prolonging your product launch in the market.
Your app could be your next big dream and a solution to a deeply ignored market potential for a product. But unless you validate your idea, it’s going to be a long-drawn and expensive hobby.
Choosing the best features might be the most challenging task but doing so gives your app the necessary focus. Consider placing the features in themes or categories for better usability and tracking later.
It’s also a much-needed part of your app journey, especially if product viability is a top priority. By regularly tracking the app features, you can align your audience needs to your app goals, making the entire project a seamless experience.
And if adding complex functionalities to your app is on your agenda, then third-party APIs can be a saving grace, especially when speed, reliability, and expertise are something you can’t ignore.