• An ultimate guide for Proof of Concept in Software Development

    Inspiring your team, brainstorming and forming an idea is both exciting and energizing. Envisioning the ideation of forming something different that solves problems seems wonderful but if that idea is not put through its pace properly, it may face the same problem that many others face i.e. False Value.

    Millions of people or companies come up with new innovations every day but not everyone succeeds. The new projects of the companies, especially startups, fail because the ideas are poorly tested which results in false value. Businesses fail to analyze certain things – if the idea is practical or feasible, what resources would be required to build it and would the users or target audience want to use it?

    These are the problems which are solved by Proof of Concept (PoC) approach. With Proof of Concept, budding entrepreneurs can determine if the idea is achievable or not.

    Let us understand in detail, what Proof of Concept is, why it is important and what is the best way to approach it.

    What is Proof of Concept (PoC)?

    Let’s start with a basic Proof of Concept Definition in terms of Software development, because it is likely to mean something else than you think.

    In simple terms, proof of concept is a general approach of testing the idea and determining whether it feasible, viable and can be built in the real world or not. Proof of Concept is to make sure if the idea will strike a chord in the market and win the customers or not.

    Let’s say you have an idea that you think stands out and will help people in some way. PoC may not have a direct impact on the market but it will help you find out the functionalities of the idea and how it can be built at a reasonable cost, effectively, and with which technologies. It helps avoid possible technical problems and allows you to obtain feedback at the early stage of the development cycle.

    Need for Proof of Concept?

    Nearly everyone who comes up with an idea is convinced that it will work. But applying Proof of Concept approach will test the idea and ensure that it arrives at the best version. It will not only save you time and money but will also reduce any possible risks involved.

    A proof of Concept is used in the early stage of the development cycle which validates the technical feasibility, identifies possible expectations of a platform and potential blocks. It also determines the scope and requirements of customizations in order to complete the project.

    Proof of Concept also identifies performance issues while testing and validates the assumptions made in the ideation process. Along with all that, in the results, PoC also estimates the efforts.

    Moreover, you need to persuade stakeholders that your idea is worth investing in. Whether it’s something from the scratch or adding some new features to the already existing software, Proof of Concept will direct you towards the right route.

    Besides you, multiple other organizations are involved in creating a project that matters. The Proof of Concept helps bring them into your corner and fully convince them of the actual value and real-time effect of the idea.

    When does the need for Proof of Concept arise?

    • When it is necessary to check if the idea changes values
    • When you have to ensure that the chose plan of workflow is right
    • When the limitations for solving a specific problem has to be determined
    • When you need to make sure the idea is technically possible
    • When it’s necessary to check if the solution matches the expectations of the target audience

    Here are some of the questions, the answers to which will help you make out a necessary criteria list, to correctly interpret the results of the finished project:

    • Why are we doing this and what are we trying to achieve?
    • What are the measurable success criteria?
    • Is it achievable in the time frame allowed?
    • Is it achievable with the resources available?
    • What’s the real value we are hoping to achieve?
    • How will it be implemented into the workflow?
    • Is there something with which the concept can be compared?

    Discovering Your Idea

    Ideation is the first stage towards building something and putting it into practice. It is focused on identifying a solution which will solve a particular problem for the end-users. The idea should be something that helps the users and makes a change in the market.

     To help visualize the main aspects of the idea that you are trying to develop, these are the things you need to include and define on a Canvas:

    1. Problem

    After doing a market research, you would gather information regarding the problems your target users face while achieving their goals. A problem statement needs to be prepared with a clear insight, target user / market, which should not include features or solution.

    2. User Needs

    From Problem Statement, you can identify what the users require and adapt accordingly.

    3. Solution

    Describe a solution that you want to propose to solve that problem and attend their needs.

    4. Features

    Based on the solution, a list of features that it offers, needs to be added in a priority list. These features should be directly linked to the users’ needs.

    5. Competitors

    Prepare a list of your main competitors, both direct and indirect.

    6. External Factors and other Operations

    This includes IP (Intellectual Property), industry standards, targeted market, expected or assumed price, due date.

    7. Requirement

    Based on all the lists prepared above, a review of which resources would be required. This step can be fulfilled as you go along with the project.

    After you have discovered the main idea of the project that you want to build, the idea needs to be analysed by someone with technical knowledge. It’s where the next step starts – Building the Idea – and the Proof of Concept has to be used.

    Proof of Concept Process Flow

    A Proof of Concept Process flow goes through several iterations – Design, Building and Testing the Product. Once the PoC is accurate and fully captures the functionalities that you intend to add and provides a minimum level of performance, the next step can be started i.e. Prototyping.

    A Proof of Concept Process Flow follows these steps:

    • Designing – You will need to make a rough sketch or drawing of the product you need to build, which will include the basic functional blocks. This will help once it’s time to create a PoC and Prototype.
    • Building PoC – This phase is critical for software development. It will help you analyze the ideation sketches and help understand if they are functional in actuality or not. 
    • Testing Functionality – Testing phase will determine whether your PoC meets the minimum performances requirements of not, to be accepted by the board members.
    • Evaluation – Once the testing is done, the results are to be evaluated to determine which functions or elements need to be redefined. When the evaluation is done, it’s time to repeat the process and test them again.

    Building a POC (Proof of Concept)

    While developing a Proof of Concept, a detailed study of user needs, preferences and expectations needs to be conducted. Creating Proof of Concept will help you make informed and rational decisions because it shows a clear picture of the software’s future, that you want to build.

    Here’s a checklist for the Proof of Concept development :

    1. Define your Target audience before writing a PoC – It is unlikely to create a solution that solves everyone’s problems. You need to take into account the needs and preferences of a specific group of users. This will define the target audience and PoC development will help you find the right customers and analyze their feedback.

      Other than that, conducting a competitor analysis before writing a proof of concept is important. PoC creation will make the task of determining potential customers much simpler and will clarify the relevance of your idea in accordance to the target audience.

      You need to pay close attention to how the competitors are performing. Analyze their ups and downs and how you can improve.
    2. Pre-assessment of the selected solutions – After understanding how your product will solve the users’ problems, it’s time to consider other aspects.

      – Technical – To make the right choice of which platform, programming languages and tools to use for developing and testing the Proof of Concept. This stage will define the market analysis, system maintenance and other requirements.

      – Cost – Taking into account the available funds or investments and calculating the project’s budget.

      – Timelines – The more complex the solution, the more it will take to develop the software. Therefore, you can either expand the building time frame or consider optimizing the product’s functionalities. In the first case, the software will be built according to your original idea but in the second case, it will reach the market faster.

      – Documentation – You need to keep a detailed track record of all the solutions, functions and elements to identify the glitches. With this, you can replicate the PoC at the time of full implementation of the product. Documenting everything will help evaluate the functional requirements and determine whether you are on the right track or need to make further readjustments in design.

    3. Development – Now that you have all the information, it’s time to use it in building the POC, which will imitate the work of user interface. The basic requirements of PoC are Simplicity, Adaptivity, Interactivity and Content. By creating a prototype of Proof of Concept, you will be able to clearly spot the defects, address the shortcomings and find a solution, and you will have the basis of your final product which can be altered as you go along the process.

      A wireframe is created in this development stage, which is basically a low fidelity representation of the product and shows content, structure and basic visualization of UI interaction. Wireframes are the backbone of the design.

    Furthermore, a mockup is built which represents the functionalities in a static way to help people review the visual side of the product. Software developers will choose the right framework i.e. front and back-end development, to provide you with the wireframe and mockup which visually represents your idea. This mockup is later used for testing.

    1. Testing – You can test the POC on a small group of targeted users and analyze how the software can be enhanced. By this, you will have a solution for further development process. At this stage, you can easily make modifications as per the users’ feedback.

    2. Collect market feedback – To improve or scale your product and fill a niche in the market, it is important to collect feedback. It will help you the pain points of the users and you will gain a clear understanding of how your product can solve their issues in a best way, which features are really wanted and which should be removed.

      For this, different polls, surveys or interviews can be conducted but it is not obligatory to interview a huge group of people, 30-60 people is enough. You can also analyze the existing clients or users (if you have any)

      The main goal of this stage is to know how you can tailor the product according to their needs and it can be achieved by encouraging users to participate in the survey.

    Once the feedback is received and the user requirements are aligned with your solutions, the PoC is successful and the Product is ready for the next stage. 

    Guidelines for a successful Proof of Concept

    •   Identify Specific Business Cases – When you identify the technology to be used, it is advisable to have some specific business cases and have the expected outcomes to which both the IT team and end-users agree. This will assist the PoC team to focus on the elements which are important. Furthermore, it will also allow vendors to verify the product’s functionalities, which will help in configuration.
    • Map Pain Points to Solutions & Get Feedback – This stage involves brainstorming sessions to solve each pain point which was identified earlier. There can be multiple solutions to each issue but you have to evaluate them and determine how each fit into the process according to your cost, competition, timeline and other technical challenges. After this, you will have a clean understanding of which solutions will be included in the final product.

      Once the list of main solutions is done, it can be used to get feedback from users and stakeholders. Their reactions and inputs will provide valuable insights.
    • Set your Performance Goals – Once you have solved the pain points and identified key elements in regards to the cost, you will be able to set your goals i.e. Return on Investment (ROI) and Key Performance Indicator (KPI), for improvements which will lead to move revenues.
    • Track your Metrics – Once the PoC is complete, the KPIs that have been achieved for the PoC, can be compared to the current KPIs that you’re getting from existing systems. Then you and your team can take charge of ROI measurement formulas and avoid any misrepresentation that might have previously been built into the ROI formula, favorable to the solution.
    • Get Ready to Prototype – Build a prototype of the product which includes the UI/UX set and other features that are finalized. This prototype will be presented to the stakeholders and the users who were interviewed before to gain insights.
      The feedback regarding the interface and functionalities will help further improve the product working.
    • Set your Investment levels – When PoC is successful and management is on board, the project is ready to implement production and determine a budget. To make sure the product is correctly built, a MVP (minimum value product) is built, which helps you discover the finest execution of PoC that can lead to a successful product.
    • Create a Roadmap – Once all the information has been collected and the budget has been approved, it will be easy to create a roadmap. A roadmap is basically a blueprint which consists of all the steps for making the product. It includes an organizational chart of supervised work, list of all the stages of the work that needs to be completed and information of assigned tasks to the members.

    Proof of Concept Example

    Let’s take a look at these proof of concept study cases –

    1. A company recognizes a problem faced by a specific set of users and is looking for a way to solve it. The company thinks of building an app which will solve the issue but the question comes – Is the idea feasible or viable?

    In this case, the company can build a proof of concept to determine if the idea can be developed or not. In this, the POC approach is focused on finding out the optimal way to achieve the outcome and not on any deliverables.

    Once the PoC is approved by the board and is successful, it can later be presented to the venture capitalists, as a tangible proof to get the funding for the final product development. A concrete Proof of Concept will help the company in getting the right investors.

    2. You want to create a fully functional voice-based product i.e. a personal voice assistant, like Amazon Echo, which uses IoT (Internet of Things) and Artificial Intelligence to provide information as per users’ voice commands. The device will allow users to get news and media updates, make to-do lists, set-up meetings etc.

    After the ideation is done, you need to create a concrete Proof of Concept to determine how the idea will work and be executed. The proof of Concept will include all the functionalities, elements of the device and how Natural Language Processing (NLP) will work to send commands through speech. This voice command module can either be built by your own team or enabled by a third-party service provider.

    After the coding is done and tested, by capturing audio samples using the microphone of a smartphone to generate voice segments for commands, PoC can be tested on the potential buyers or users to let them know that the idea is feasible and how the product is fully functional.

    3. You want to develop an app that home delivers food to students at night. There are already many apps like this. In this case, Proof of Concept will help you improve your app and make it stand out. In this, POC focuses on determining best technologies to develop a well-optimized application. It will also help build a roadmap.

    POC vs. MVP vs. Prototype: What’s the difference?

    Even though Proof of Concept and Prototype are used interchangeably, both are different processes meant for different purposes. The both produce different results. Whereas, MVP comes after a successful PoC development process.

    Proof of Concept vs. Prototype

    Proof of Concept is used to determine whether the idea can be brought to reality and be developed or not. On the other hand, a prototype is created to turn that idea into a skimmed-down version of the final product, which is later tested. A prototype does not include all the features of a market-ready product, but it shows the design, navigation, layouts etc. of the product and shows how to best develop the product.

    A Proof of Concept shows that the idea is viable and functional and a Prototype is a draft of the final product, which works as a selling point.

    Minimum Value Product (MVP)

    Meanwhile, MVP (Minimum Value Product), comes after Proof of Concept is successful. It is the early version of what the final product might be and is more developed than a prototype. MVP is used to identify pain points, determine the functionality, test the usability and marketability of the potential users. With the use of MVP, you can allocate time and budget that can best satisfy the objectives.

    Conclusion

    Proof of Concept is the most important stage in software development and it cannot be neglected if you are developing a complex, lengthy and costly project.

    Note that documentation is the key. You should document every detail and step for your proof of concept projects. This documentation will include everything i.e. installation, configuration, outputs of all the tests performed, feedbacks and final findings.

    Documentation will help make all the other members clearly understand the Proof of concept steps and make it easier for the team to replicate the same project, when needed.

    Regardless of the POC strategy chosen and results obtained, there will be benefits of this approach.

    ·       It will help you get proof that your idea is worth implementing and help avoid spending a lot of money on something that is not viable.

    ·       You get to have tangible proof to present to the stakeholders and prove that your idea is worthwhile.

  • MVP Is Not Enough. Your Product Must Be AWESOME!

    Technology and user practices keep changing every day. So, it is important to keep updating different applications and websites. MVP was a huge hit back in the day when it was introduced. But many years have passed since then and so have the consumer practices.

    Therefore, it is important to update this basic model of MVP. All the businesses must consider the end goal that they wish to achieve with their MVP. They have to build something awesome.

    The concept of MVP today has changed a lot from what it was seven years ago when it was introduced. The concept behind it was to make a basic model with minimum features to test the viability of your end product. There was great traction for this MVP way of product launch. Many businesses readily accepted this idea. But the models soon became sub-par quality. A lot was sacrificed in order to attain a model with the features at a faster rate. The functionality and design were also highly limited. 

    To Know more about Building MVP, check out the article: https://ateam-texas.com/ultimate-guide-to-building-an-mvp-minimum-viable-product/

    There are millions of better products that are coming to the market literally every day. Customers also start to expect a lot from products and applications these days. They do not really care if it is a prototype or the final product or if it is in beta stage. Your customer will compare your product to the many other similar products which give you the pressure of making your product stand out.

    MVP is very basic. It has a normal function, a normal basic design and zero visuals. This does not give it a lasting impression for the users that use it. The set standards of products themselves have changed. Thus, the standards for MVP applications have also changed.

    With new expectations in place we believes in developing MAPs (Minimum Acceptable Product) which are much better than MVPs (Minimum Viable Product).

    A power-packed seamless initial model can make sure that you get the next round of funding and resources for the final product.

    The core function of both these models are the same but there are still many differences.

    1. Design and Tech

    These are the two functions that have changed in MAP. MAP is a small window where your customers get to evaluate your product. Therefore, great user experience is important to be invested in. If the user experience is seamless, it will leave a lasting impression in the minds of the users and they would want to use your product again. It is also one of the core areas where time and money should be invested in a MAP.

    The design includes:

    how the product feels, what it looks like, how fast it opens, how long it takes to get the work done etc.

    Investing in good visuals is also a great idea to keep your customer engaged with your product. It is also a way of branding your product before it hits the market.

    2. Feedback loop

    The feedback loop is another feature that is same in both MAP and MVP. MAP uses new innovative methods to collect feedback from the users. It is important to make sure that the users give feedback. They will only do this if it is not time-consuming. MAPs can provide audio or visual options to collect feedback. This is more interactive, less time consuming and easier as the users will not have to type their answers.

    It is imperative to make sure that the MAP is great. The performance of the MAP is what determines the future of your final product. With MAP, the idea is to keep it simple yet very efficient. It has to be polished so that it leaves a lasting impression. It is also important not to go overboard as it is more of a sample rather than the final launched product.

    What does aTeamTexas do?

    Our MVP service offering includes:

    • Prototype Design / POC Demo Development
    • Pilot MVP Development
    • Single Feature MVP

    What we focus on is to ensure that the product, even though minimal in functionalities and features, is well designed and performs seamlessly. So, if you need help in converting your idea to an MVP, you know where to go.
    If you are interested to know more on MVP development and other latest topics from our team at aTeamTexas, do subscribe to our newsletter. We push out useful content regularly. 

  • Ultimate Guide to Building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

    Everyone has ideas. Some have very good ideas. However, one is only truly victorious when he or she is able to turn that idea into a reality. Additionally, this product of reality must be top-notch and not some cheap knock-off. So, what are you going to do? Do you build your product on your own or do you hire a good team to build a product? No, this is the wrong path. First and foremost, you need to know if your idea is truly needed in the market and if consumers can solve a problem with your idea. Your idea may be good but it can lead to huge financial loss and a waste of time and resources if your product is unsuccessful in the market. So first, you have to start with an MVP or a minimum viable product before you start developing your final product.

    What is minimum viable product?

    A minimum viable product or MVP is merely a lightweight version of a product. It will only have the minimum features or even just the concept without the functionalities to convey the core idea of the product. The feedback from this customer base will then be used to improve the product in future. Gathering such insights and feedbacks is a less expensive affair than making a fully-fledged product without analyzing the market. It is a huge financial risk and an economic loss is guaranteed if the product is to fail. With regard to an MVP, the economic losses can be kept to a minimum. 

    A minimum viable product or MVP is merely a lightweight version of a product. It will only have the minimum features or even just the concept without the functionalities to convey the core idea of the product. The feedback from this customer base will then be used to improve the product in future. Gathering such insights and feedbacks is a less expensive affair than making a fully-fledged product without analyzing the market. It is a huge financial risk and an economic loss is guaranteed if the product is to fail. With regard to an MVP, the economic losses can be kept to a minimum. 

    MVP definitions are many. The dictionary definition of ‘viable’ is ‘feasible’ or ‘capable of working successfully’. Therefore, a mvp meaning  an unfinished product created with minimum resources that can solve (or convey that it can solve) the problem that is intended to be solved by the final product. In a general sense, the aim of the product is to analyse the market demand. The results will actually determine whether an expansion of your business or further development of your product will be fruitful or not. The term was made by Frank Robinson in 2001 and it was later used by Steve Blank and Eric Ries.

    Examples of Minimum Viable Product

    SPOTIFY

    This Swedish music-streaming service launched in 2009 with a simple landing page and a single feature to stream music. As they evolved their desktop apps, they were able to test their market and tweak it along the way.

    FACEBOOK

    All Facebook’s (or Thefacebook as it was called when they launched) MVP software did was connect students together via their college or class and let them post messages to their boards.

    GROUPON

    Vouchers and discounts are old concepts, but Groupon took the idea of sharing and socializing them to new heights. It launched with a mvp product, a WordPress site .The test proved successful, and the company then built its voucher system and backend, driving it to a great success.

    Use cases

    Many startups have had successful business expansions because of following the MVP model. One such startup was AdWords. The MVP model of AdWords was called AdWords Express. it is much more simplified and it can produce a version of the ad for the customer. Initially, the process seemed automated but it was basically a group of students quickly typing and copying in the back end. When this little experiment became a success, the developers further developed AdWords Express and now it has become fully automated. Yet another success story is that of Airbnb. Initially, their idea was to just earn a little side income. They managed to create a website but it was difficult for them to get people to use their website. They came up with a plan to target Craigslist. The house owners were given the option to post automatically to Craigslist. This is how Airbnb reached its prospective users. Airbnb today has an income of 2.6 billion dollars. While startups have become successful with the help of MVPs, it does not mean that the MVP methodology is limited to startups. Many successful companies still follow MVP methods to release products and concepts in a short timeframe and minimum resources so as to avoid huge financial investments and losses in releasing an unsuccessful final product.

    The cycle of continuous improvement: Ideas to building said ideas to shipping Minimum Viable Products to measuring and gathering data to learning from the data. Create new ideas from what you’ve learned!

    Step-by-step guideline to build a minimum viable product

    1. Find Out the Real Problem

    The first and most important step is to find out the real problem that you are addressing. The product must be able to solve at least one actual problem for one real set of audience in a way no other product can. Thus, the most time and research must be allotted to find out the real problem first. You also have to determine your target market in order to start your product discovery. There are millions of people that you can help with your product but the target market will consist of people that you want the most and whom you can help in the best manner possible. You have to ask yourself and your team many questions. 

    To get started you can begin with specifically outlining the problem that you intend to solve and who you are going to solve it for. 

    This is the first step towards honing your target audience. You have to decide the demography of the society that you are planning on targeting. It can be based on age, gender, religion or any criteria depending on your problem. You then have to understand the mindset of this target audience. What their needs are, what do they expect, what challenges will you face etc. have to be understood and studied. 

    Two main ways to do that is by undertaking interviews and market research. Interview all the people who you think are likely to use your product. There are many ways in which you can collect such insightful data. One way is to conduct online interviews through social media platforms like FacebookLinkedIn etc. Another effective way of data collection is through surveys. Google Forms and Survey Monkey provide great services for such surveys. Additionally, services of Mailchimp can be used to share survey forms through mails. This method has more success rate than others as it is easier to undertake a survey through the mail. 

    Research and investigation must also be put into companies that are your contemporaries or competitors. This will help you to understand what is currently available to your target audience and how they have responded to these so far. Some of the important areas where research must be done are if there are ample opportunities for products and features not being met at present, whether there is any benefit on developing what is already available, how will the product be valuable to the customers and how will it solve their problem etc. Once this primary research is done you can select an important problem that you are equipped to solve with your MVP. 

    You have to ensure that your idea has a business opportunity and will be of utility to your target audience. You will have to do further research as that will help you uncover other features and problems that have to be solved. These features and problems have to be listed out. 

    The next step is to determine what you long term goals for your MVP are. You have to answer questions like what is the success criteria that you have set for your product. You need to have a flexible strategy that can be changed as and when you get customer feedback will help you to provide valuable services to your customers. 

    After all this preliminary research is done, you will be able to understand whether the problem that you chose actually poses a challenge to your intended customers and whether they are willing to pay for the solution. 

    2. Product or Solution That Competitors Are Already Providing

    A pertinent fact is that the MVP will be launched in a market where it will be immediately faced with competition. It is extremely important to study your target audience as well as competitors to make sure that you are not launching a product that is already existing in the market. 

    Analysing your competition will also help you to understand what is unique about your product and make those unique features your core ones. You have to understand the promotional tactic used by your contemporaries to reach their target audience. A majority of the internet users today change their opinion per second and one day a product will be hyped to be completely forgotten the very next day. Think of the best way to reach your target audience evaluating promotional tactics of your competitors. This also serves as an amazing opportunity to beat your rivals. 

    There are many tools available to analyze your competitors easily and effectively. One such tool is SEMrush. Following are some of its main uses:

    1. Keyword research 
    2. Keyword strategy used by the competition
    3. SEO audit of blog
    4. Blacklining opportunities.

    SEMrush is a very common and popular tool to analyze your competition. It is also used by many businesses irrespective of their size across the world. AHREFS is another useful tool for competitive analysis. Yet another tool is Product Hunt which primarily helps you to find out the alternatives of a currently existing product. Other than that, it lets you get in touch with your first real users. 

    Analysing your competition will help you to find a unique selling proposition for your product. You can make sure that your marketing campaigns are better and unique compared to that of your competitor. Thus, this method helps you uncover a unique selling proposition for your solution and a niche customer base to test your product. 

    3. List Out Feature List and Prioritise Them 

    How your product is going to be perceived depends on the features that you include in your MVP. 

    The whole point of including only certain features is to keep the cost at a minimum and also to provide a basic version. Therefore, it is important to only add the core features. A minimum viable product must include only those most important features which help to fulfil the most pressing needs that your customers might have. 

    Eric Ries who is the father of lean startup rightly says that any feature, process or effort that does not directly contribute to what you are seeking should be removed. But this does not mean that the product is too basic to be functional. The core function without which the product has no existence must be identified in order to produce the simplest version of your product effectively. It is very important to identify the features that you want to go into the first version of your product. it is also important to identify those features which are to be added on later in the upcoming versions of your product. The feature list of your competitors has to be identified. 

    Some of the basic steps include finding out the main feature list that the customers require, editing these features on the basis of their value or utility that they provide the customers and then prioritizing the list. 

    4. Design a Userflow 

    The next important step towards building an MVP is to map and identify the steps that a certain type of user is likely to take while using your product. 

    You have to hypothetical consider how each type of user will interact with your product. 

    This leads to two important questions: 

    What are the needs these users have to fulfil? And what is the environment in which they will be using your product? You have to look at it from the perspective of the user thus putting yourself in their shoes. It has to be ensured that every task is very simple and easy to fulfil. Customer experience will be better if they can get their work done with just a few clicks. If it is too complicated and inconvenient, chances are more that they will not use it. the user flow for each task that each user type will be fulfilling should be predetermined. For this, the process has to be broken down into stages and every stage has to have an objective. Then you have to outline the steps that are required to reach this objective. 

    Userflow is a process of mapping the user’s steps effectively. It helps you to track the steps taken by the user through your website or application interface in order to fulfil a task like making a reservation, buying something etc. This is also called a user journey. It is a very crucial aspect for maximizing your conversions. If you want to convert users to customers, you have to get the right userflow. Flowmapp is about creating a better UX for the website. They create visual sitemaps which will help you to make a better website. Justinmind is another great tool for prototypes. Finally, you end up with a well-defined userflow diagram of your application. 

    5. Build, Learn and Measure 

    Building, learning and measuring is the final step that brings all of the elements of your minimum viable product together. Your journey to mvp development does not end with merely building and launching the MVP. It is equally important to collect feedback and understand the market validation of your product. 

    Let us look at a real-world example to understand this method. 

    The team behind Dropbox, even before designing the product or a beta version of the product, went directly to user feedback with the help of a 3-minute video presentation. This was an instant success as the signups increased overnight to more than 70,000. You should note that all this was done without a real product. The team conveyed their idea through their presentation and gathered feedback. This helped them to cement their decision in investing in the development of their product as it was already successful.

    Since the MVP is built with only so many features just enough to satisfy the early customers, their feedback is essential in the future development of this basic version. There are many ways to collect customer feedback. Some of them are:

    1. Interviews 
    2. Surveys
    3. Analyzing traffic
    4. Sign-ups 
    5. Engagement 

    Google Analytics is one of the most popular and commonly used tools for analyzing. It is a free web analytics service that is provided by Google. It gives you in-depth information about your user’s activity on your websites. This information serves as a valuable insight using which you can create a strategy for your business. 

    Crazy Egg is another online application which provides you with a set of tracking tools like heat map, scroll map, overlay and confetti which tracks the different aspect of website operation. This helps you to better understand the needs and preferences of your customer. It is a way to directly benefit from your website and also lets you create a customer approved MVP. 

    Thus, the greatest power of an MVP is that it reduces the time taken for your product to come to its best version. It significantly reduces this learning cycle. Further, it can help you to create stronger relations with your customers. Through feedback, you are directly involving them in the product development process. It also helps you to prevent wasting money and resources to create features which are not actually useful.

    Countless successful projects in MVP developments are what made us, aTeamTexas, to build this guide. What we focus on is to ensure that the product, even though minimal in functionalities and features, is well designed and performs seamlessly. This MVP must solve the problem that is intended to be solved with the final product. So, if you need help in converting your idea to an MVP, you know where to go. 

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  • Things to Take Care While Outsourcing MVP Development

    Outsourcing MVP is definitely a smart move when you have high aspirations for your start-up but lacks the technical support within the team. Unfortunately, you cannot just hire a random team. You need to allot some of your precious time to do your research because when you give your heart and soul to a project, you want to associate with the best people in the field. So, in order to help you choose the right source of outsourcing MVP development, here is a list of things to consider:  

    1. Check Company Testimonial to Know Their Previous Experiences

    No one can evaluate the performance of an outsourced team better than their clients. They have the first-hand experience and their testimonial can help you form an opinion. If they endorse the development agency, you are half-way there to confirming their services to build your MVP. 

    2. Strict NDA & Contract with The Jurisdiction Set to Your Own State

    I cannot stress this enough. You cannot compromise on your Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) or any contract that ensures confidentiality because you do not want to take a risk when it comes to your idea and product. You have to keep it as safe as possible. It is your effort and you cannot let it slip away due to carelessness or ignorance. When you make the contract, the jurisdiction has to be set to your own state in the United States of America. For instance, aTeam-Texas is a logical developer around texas if you are looking for something in that area.

    3. 100% Transparency

    This is significant. The company that you hired need to be transparent with the work they are doing. The progress, the downfall, the stuck phase or any direction the development is leading with the MVP, you have to know. They are liable to tell you because they signed up for it and you are paying them. Accordingly, you can make your moves. 

    4. Do Not Allow Third-Party Outsourcing on Design, Development or Support/Maintenance

    When you reach the stage to design, develop or support/maintain the MVP, be wise and do notallow the company you outsourced from to do the deed. This is the time you take the matters on to your own hands. The contract would be done and dusted by then.  

    5. Insure the Project by Third-party

    Lastly, do not forget to make the third-party outsourced development work to be insured by them because it is always good to be prepared for the worst. The future is unpredictable so in case a mistake has been made from their side while building the MVP, you have something to fall back on with the hold of insurance.

  • Building an MVP with an outsourced development team

    Do you want to build a start-up? You have the ideas for it. You have got validation from your target audience. The analysis is done and you have thought of investors whom you could approach for support. You are planning to pitch it to them and you realize you need to have a Minimum Viable Product. A version of the product with basic features to see how it performs in the market built with minimum effort and costs. By having MVP, you get the feedback which you would consider to create the full-fledged product.

    The thing is, you do not have technical assistance and you are not good enough in the field to be able to do it yourself. So, what do you do? What should you do? We will give you the best option that makes perfect sense:

    HIRE AN OUTSOURCED DEVELOPMENT TEAM TO BUILD YOUR MVP

    Now you could do it yourself with the limited knowledge you have but it would take a lot of time since you have a lot of things figure out and it causes inconvenience because the customers are never less in number. You could hire a freelancer. The problem with hiring freelancers is it is challenging to spot one who would correspond to your needs in terms of affordability, time, communication, etc. That leaves us with outsourced development teams.

    You would be doubtful about opting for this because they are an external factor and you do not know if you trust people with your baby, their working pace and other factors. Here are some points supporting this decision of yours to make an outsourced development team in charge of the MVP

    Proper Feasibility Study & Budgeting About Your Product

    An acclaimed development agency can boast about their skilled software developers and their years of practice in the field. They can

    • comprehend your vision well and help you to bring your idea to life.
    • do the proper feasibility study with their expertise in the field and can draw approximate budgeting about your product since they have been a part of multiple projects.

    Access to An Experienced Team

    Who could pass on having access to an experienced team? No one. Their long stretches of experience assist them with distinguishing practical issues that may emerge during the development process and provide solutions. A proficient group of engineers basically gives you a lot of specialized prime supporters. They assist you with seeing your MVP from various points of view and offer predictable help as far as programming development is concerned.

    Development of Strong Architecture 

    Application development organizations have solid information on programming advancement including the stages that can be utilized to manufacture the arrangement, the dialects for coding, UI structures, testing apparatuses, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Thus, they can construct a solid establishment for your MVP, which is neatly coded and organized. The whole rationale stream is amazingly reasonable, making it simpler for your future in-house development group to deal with the application.

    Structured Process

    Working with an accomplished advancement organization empowers you to follow and actualize a systematic procedure all through the production of your MVP. The stream is smooth and continuous, directly from the underlying conversation to the last item conveyance. Correspondence has a significant job here, with a decent MVP advancement office remaining in consistent contact with you at each phase of the procedure. This gives you an accurate picture of the time period as well as the status of each advancement.

    Focused Product Development

    You have an entire team of software developers who dedicate their time to develop your product. That is their sole focus. A long way from being stalled by stresses like structure your in-house group of designers, and all the problems of enlistment, preparing, competency estimation, and asset coordination, you can rather remain effectively associated with venture improvement.

    No Issues Related to Team and Project Management

    The outcome of having devoted assets with no enlistment or preparing included is that project management is simplified. You are in charge of the planning while the agency is in charge of applying its expertise. Together, you can get a reasonable gauge of the practicality, span, and timetable of the undertaking. This aids you to design and allot funds appropriately, which is pivotal for the MVP advancement part as well as dealing with the whole procedure stream. You can choose your beta testing timetables, advertising, and advancement procedure and draw in financial specialists once you have a solid specialized accomplice set up.

    You Can Focus More on Marketing and Other Aspects of The Company 

    Once you have roped in an outsourced development team who is established like aTeamTexas, MVP development should not worry you anymore. You can put your focus on marketing your company and other aspects to expand your business. It balances out well. 

    Was this convincing enough for you to approach an outsourced development team? Tell us your thoughts.

  • Roadmap for Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

    MVP or Minimum Viable Product, as the name suggests, is a basic version of a software application launched with minimal features just so you can see how it performs in the market among the customers. It is a test product. The customers can give feedback afterward that could be considered to be incorporated in the full-fledged product. This way the initial part would save you a hefty amount of money and time and it would not feel like a bet. After analyzing how successful it went, you can put in the maximum effort and money for an effective result. It is as efficient as it gets. 

    Let us breakdown the development of a Minimum Viable Product as this aspect tends to be problematic for the entrepreneurs. 

    1. Market Research

    I cannot stress the term enough. RESEARCH. MARKET RESEARCH. Before you start working on your MVP, you have got to do the research. Spend a lot of time on it determining the need for this product in the market because if you are working on something that is not useful, then it is just a waste of your effort, money and time leading to a failure. Conduct surveys to shape the product. The more information you acquire, the more successful it would get. You can never be too prepared so bask in all the information you can get regarding your product. Learn about its rivals and what they bring to the table. ANALYZE. Go in deep so your product offers what the other products in the field do not making it stand out and desirable.   

    2. Ideation & Concept

    The concept should be crystal clear. You should know the value of the product, why the people would invest in your product and the benefits they reap from your product. Be objective. Make sense of it first and then proceed.

    3. Determine the Userflow

    Structure the application in the manner fitting the clients’ wants. You have to view the application from the clients’ point of view, beginning from opening the application to the last procedure, like for example, making a purchase or conveyance. Userflow guarantees you don’t miss anything while at the same time keeping the future item and its client fulfillment at the top of the priority list. Hence, it is significant.

    4. Feature Identification & Prioritization

    List all the features you want your product to have and add it stage-wise. Do not forget to verify if you have added all the features that made your list, keeping in mind, the needs of the customers.

    5. Budgeting and Resource

    When building up an MVP, limiting expenses and time to market are the primary needs. The purpose of MVP is to try things out and decide if it is practical. In case the idea is demonstrated to have potential after the MVP is discharged, additional time can be spent to structure the extra highlights to make a progressively cleaned item. There is no reason for dumping a huge amount of assets into what is essentially a test venture.

    5.1 With In-house Resources

    In-house advancement of an MVP is a suitable procedure; however, they are not on the off chance that you are inadequate with regards to the engineers you have to take a shot at the undertaking. An MVP ought to be generally brisk and modest, experiencing an enlistment procedure just to staff a test venture is opposing to this objective. It is basically in every case faster and less expensive to discover a re-appropriating accomplice to push out an MVP.

    5.2 With Out-source Resource

    In terms of outsourced resources, you rapidly discharge the item with the base measure of highlights that are fundamental and afterward, you accumulate criticism to check whether the undertaking merits could have proceeded. The additional advantage of utilizing an outsourced resource is that you can broaden their agreement and continue building up the application for minimal effort significantly after it is out of the MVP to organize. One of the good out-sourcing resources you can approach is the ATEAM MVP development service.

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