We have a saying around the studio.
Build what you need now.
We didn’t make this up, and we’re not 100% sure where the expression originated, but it’s become firmly rooted in our collective psyche. It’s the best way we’ve found to keep our team focused on a Lean approach to product development.
Lean development principles are based on building only the minimum viable product (MVP) in order to launch early and validate the business or product concept. In plain speak, it means don’t be wasteful. Build the most basic version of what you think you need, then test and listen to your customers.
Cash flow is critical to fledgling businesses, so it follows that funding feature sets that may or may not be sought by your target market is wasteful at best, and a business killer at worst. We don’t want to see you burn money on non-essential features. In fact, we want your business to be successful so we can work together over the long term.
The market can move quickly and *gasp*, your idea might not be as good as you think it is. Starting a business is inherently risky (partly because our ideas are often not as good as we think they are). A Lean approach encourages us to validate our ideas without over-investing in technology.
The MVP might not be polished or may have some manual processes rather than the fully streamlined automation we dream of. It might be little more that a splash page announcing an intent to produce. Because that might be all you need right now. To start, to test, to validate.
Clients and partners of ours will find themselves being asked, “Do you need this now, or could this come later/in phase 2/after testing?”
Well, do you?