A modern dilemma in building products is the perennial question: is this ready to launch, or not?
There's a natural tension between wanting to be proud of what you release into the world vs. learning quickly.
Here are some lessons on striking the delicate balance that I wish I learned earlier.
- The real meaning of “minimum” and “viable”: The first two letters of MVP is commonly interpreted as fewer jobs done well. But a job goes beyond just functionality. A product is a muti-layered cake that starts with users and leads into functionality, reliability, usability and delight. By anchoring on someone else’s problem, you get two important things in return: 1) A focused feature set that still has the power to build trust and be delightful; 2) A path to shedding your own pride and biases
- Where do you draw the line on expectations? This is a two-sided equation. First, you talk to customers to identify what they care about most in search of your killer feature. Second, you figure out what you need to prove to make a go/no-go decision on investing beyond the MVP.
- Overcoming the last mile: The devil is always in the details, and there’s never a shortage of details that can trip up a product launch. It’s easy to fall into the perfectionist trap and refuse to ship until every last pixel is built to spec. Steve Jobs was notorious for this. But the beauty of software products is that you can always touch up a blemish, often before people even notice.
- The trap of the big release: By keeping everything you’re building hidden behind a big launch date, you run into three issues: 1. Loss of time to validate and learn; 2. Undue pressure for demand on launch day; 3. Belief that users who don’t know what you’re making will bestow significance on launch day
Hope this is helpful! You can read about more examples here.