So you've spotted a problem that needs a solution and you think this might be the next big thing. So you rush to get started on a draft specification. A big danger and potential major time waste is to engage in the immediate creation of a detailed specification for the product based on your intuition (alone) of what customers will like or will not like. You need to engage with customers from the get-go, and before any specification stage. Be wary of basing outcomes on limited research. That is, research based upon a limited number of friends and acquiantances to whom you float your 'hypothetical' product. These are generally not "real customers".
Lean startup thinking requires the elimination of wasteful practice by making customer validation an inseparable part of the product development cycle from the very start. It’s all about getting in front of your customer quickly and finding out if they like your product and if they will sign-up to use it (even at the concept stage).
Lean startup thinking promotes the launch of a web software project as soon as it is developed to a minimal viable product stage. It simply means that you shouldn’t obsesse about delaying launch until you consider the product is "perfect", "finished", "stunning" etc.; instead launch as soon as you have a core set of requirements met.
A very cut-down and feature restricted or prototype version of a product (your web application) is referred to as MVP or a Minimum Viable Product. It should be built quickly and as cost effectively as possible.
As soon as the prototype application (MVP) is developed it should be launched and real customers invited to sign-up and use it. Customer opinion should be then actively sought, analysed and key observations or requests implemented quickly and then re-released. Again feedback should be actively sought, taken into account and the product refined accordingly and released again. Wash and Spin until a majority of your customers become satisfied with your product.
The sooner your web application is launched the sooner you can establish the veracity of your intuition. With customer engagement from day one, the product is shaped quickly and if launched early into the market it will quickly fail (or succeed) without burning up valuable resources. The faster a product fails, the faster you can adjust or pivot until it succeeds using quick iteration of the build-measure-learn feedback cycle.
So you have bought into the Lean Startup Strategy; next is to find a development partner who has the technical expertise, experience and capability (Rapid Application Development Environment, Software framework, MVP architecture support) to fast track your prototype development and get your product launched and your start-up business underway. Not an easy task, but we invite you to give us a call and see how we measure up.
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