I’ve built a lot of products in my lifetime and although I have expressed support for building MVPs I have often ignored my own advice.
Why? Because building real MVPs is really freaking hard.
Most (if not all) software developers really struggle to create the most simplest of forms for their ideas – we simply can’t help but continue to build what we believe to be “fundamental” to the application.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it very well can be if you end up spending more time than is required to get it into the hands of real customers.
Over time, I’ve learned to go much, much smaller and trust that my first pass of a “product” will be just fine enough to get real, live feedback. And yes, 100 out of 100 times I’m generally embarrassed about the outcome but that’s okay – that’s kind of the point.
In addition, what I’ve come to understand as even more important than a working product is customer feedback. If businesses are built because you end up building something people truly want, then, you must have real customers.
And the only way you can do that is if you know what they want and that requires asking them directly (not assuming or jumping to crazy and insane conclusions).
It really is unbelievable how easy it is to deceive ourselves into believing that what we’re building is really valuable to someone else – we are so biased it’s scary.
Customer research and customer feedback breaks you out of that mindset so quick it can make you nauseous – hang in there and you’ll do just fine.