What is an MVP and what does it do? MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. What is a Minimum Viable Product? It is a product with enough features to be usable by early-adopter customers and validate a product idea early in the product development cycle. Companies of all sizes rely on the ability to validate an idea in the actual market. The sooner market testing can be done, the sooner our customers know if they’re headed in the right direction. At Darwoft, our customers range from VC-supported startups to large corporations. For many of our projects, we know that investors have devoted a large amount of money to seeing this new idea come to fruition, whether by creating a new product or expanding an existing one. Our job is to be good stewards of these investments by delivering a product that adds value to the end user and getting it out into the market fast as possible.
To achieve this goal, Darwoft uses a two-phase development process, which we have refined and customized throughout our decade in business.
Phase 1: Product Discovery
Darwoft’s trusted process begins with the company’s unique approach to Product Discovery. Rather than start from scratch for every project, our team takes existing tools and techniques from the industry and tailors them to the project at hand. This method is designed to efficiently deliver a high-fidelity prototype in one month and set the stage for an MVP launch within five months.
There are two important aspects addressed during Product Discovery.
1. User Experience (UX)
Darwoft is highly-regarded for its strong UX process, and it all begins with defining the end user and designing the experience with this user in mind.
We define the end user with a high level of specificity and clarity to ensure that we deliver the most relevant product possible. From here, we create the user flow, showing the path that users will take while in the application. When designing the user flow, our team takes into account the individuality of various users. For example, the application onboarding process may look different to each user depending on their comfort level with technology, previous interactions with the business, and other factors.
Next, the team creates wireframes, which act as the blueprint of the software structure, and are defined by the user flow. At this stage, we run tests on the wireframes using actual customers and make any adjustments necessary to ensure an enjoyable and seamless experience within the application.
Finally, we move into the aesthetic design, selecting colors, typefaces, and creating other branding elements. Once the design is approved, a product style guide is created.
2. Technical Design
The technical team’s assignment is to create the overall architecture of the application as well as a list of the product’s technical features.
Darwoft uses an agile approach to software development, but architectural design hasn’t traditionally been aligned with agile methodologies. So, using the C4 architectural model as a foundation, Darwoft created a new agile model that aligns with the iterative process. The team adheres to a set of standards, ensuring a high level of sophistication when designing the architecture of the product.
Next, the team defines how the product will behave from a technical standpoint. This technical definition spells out the components that need to be developed for this product; for example, a mobile application, an API, and a database.
From here, the team creates a prioritized list of the product’s technical features, called a “backlog.” This list will be used by the team’s developers when creating the final MVP in the next stage of the process. Examples of product features include authentication or the ability for users to connect to a store.
Product Discovery Deliverable: A High-Fidelity Prototype
Product Discovery culminates with the delivery of a high-fidelity prototype that has several uses:
- Helps Darwoft and our customer to understand the end user experience
- Helps the business team to understand the problem at hand
- Helps the development team understand the overall vision
Phase 2: Development
Once Product Discovery is complete, the development team can start iterating, taking features from the backlog and starting to implement them into an MVP.
Our development team works in two-week sprints, sharing a product demo with the customer at the end of each sprint. Throughout the process, the team works closely with business experts on the client side who know their customers well and can act as the voice of the end user.
A key aspect of Darwoft’s development process is utilizing reusable components, such as authentication or authorization. As these components have already been developed and tested, reusing them helps focus the team on the business problem itself rather than on components that are already common in the industry. It also helps speed up the time to market.
Another important aspect of Darwoft’s process is the use of a continuous integration pipeline, which is built into the development infrastructure. Each time a developer pushes code into the repository, the code is automatically tested and moved to an environment where the user is going to see how it works. This ensures that there is a “shippable” product at the end of every sprint, a distinguishing deliverable in Darwoft’s process which our customers highly value.
Once the development team is ready to test, a first version of the MVP is released to a small network of users, including friends and family, trusted customers, and other early adopters. User feedback is addressed, and a final product is released to all current and potential customers.
Final Deliverable: An MVP Launch in Five Months
Darwoft makes it possible for our customers to go to market in just five months with a high-quality, valuable product. Our time-tested and proven process allows us to deliver:
- An innovative and creative UX
- High-quality code
- An efficient process using best practices and reusable components
- A shippable product at the end of each two-week sprint
- A solution informed by the unique problem that you want to solve
Scalable Products and Integrations
Throughout the process, our team is careful to develop a product that can scale. By creating cloud-native apps, our products can easily scale from a few users at launch to many users over time. Our teams are also experts in integrations with third-party platforms, including Twilio and Stripe. Additionally, we maintain efficiency and best practices by leveraging existing services such as Alexa.
What Does MVP Mean to Darwoft? A Minimum Valuable Product
We are experts in product development. Our main goal is to deliver a minimum viable product that adds value to your customers. This is why we often refer to it as a Minimum Valuable Product. Time and again, we are trusted by our customers to create products of the highest quality with the best user experience possible.