Is it possible to release mvp ( minimum viable product) in 4 weeks or less? Yes it is very much possible. Your planning and approach can help with this. Ability to launch faster versions and make faster iteration based on market feedback increases the success chance of a startup. Many Lean startups does this . The following are few effective steps which will given an idea about how to release mvp in 4 weeks or less.
1. Keep a minimal functionality scope to release mvp
Concentrate on developing the most important and basic functionality of the product and leave everything else from the mvp plan. Your application might have many other functionalities, but it can wait for the next iterations.
To clarify this let us take an example. Consider a hotel booking app like Expedia. You can limit the first mvp version of the app with just the option to create a user account, enter your date and destination, search and book an affordable room in the easiest way. That is it.
The filters that can be applied to the advanced room search, the option to keep a wish list, option to rate the room service and all other niceties can wait till the next version. I hope you understood what i meant by reducing the scope of work now. Keep it less and focus on delivering it the way that gives maximum value to the customer.
2. Consider only most important user
Every application will have different type of users. The first type of users are key users who will get maximum benefit from the app. The second type users will get benefit, but they can live without the app as well. A third set of will have no direct use for the app, but they may like it and refer it to other friends who will get help.
Sometimes, the product owner try to address the needs for all the above three type of users . This makes the scope really wide and so will be the time and budget. In the process sometimes the primary functionality and user will not get the needed attention as well.
In my early days in the career, i got chance to associate with a startup trying to build an innovative product for advertisement industry. They had a strong engineering team which gave them a clear advantage in the technology side. However they where trying to solve problems of atleast 4 different category of users in the advertisement industry. This stretched the product, budget and time too far. They lost valuable time to penetrate the market and obviously started taking the downhill path over time.
So it is important to identify that single type of user who is badly in need of the app. Also identify that single functionality that saves his biggest pain point. That is the only thing that you need to develop for the first version. Everything else can be ignored or a temporary setup can be made to address the other use cases in your MVP.
For example consider you are developing a SaaS based Support desk solution. Your primary user is a support staff or small business owner trying to assist his clients. His only main requirement is to close a support ticket with minimal time with no complaints. So just do that and try releasing the first version to him.
Ignore every other user say, admin or other staff, advanced reports, graphs and charts, integration with email and every sophisticated feature that adds value but secondary.
Even the plan and subscription logics needed for a SAAS system can be ignored in first version. You can given all your users a 6 months free trial. By that time you will be able to develop and perfect the subscription flow.
3. Skip the backend functionalities
There are several admin and backend sections that are important for the smooth operations of your system. But it will not be important for your main customer. The administration console from which you manage every aspect of the application is important for you but not for him. The online payment section is important but you can do it offline initially. The periodic summary report generations and transaction emails etc. are other similar features.
While developing the first version of your mvp application , you can ignore these items. Take care of them manually, and it will not stop your main customer from achieving his goal. This will cut own the fat significantly.
You can directly edit the data in the DB to eliminate the need of admin console. Try to manually collect the payment offline via bank transfer or hard cash. Manually compile summary email report is also possible in initial days
4. Reuse open source components and cheap templates
Many websites provides hundreds of quality web and mobile application templates for any kind of business. wrapbootstrap, CSS mania etc are a few of the examples.Ionic has a good showcase of hybrid mobile application templates
You might need to customise the templates slightly to fit your need, but in almost every case one of this template will fit your need. They are very cheap ,range from $10 – $50 and sometimes free.They are optimised for mobile friendliness and Search Engines as well.
Using one of this can save considerable amount of time and money. It can also give a professional finish to the UI of your mvp application. To release mvp cheap and quick, i will recommend the use of a template.
Similarly there are thousands of open source components that does some of your functionality. Don’t shy away from using them. You can comeback and implement your own replacement for them later. But only after you have some traction, funds, resources and time.
5. Keep the technology side simple to release mvp lightweight
One common myth that many startups share is about the architecture of the application. The startup wants the application to be a highly scalable, secure, fool proof, advanced technology masterpiece even from the first version. But this desire will have a high price tag.
Every application that is successful, scalable and a digital masterpiece now, had gone through several round of iterations, revamps and sometimes total rework to reach to the current point. To name a few, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Yelp, every one of those applications had gone through this life cycle.
Nobody cares about your optimised db structure and micro service architecture. While you are at your mvp application stage. If you are too particular you can ask your developer to care about the usability part and that is enough.
To release mvp faster and lightweight, you can keep it really really simple, keep the code and design minimal. Spare all advanced methods. Ensure your mvp application code to be minimal, easy to tweak. You should be ready to even scrap and rebuild with minimal work if the market demands so.
Your app needs an awsome technology wireframe only if you reach to a day when you have thousands of users. If you reach to that point you will have enough time and resource to fix the gaps or rework on them.
You can be less bothered about technology, and more focused on the primary user and primary use case alone.
So to sum up the thoughts, in your first version, focus more on the key functionality and the very basic version of that. Plan for a minimum viable product with minimum effort, cheap options and less effort. Remember your mvp is not your final product. It is only the first step to validate your product with the market and customers.