16 September 2021

MVP Ideas: The Art of the Last-Minute Update


Making changes to your design is perfectly normal.

In fact, it's normal for you to fine-tune your work at various project stages. But sometimes, you'll need to perfect your concept at the last possible moment. Of course, your minimum viable product is a working sample of full-bodied digital design. So, it's understandable that you may wish to change things from time to time.

New expectations or fresh client feedback are common reasons for making the changes and adjustments to your project. However, no matter your objective, your MVP changes will need to address your users' shifting circumstances.

Let's find out what you must do to demonstrate your powerful new idea and implement it throughout your design and development stages.

How do we approach our new MVP changes?

In the interest of transparency, any changes to your MVP should be monitored and consistently controlled. This, of course, refers to the life cycle of the minimal viable product – which needs to happen, or else 'all hell breaks loose.'

Agile development effectively means that changes are not under some formal process. Unfortunately, this effectively means an unmonitored development environment, which can waste your time and resources.

In projects that effectively use project management tools like JIRA, we can see dependencies between the functionalities.

What MVP changes are ok to carry out?

Changes are directly related to the scope of the project, whether directly or indirectly. With this said, it is worth noting if you have any specific features or functionalities that you would like to include in the MVP or current product release.

Whichever your changes, they should always follow the original scope of the project. Unnecessary scope changes are likely to hurt both your budget and timeline. What's more, is the consequences are existential, as they could lead to premature project closure or even termination.

When making your updates, consider de-scoping your items to satisfy the specification for new changes whilst keeping the budget timeline intact.

Of course, you could have an unlimited budget – but nobody has ever heard of such a thing!

At which stage are MVP changes ok?

You might have limited money to spend, but time will always be your scarcest resource. Therefore, maintaining and managing your timeline is essential. With that said, control over your processes should enable you to make changes whenever necessary.

For app development, it would therefore be most practical to follow Agile development best practices. I would include sprint planning, backlog grooming, activity and task estimation sessions, to name a few positive practices. As a result, these processes will better assist with monitoring and controlling any possible time constraints.

Your project evaluation is also sure to improve, as you can allow for quicker response times to evaluate project changes and decrease potential impacts. However, as mentioned, time will always remain expensive, as it will relate directly to budget constraints.

Consequently, if the variances in your schedule are too broad, it can suggest an issue with work performance or planning. That would require an assessment for impact, which would determine your next steps.

What about my budget?

Kindly keep in mind that your project budget should not typically change unless you find an urgent need that warrants this new budget. Such a request would arise from the change control process, which typically encompasses approval and integration.

You might find that most changes that appear 'urgent' are an MVP or release priority. While these don't represent immediate needs, they would require attention at a later stage. Therefore, these items should be backlogged to remain on the agenda and with minimum change to their priority level.

Employing this method can also help ensure that you receive essential features of your app in the shortest possible elapsed time.

Final thoughts

A perfectly balanced MVP is tough to master, but with some good development practices – it is possible to create. All it takes is a combination of flexibility, team management, and consistent vision to form the bedrock of a good product.

Firstly, you must be able to assemble a capable and motivated team. Next, your task will be to design a compelling marketing campaign that sets a unique key differentiator. In addition, you should maintain a constant state of fluctuation and adaptability to any given scenario.

Remember that changes are regular occurrences which you should always welcome. The one condition for these changes should be that they do not affect the project's budget, time, or scope. Core changes also have a higher impact on regression in the system, which again affects time/budget and risks product delivery.

With this said, consult colleagues and industry partners to determine what the best practices are. Once you know this, you'll be prepared for any contingency and react swiftly to challenges as they emerge. Good luck!

Flexible approach to software development projects

Michał Kwilman
Front-end Technical Lead