Doing basics great when you create MVPs
Our last article covered how Lab08 uses product management as a value-adding tool to help ventures build intelligent software solutions. If you missed it, you could have a go at it by clicking the link here. This next piece will dig a little deeper into how Lab08 develops MVPs – minimum viable products.
If you know about Lab08, you know that we are big believers in simplicity. We want to cover the pain points, making us a bit less interested in chasing shiny add-ons that make for a buzzword-worthy marketing presentation. Fundamentally, our methodology supports value-adding requirements that cover needs, something we rarely see in software development today. It is easy to get lost and use your resources running after the unnecessary, why this article will give you a look into how we work with a laser-sharp focus on covering core needs – ultimately limiting time and money spent by our clients.
Getting the users on the field
To set the right direction from the get-go, we need to map the strategic goals we must meet to succeed. To do so, we start by identifying the target segments and verticals and understand how they look at success. What does it take for them to succeed and what KPIs are essential to reach?
To get this right, we conduct various qualitative and quantitative interviews with internal stakeholders to understand the key jobs to be done. Doing the qualitative interviews helps us map the underlying user needs from different areas in the organization, while the quantitative surveys allow us to start quantifying the relevance.
Once we have insight into the internal drivers, we look towards the external factors. What does the competitive landscape look like, and what are the market conditions in the category? This gives us a new angle that can help support or bust our early hypotheses.
As we uncover needs in a business, we get a rather extensive list. It turns out, when people get going, they typically have a lot of stuff they would like to add. One of our critical tools for success in developing MVPs is securing proper prioritization of these needs. Fundamentally, we need to identify the Basic, Performance, and Delighter needs per the KANO model.
Prioritizing features using the KANO model
At Lab08, we are all about helping our clients build dynamic but straightforward and value-adding software. We have a passion for driving impact and business value, which allows us to come aboard some fantastic growth journeys in the process. If we are to ensure simplicity and scaleability in our products, the KANO model is an absolute must for us to scope the must-have features and prioritize the needs from the wants.
The model is a prioritization framework designed to help product teams – such as ourselves – rate initiatives. The different needs that have been explored with the users will be classified into three different categories: Basic, Performance, and Delighters.
It is essential to note that needs are dynamic. Needs will always be seen differently from venture to venture, depending on the required outcome of the software and the people we try to serve. Furthermore, needs can also be fluid. Needs that were Delighters years ago are suddenly considered to be Performance – or even Basic – needs today. Think of the ability to take pictures on your phone. What a delighter it was on the Nokia 7650 back in 2001. Now, it is an essential feature for smartphone shoppers.
- Basic needs are must-haves. They are the ticket-to-play, as they are required to start using the product eventually. The Basics are often not the shiniest attributes, but they need to be done exceptionally well for the overall experience. As such, the Basics are a treasured part of getting the MVP just right, as it must carry the total weight of serving core needs.
If you compare it to the auto industry, it is the equivalent of installing a seat belt. People are not interested in buying cars without seat belts, as it covers a fundamental need for safety. The lesson here? You need to cover the absolute basics to even get in contention with the target user.
- Secondly, Performance needs are essential to serving, as they ensure that the product provides a good user experience. They are not considered business-critical, but they represent a crucial function in making the product easy and intuitive to use daily. If we turn towards the auto industry once again, a performance need would be a sound system. It is typically developed through another company, but it is integral to the user experience.
- Lastly, we have the Delighters. You love it when Delighters are present, but you would not have noticed if they were not there. With cars, delighters are the things you least expect when you arrive at the dealer, like the ability to parallel park through AI or even the self-driving ability – that would be pretty cool.
If you do Delighters well, you get the “wow-effect,” where users become promoters and love to work with the product. However, these are not fundamental to the business or the value we try to add. Therefore, we only add Delighters if they are low-hanging fruit that is efficiently implemented. We want to build simple, not getting complex and bloated products.
It is easy to run and chase the shiny new attributes that create the “wow,” but these must co-exist in a hierarchical structure. The foundation consists of the Basics that make it robust and serve the core requirements, why you need to fill the Basics first. If you run straight to the Delighters, no one will bother to use your product for more than two seconds. Always cover the Basics, then look at Performance. Delighters finish last.
If you enjoyed learning more about how we work with the KANO model as we build MVPs in software, make sure you keep an eye out for future articles. We will continue to drop papers every month that describe what sets us apart and makes us stand out as a partner and collaborator when you look to develop or refine your software products.
Head of Product Management
Lachezar Blagoev is the Head of Product Management at Lab08. His responsibilities include defining product roadmaps, managing backlog, and coordinating development efforts in order to ensure that milestones maximize the value we bring to all of our customers
He is acting as the link between customers and business by representing the user’s perspective
Lachezar has made essential decisions regarding all aspects of a product strategy including but not limited to UX, technical approach, business purpose, and compliance with regulations
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