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Andrew Baisden
Andrew Baisden

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How to launch a Minimum viable product (MVP) in 2022

What is a Minimum viable product

When you are working on a project the first iteration or the very first version is known as a Minimum viable product or MVP when abbreviated. This can apply to almost any type of project for example websites, mobile applications, desktops applications, and even games among other things.

A minimum viable product is essentially an early build which has a decent amount of features and functionality to make it usable for first time customers. These customers then provide feedback which gets passed onto the developers who then incorporate these changes and improvements into future releases. Minimum viable products can go through many stages during their lifecycle from alpha, beta and final builds.

Every experienced developer, company, freelancer and entrepreneur has created or launched some type of product during their career. This could be a simple pet project or a fully commercial product that has paying customers. Regardless how they reached that point they had to go through a process to get there.

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Team structure

Under normal conditions a whole team would be working on the product. You could have designers, copywriters, developers and quality assurance/quality control testers. Before any work has started the team would either be working with a client to figure out how they can best work together. Or in another scenario they are launching a product to solve some sort of problem or to fill a gap in the market.

Like a greenfield project which needs to be created from scratch. It is not uncommon for freelancers to work on the whole product lifecycle going through all of these processes. There are countless different ways an organisation might choose for their team structure and how they work together. I will give you a breakdown of one such process.

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Designers

Designers are responsible for creating the initial design. Prior to this they would have gone through a user flow journey which is basically the pathways that a user would use to navigate through the application or website. The path is broken down into various steps that a user would follow to travel throughout the product.

During the design phase designers are also responsible for creating the first working prototype. The prototype is normally created inside of a design file and it adds interactivity to the design. No coding is required at this stage and the design is still static however it is the last stage before the handoff is given to the development team to build it.

https://res.cloudinary.com/d74fh3kw/image/upload/v1641259589/project-designer_ibtn2c.gif

Copyrighters

The job of a copywriter is to come up with content for the product. Their role is essentially to create engaging text and writing which will help to describe the product and sell it to the customers. They are responsible for doing the marketing and advertising throughput all of the various channels that a company uses both online and offline. Across social media and even outdoor banners and adverts both digital and print.

When it comes to the actual digital product a copywriters role would be to do the proofreading and making sure that the written content is accurate, correct and of good quality.

https://res.cloudinary.com/d74fh3kw/image/upload/v1641259734/project-copywriter_iey3pq.gif

Developers

Developers are an essential part of the product lifecycle as they are the ones who bring the designs to life. Depending on the project developers could be working across the full technical stack. Developing the back-end, front-end, web version, desktop version and even a mobile one too. If it is a game then there would also be a special process for the development and getting it working on various platforms.

https://res.cloudinary.com/d74fh3kw/image/upload/v1641259873/project-developer_nco99x.gif

Quality Assurance/Quality Control Testers

Testers are people who go through the whole product to make sure that it is ready to be launched as a MVP. They will check for bugs, errors, accessibility issues and a lot more. Their job is to give the product a complete test so that it is in a condition whereby it can pass all of the tests giving it a final seal of approval.

https://res.cloudinary.com/d74fh3kw/image/upload/v1641259996/project-testing_ri9jq3.gif

Working on the product

During this phase it is highly likely that there would be a marketing and advertising campaign going on so that people know about the company or product prior to its launch. And in a lot of cases there might be a small group of early adopters, alpha and beta testers who might be using the product before its launch to the wider public.

This allows the company to see how the product could potentially work when it is ready for launch. Mitigating any server, bugs or breaking errors that can be flagged and fixed beforehand.

https://res.cloudinary.com/d74fh3kw/image/upload/v1641261545/project-marketing_uxhblc.gif

Building the product

There are infinite ways this can be done and there is no right or wrong answer because every team is different. Any technical stack can be used so this can be adapted to work for anyone. Here is one example of how a team might go about building a product.

Step 1: User flow/journey

Technical Stack: Miro/FigJam/Mural
Description: The interaction process a user takes when using the product.

Step 2: Low fidelity wireframe

Technical Stack: Figma/Adobe XD
Description: Low fidelity wireframes are the initial blueprints used before creating the website and app screens. They usually have placeholder "lorem ipsum" text.

Step 3: High fidelity wireframe and design system

Technical Stack: Figma/Adobe XD
Description: High fidelity wireframes are used to show the look and feel for the product in a more final stage in the design process. They tend to have real content instead of placeholder. In this stage the designer would also create the design system which could include the brand colors, typefaces, and design specifications.

Step 4: Prototype

Technical Stack: Figma/Adobe XD
Description: The prototype is a working example of the final application that has been created by the design team. It has working interactions and can be used to show how screens navigate, transitions, click events and much more.

Step 5: Development back-end

Technical Stack: Python, Django, PostgreSQL, AWS
Description: This is where a back-end developer would work on the API, databases, servers and anything related to the architecture.

Step 6: Development front-end

Technical Stack: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Storybook
Description: Working on the back-end or front-end first comes down to personal preferences. Personally I prefer to have a back-end up and running first so that there is live data. In this stage a front-end developer would work on the UI/UX and get the application to connect to the back-end or any test data. Storybook is like a bridge between the designer and the developer. The design systems and components can be a mirror match between them both.

Step 7: Deployment

Technical Stack: AWS
Description: When all stages have been cleared it is time for the MVP to have its official launch. The back-end and front-end should already be online or in a test stage area. So the final step would be to launch the final build and complete the first iteration for the project.

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