How to Build a Scalable Minimum Viable Product

Minimum viable meets maximum flexible

The Human Factor

As I write this, I’m bolting two new features onto an existing product, and if I do it right, we’ll have the beginnings of a direct-to-consumer marketplace for two new product lines. What hurts me most right now is that these two new features are killing my support team. They’re having to do things they’re not trained for, and they have to document each step in the process each time they do it.

The Data Factor

Before I put together the plan to build those two new features onto our product, I built a data collection system to pre-determine whether our customers wanted those things or not, then I collected a bunch of data, over months, to figure out how often they’d want the things, how much we could charge, and what our margins might be.

The Tech Factor

Developers are expensive and they always have been. This should come as a surprise to no one. But we often get a shock when our expensive developers build incredibly rigid code from our requirements.

  • Never store duration or counts, always use beginning and end points and do the math on the fly. In other words, don’t store the fact that it takes 32 minutes to do something, store the start time and the end time instead.
  • Always make a table for choices, don’t use a static list. This is the same rule as the constant rule. If you’ve got three options for a choice that needs to be made, make a three-row table and store the ID in the original table. Better yet, store the chooser ID and the option ID in another transactional table with a timestamp.
  • Never store transactional data with descriptive data. If your table includes columns like option_1, option_2, option_3, and so on, you need another table.

I’m a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Sold ExitEvent. Building TeachingStartup.com & GetSpiffy. Former Automated Insights. More info at joeprocopio.com

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