Now that we are getting closer to actually building your idea, we need to get realistic. You’ve got an idea of your features and the final product, but at TSL we use the agile methodology to develop our applications. Because of this, we need to build an M.V.P. first! It’s important for us to provide early users with a functioning product as soon as possible to get feedback about their experience using it.
The M.V.P. is the Minimum Viable Product, and this is the first stage of your application. It is the most basic features needed to allow your user to move from the beginning to the end of your user flow. Once we have this basic product, then we will introduce the more intricate features later.
The Eliminate phase is all about getting you to that M.V.P. We aren’t throwing away any of your features, instead, we are tucking them away to bring out at a later time.
How do you know what features to eliminate in order to get your application to an M.V.P.? Revisit what you learned during the Inquire and Define phases. At the core of it, what problem are you trying to solve and how does your application solve it? Figure out the least amount of steps it takes to get from the user opening your application to them ending the interaction.
Now cut out any steps that you didn’t just list. These features (while certainly cool and useful) are extra steps that aren’t needed to build the M.V.P.
For example, if you are building an application that allows users to buy flowers from local flower shops, you may have a bunch of innovative features roaming around in your head. You want users to log in and collect rewards for making purchases, you want shops to offer predesigned bouquets or allow users to create their own custom designs, you want them to offer pick-up and delivery, you want to send confirmation emails with each order.
While you should be proud for thinking up such a comprehensive flower ordering application (you’re quite perceptive of the needs of flower buyers!), these features should be the end goal. They just aren’t all needed for the M.V.P.!
Now, which features are necessary for the M.V.P.?
- Consider the problem: there is no easy way easily purchase flowers
- Consider how your application solves it: it gives users the ability to order flowers from different shops in one easy application
- Imagine your user is very easily appeased and/or in a really big hurry! They want to take the easiest path through your application to solve their problem. Would this man want to waste time logging in and collecting rewards; does he want to use all his creative energy on designing custom bouquets? NO! He wants to choose the nearest flower shop, select his favorite of the shop’s bouquet designs, and confirm the order for pickup.
Give him just the features he needs to
Follow the same process with your own application when creating the M.V.P. Build something that the hurried man would want to use. Include only the features that are undeniably necessary. And don’t feel bad — we know you worked hard during the Inspire phase to come up with these features, it must feel wrong to not use them in the M.V.P. But we will revisit your features during the next (and final) phase, the Aspire phase!
Narrow down your audience even further than before and create a definition for your audience that’s even tighter than the one before (think sentence or two). Once you’ve eliminated down to your MVP, set an actual budget that will get you there.