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Stage 2 - Product Development

So you have figured out your exciting Big Idea and are ready to start building it. The most common mistake founders make after this stage is to go in a shell and work on building the perfect product for their users. The problem with this approach is that most often your Big Idea is only a good starting point (or so you would hope) from which you begin your journey. As you build out your product and test it with users, the feedback from them will guide you to improve the product & reach the elusive product market fit. Given this, your job as a founder at this stage, is to figure out a way to quickly build a product that delivers the core value to the users and talk to them.

Prerequisites for Stage 2:

Discovered a good idea from Value chain mapping and stress tested against GIC and ORC checked. Clickable MVP demo tested with 5 potential customers

Stress test your idea against GIC and ORC for non-profit organisations and for profit organisations.

2.1 Goal

The goal in this stage is to translate your idea into a tangible minimum viable product (MVP), test it with a  few early pilot users and iterate based on their feedback.

2.2 Timeline

1-1.5 months, 4 people (includes 2 interns)

 

2.3 MVP Development Process:

MVP: MVP is the first version of your product with just enough features to test with a few pilot/early customers, take feedback and iterate. It is important to highlight that this first version should be able to deliver core value to the user. The below example is an imperfect metaphor but still illustrates the point of what is not an MVP.

  1. Identify the core features required in the product to solve the problem

    • Select only a minimum basic set of features from these core features that will help to build the product and test with few customers.

  2. Make a basic UI/UX design to understand the user flow

  3. Make a week-on-week plan (sprints) to add these features in the product

  4. Develop the first MVP version (ideally 1-1.5 month)

  5. Use a no-code/low-code tool such as WIX, Bubble etc for creating a basic flow quickly

  6. Test your product with first set of potential customers

    • Goal is to learn from users and take feedback to improve the product

  7. Make iterations to the product based on user feedback

  8. Launch the product for the market

PRODUCT ROADMAP: A product roadmap is a strategic document that outlines the vision, direction, and plan for developing a product over time. The primary purpose of a product roadmap is to communicate the overall strategy and goals of the product, as well as the planned initiatives, features, and milestones needed to achieve those goals.

Key components of a product roadmap typically include:

 

  1.  Vision and Strategy: A clear articulation of the product's long-term vision and strategic objectives. 

  2.  Timeline: A timeline or schedule that illustrates the planned development milestones, releases, and iterations over time. 

  3.  Features and Initiatives: A breakdown of the specific features, enhancements, or initiatives planned for each phase or release of the product.

  4.  Dependencies and Constraints: Any dependencies or constraints that could impact the execution of the roadmap, such as technological dependencies, resource constraints, or regulatory requirements.

  5.  Metrics and KPIs: Key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics that will be used to measure the success and progress of the product. This is arguably the most important item in a roadmap.

 

Product roadmaps can take various forms, ranging from high-level strategic roadmaps that span several years to more detailed tactical roadmaps focused on specific features or releases. It can also be an internal (for internal users) vs external (customers etc) roadmap. 

 

A sample product roadmap looks like this:

2.4 ACE Process:

  1. Fortnightly session on Product Development and UI/UX from experienced industry experts for in-depth discussions on product development strategies and user interface enhancement

  2. Weekly cohort meetings to present a progress report, steps ahead and share learnings and tackle challenges together. 

  3. Weekly 121 meetings with each founder to offer tailored mentorship specific to their product

  4. Fortnightly readings provided to each team, which they have to study and present back to the cohort. 

  5. Assist startups in connecting with potential users for pilot testing, facilitating invaluable feedback loops crucial for refining product offerings.

  6. Helping startups in sourcing and recruiting right tech talent essential for product development

  7. Mid program feedback from angel investors and VCs on idea and product progress

2.5 Tools to use in Product Development Stage

  1. Customer Interview

    • Google Form

    • Typeform

  2. Prototype development

    • uizard.io

    • Figma

    • Wix

  3. MVP Building

    • Wix

    • Bubble

    • Wordpress

    • Webflow

  4. After launch to get early users

    • Product Hunt

    • Discord

    • Reddit

  5. Analytics

    • Google Analytics

    • Mix Panel

2.7 Product Development Checklist

  • Target user and Type of product: Who is going to be the target user and how will they use the product?

    • Target user persona and his/her demographics are defined?

    • Target user pain points and needs are clearly identified?

    • Type of product to build: Mobile app, web application, hardware

  • MVP Features: What will be the priority features to build MVP with limited development time?

    • Have a list of all features your product can potentially offer?

    • Have you prioritized the features that deliver most significant value to your target user with limited development effort?

      • Categorize features into Must Have and Good-To-Have category to help in prioritizing

    • Create a roadmap with weekly milestones (sprints) outlining the development of MVP features

    • Do you have basic tooling and analytics installed to gather relevant usage data on your product?

  • Wireframe/Prototype: What will be the user interface and flow of the product?

    • Developed wireframes or prototypes to visualize the user interface and flow? (use tools like Figma, uizard, Marvel)

    • Have you conducted usability testing with few users to test their experience?

    • Iterate on prototype based on feedback from users

  • Tech stack and team fit: Which set of technologies to use to build the product? Will it be scalable? Does the team have expertise?

    • Evaluate various technologies and frameworks suitable for the product requirements

    • Choose a tech stack that allows you to put out your MVP the fastest.

    • The Founding team has expertise in the chosen tech stack?

  • Budget for MVP: How much will it cost to build the MVP?

    • What is the cost required to build the MVP including resources, tools, services etc

    • Does the founding team have money or need to raise from friends/family or externally?

  • Hiring and Work allocation: Do the founding team need more employees/intern to build the MVP?

    • How many developers or designers will be required?

    • Need full-time employees or interns?

    • Allocate tasks efficiently to optimize productivity and deadlines

  • Compliance and security check (GDPR)

    • Ensure compliance with relevant regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

    • Implement security measures to safeguard user data and prevent unauthorized access.

  • Early Adopters/Users 

  • Feedback from Users: How to collect user feedback?

    • Develop personal touch with early users, get on calls to understand their difficulties in using the product, suggestions on any features etc.

    • Maintain an excel or a doc to document these feedbacks and suggestions

  • Iterations: How to make product iterations based on user feedback?

    • Analyze feedback to identify areas for improvement and prioritize future development efforts

    • Prioritise feedbacks/suggestions only for mass use

    • Establish a regular iteration cycle for continuous improvement based on user feedback

2.6 Team/Organisation Checklist for PD stage

  • One Tech Founder builds the product and one Founder focused to get early users

  • Budget planning to hire tech team/interns

  • 2-3 Tech Interns, UI/UX Designer (contract)

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