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A step by step guide towards launching a successful MVP

A significant number of products die just after the launch. Some take ages to launch a “perfect product”, whatever that means. In the past 6 years of my career, I have launched 8 products out of which only 2 reached a million DAU mark. Having experienced the share of success and failures with these products, I have created a playbook towards launching a successful product.

Step 1: Don’t fall in love with the newly got idea. Not yet.

As soon as we get an idea, most of us have a tendency to fall in love with it. We get too attached that we often find reasons why something like this would work.

Whenever I get an idea I feel excited about, I document it immediately.

This document acts as a bible for me. I dump all the information here, the positive feedback, the negative ones, user research, wishlist ideas

Step 2: Let your excitement flow. Jump to wireframes

Use problem statements as your guiding star. It will happen that while you are wireframing your idea or getting user feedback, your direction will keep shifting. There’s only and only one way to stop it.

Going back to the problem statements. The problem statement is a concise description of the problem and fills in the blank between what should be happening (situation to-be) and what is actually happening (situation as-is).

A simple template to define a problem statement is:

‘X target users’ need a way to do ‘Y-needs’ shown by the ‘Z-insight’

Once you have your problem statement in place, use this to create wireframes for your idea.

Quick hack: Use pencil and paper and make the wireframes. Don’t aim for perfection. This is just the starting. Don’t invest a lot in it so that you don’t get attached to the wireframes.

Wireframes of one of the apps I am working on looks something like this:

Step 3: Share wireframes with your network who is also your target audience

This is the time for you to share the wireframes with 10 potential customers. To do it right, I follow this approach:

  1. I ask the customer to have a look at the wireframes and describe to me what the product does

  2. I keep noting all the feedback on the concept note document.

  3. You don’t have to tell your customers what the product does. Just take the feedback. This is crucial. Idea is not to create any bias in your customer’s head.

For instance, one of the products I was working on was made as a work status app. But when I started getting feedback from my potential customers, it occurred they were perceiving it as just a fancy excel sheet for task management. This was a key insight to improve my prototype.

Step 4: Look for patterns in the feedback

Go back to the concept note and walk through the feedback. Look for patterns. Look for what people have talked about often. Whatever that is, that’s your positioning. That’s how people are perceiving your idea right now.

Step 5: Time for prototyping. What you have been waiting for.

Though it’s not highly recommended by a lot of individuals, I prefer to create prototyping in high fidelity designs. I am a fast designer, so it helps.

This is where you work on your message market fit. This is something that most of us don’t do. Each word you write on your prototypes define how people are going to perceive your product. Work on the copy. Dedicate one entire day to the copy of your product.

Should I write, “your work status” or “Say bye to daily stand-ups”. Both of these create a different positioning on the user's head. So it’s important for you to work on the copy as if the app is talking to the customer.

Step 6: Distribute. Get feedback. Iterate.

Time for you to distribute the prototype with the same set of 10 people and gather their feedback. Again, look for patterns in the feedback. Looking for patterns is important because that helps you decide what the majority thinks.

Step 7: Create an invite only beta test users list.

For successful product launch, you need to discover your target customers, understand their needs, and know how to communicate with them. As a practice, before launching any product, I create a one pager website which has a clear description of what my product does, who is it for and how this is going to be helpful for you. The website has to have a waiting list for users to join. This helps break my bubble (if there is) and create my first set of customers who can help me give honest feedback around the product.

Step 8: Start Coding

This is where you handover the designs to the developers and start coding for the product. It’s important to spend as much time as you need in doing the research around the product. It helps to get a sense of the demand of your product.

Step 9: Making the early birds feel special

Once you have the product ready, start distributing it to the subscriber base who has shown interest in your product. Make them feel special by writing a personalised email and welcoming them on the product. Instill some product feedback loops as this is going to be the best time for you to stay close to your customers while improving the product.

Hope this helps :)


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