For those planning a Salesforce® implementation, MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a term you will hear frequently and should understand. MVP will assist you in validating your idea for a cloud solution and provide direction towards which features & functions should be included in your product.
What is an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?
The term MVP was coined by SyncDev CEO Frank Robinson and popularized by Eric Riis, founder of the Lean Startup Movement. Frank said, “An MVP is a mindset of the management and development teams. It says, ‘think big for the long term but small for the short term.’ Think big enough that the first product is a sound launching pad for it and its next generation and the roadmap that follows, but not so small that you leave room for a competitor to get the jump on you.”
Wikipedia defines MVP: “A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.”
When planning a Salesforce roll-out, work with your Consultant to define goals and objectives that align with achieving your overall Vision & Mission and create a pragmatic roadmap for long-term growth sustainability. MVP is a minimal form of a product that is tested and used by a specific user group that starts you on your journey to success. It’s the beginning of development and starts the journey towards your North Star (Metaphorically speaking, your dream product).
In cloud development, MVP is a method where only core features & functions that solve specific problems, and satisfy early adopters, get deployed. Essentially, an MVP is the basic model of a product that will fulfill the primary goal you want to achieve.
The main goal of MVP is to develop a working product that provides immediate value while minimizing costs. Starting with MVP allows corporations to immediately deploy their Salesforce Instance while learning more about end-users and their needs. MVP is just a starting point in the product development journey; it’s not the end point... so don’t look to ‘boil the ocean’ by trying to fit everything into this initial phase. Remember, what the acronym MVP stands for “MINIMUM Viable Product." That said, it can also be used to win stakeholder buy-in by solving pain points, achieving goals & objectives, and showcasing business potential.
How to Plan a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
This process is part of the agile development framework used by SCI 360 to successfully implement Salesforce.
Identify and Understand Vision & Mission, Goals & Objectives
“Failure to plan is planning to fail” - The first step is to identify your Vision & Mission. Vision & Mission in hand, identify and evaluate how to address pain points that prohibit attainment of your Vision & Mission. Next step is to define long-term goals and, with each goal, objectives that track towards reaching each goal. Here’s a Use Case: A football team sets out to win the Super Bowl. Yahoo!! In order to win the Super Bowl, that team must win their division; in order to become division champions, the team needs to win 90% of their games. In order to win 90% of games played that year, the team sets the objective to score at least 30+ points per game.
In our Use Case, the ‘North Star’ is Super Bowl Champs, MVP is defined as Division Champions. In order to achieve the status of ’Division Champion,' the team has set the goal of scoring 30+ points per game. The measurable and achievable objective: 10 yards earns you a first down, 10 first downs get you a touchdown, and so on....
It is important to design an implementation with the users in mind. By using a “Customer Centric” modeling approach, you ensure the development of meaningful gains for your focus market.
Start by placing yourself in your customer’s shoes, and your customer’s customer shoes. Gather all the reference data available to understand and evaluate a customer’s value chain. Be curious and ask questions.
Connect with user groups and share insights, understand their perspective and co-create a vision of all journeys. In addition, map out users’ current journeys and the paths that they take to reach their end goal: catalog obstructions that obstruct the user’s path, highlighting each as a future opportunity.
While documenting user obstructions, catalog actions can be deployed to remove each obstruction. With each action, determine measurable gains that can be foreseen if that specific action is deployed. Ask users what they need versus what they want. To assist users in answering this line of questions, SCI 360 tries to lock-in the end users on cataloging their answers in one of three paths: “Must Have,” ”Important,“ or ”Nice to Have.“
Opportunities charted, you’re on track to determine greatest potential to add value to your app and focus which opportunities are MVP focus or future release consideration.
Creating a ‘Travel Itinerary’
To determine what features & functions to include in MVP, as well as what features & functions to address on future travels. Keep your goals in mind and only include features & functions that track to the immediate end objective.
In developing a travel itinerary for MVP, SCI 360 uses a prioritization matrix chart (below). Using a prioritization matrix assists the Product Team in making the final decision on what needs to be included in MVP, and what features should be included with later releases. MVP should include only the main features that are required to provide the core idea of a future product to the users. No more.
Always mindful of the Vision & Mission, the Product Team has now collaborated with end users in identifying opportunities and obstructions and has prioritized feature & function for MVP and beyond. Now, lock it and focus on MVP.
After Your MVP
After Launching your MVP it is imperative that feedback be collected from end users. Users tell where the product is lacking and they ensure market validation. Remain Agile in the process - Always: Plan, Analyze, Design, Build, Validate, Deploy AND “Reiterate”! Listen to your Customer and adjust Goals & Objectives that track towards your North Star.
Reminder: MVP is a mindset and maintenance of procedural discipline. MVP is the start of the journey. Think BIG for the long term but focus on the smallest solution you can deliver that maintains customer value (ROI).
About Michael Sturgis
Michael is a 6xSalesforce Certified Professional and Founder of SCI 360, a Salesforce Registered Consulting Partner. He has been working within the Salesforce ecosystem for more than 15 years with experience in Sales, Implementations, and Service. Michael has over 25 years working experience in the Insurance Sector, Financial Services Vertical.