John Wooden, the infamous basketball coach, once said “champions are brilliant at the basics” and we’re here to tell you that same goes for your MVP. We don’t need a smooth transition to the topic of today’s blog post, the facts speak for themselves so let’s get to the point!
When you develop your MVP, you should narrow down your app’s features as much as possible and leave your idea at its core. Therefore, you need to be well aware of what its core is, in other words: get the basics of it right. Here are a few steps you should make sure to follow so you don’t keep adding unnecessary features, risking the success of your mobile MVP.
The first thing you and your team will do is conduct numerous qualitative and quantitative interviews with stakeholders to understand how to map the strategic goals you must meet to succeed and identify target segments and verticals. From that point on you are more likely to lose your laser-sharp focus on covering the core functions, required for your MVP. One of the critical tools for success in developing MVPs is securing proper prioritization. A very helpful tool to do so is the Kano Model.
The Kano Model
The Kano Model (pronounced “Kah-no”) is an approach to prioritizing features on a product roadmap based on the degree to which they are likely to satisfy customers. Prioritizing features at an early stage of product development is a very often bummer, we know. The Kano model, however, might just be your best friend, as it helps you understand in which features to invest, how much, and what is уour “WOW! feature”. By applying the Kano model you will speed up and crystalize the process of understanding:
- what are the minimum features the user expects to have.
- what features will enhance the user’s experience.
- what feature has the potential to be the best one.
And planning the work in stages will allow you to:
- validate your assumptions by listening to user’s feedback.
- spread out Excitement generators, maintaining a high level of interest.
- manage costs and workload to shorter sprints.
Find a balance
The Kano model will help you balance your MVP’s features by segmenting them into 3 user satisfaction channels:
1. Basic expectations
2. Performance payoff
3. Excitement generators
After you work on some planning you will be able to create a roadmap that is centred around the user’s satisfaction rate. Surely, you’d want to release the first iteration fast and test it on real users, get feedback and improve as this is the main point of having an MVP in the first place. Some of the features included in your first iteration will be expected by the users, while others may surprise or even delight them. Thus setting apart your product from the rest. Once again, it is crucial to find the balance between necessary features and delightful features that set us apart from the competition.
Let’s say you are buying a smartphone, a car and a chair. Even though this would be a very strange shopping list there is one thing that you can say about all the items: you have a certain expectation towards all of them. You expect to be able to make calls from your smartphone, for your car to get you from point A to point B and from a chair, well you probably expect it not to break.
The same goes for a mobile app. If you are presented with a fashion store app, you would expect to be able to shop for clothes from it, right? All of these features we just went through would fall under the basic expectations field using the Kano Model. The thing about expectations is that they are set by people, your MVP’s users — not you. The best you can do here is not to mess up these expectations and achieve the coveted neutral satisfaction.
Discovering basic expectations
It’s not that hard to understand what your potential user’s basic expectations are. You simply compare features with your direct and indirect competitors and list those that are common across most of them. This process should fit nicely in your market research in which you should:
- Discover business opportunities.
- Understand current trends.
- Find your competitive edge.
Let’s go back to our previous example and say you are about to buy a new car. You want a car that has low fuel consumption and the more efficient the engine — the better. We all know the feeling, especially with gas prices going up every day. Every kilometre you can squeeze out of your gas tank is very much appreciated and has a linear effect on your satisfaction rate. You can recognize performance payoff features by paying attention to the value your users receive from them (and excitement generators by their uniqueness and the urge to show them to someone, becoming a brand ambassador for your MVP).
Your competitive edge
Up until now we were mainly focused on getting us to the perfect baseline (remember, champions are brilliant at the basics, right?) but what will make our MVP outshine the plethora of mobile MVPs? This is the perfect time to take out your sticky notes, whiteboard markers or sketchbooks and think long and hard about what your competitive edge will be.
A feature’s life cycle
Like having Bluetooth connectivity, an AC in your car, a colourful smartwatch display or an interactive watch - some features just lose our excitement as they become… expected. These kinds of features have the tendency of being taken for granted over time. You need to think of updates and improvements constantly. Your mobile app’s features should be spread out in order to keep customers excitingly coming for more and for the marketing team to highlight new features every campaign. Your app’s next version needs to include yet another exciting feature, which you then need to promote and highlight, thus keeping your app fresh and buzzy for as long as possible.
Let’s wrap this up! The Kano model will help you figure out what your MVP is all about.
- what are the minimum features.
- what’s your unique selling proposition.
- what features will make your product stand out.