The MVP development mantras

Mountain and river

First, make sure you're ready

The usual rules apply here: make sure you've talked to potential customers, validated the need, and done the necessary planning. You're confident in what you need to build, and you have a co-founder, employee, or freelancer ready to get started.

Speed is everything

You likely have a burning desire to move quickly, and that instinct is well-placed. After all, the sooner you can ship product and get it in front of customers the sooner you can start growing and interating. With that in mind, your approach should be to err on the side of shipping, even if your product is incomplete or inadequate in a few places.

Be adaptable

Never, ever commit yourself to one inflexible way of doing things. This includes functionality! Always be on the look out for things that you don't need to do. Is it something that can wait until a couple weeks after launch? Punt it.

You should be continually refining and re-prioritizing your task list. This is not a "set it and forget it" business; you should be discussing these things with your developers weekly at a minimum, ideally more often than that.

Do what works

Can't get your team to use JIRA because they prefer Google Sheets? Go with it. There are no sacred cows in MVP development: the only thing that matters is what's working. This is no place for strong opinions! Call out problems early and be candid about it, or the product will suffer.

Never done, only "good enough"

Software is never done. Ever. Development may ebb and flow, but there will always be bugs to fix and features to add. Do not strive for perfectly architected code or pixel-perfect interfaces, or you'll never get to market. There will be plenty of time to work on that after your product is in users' hands. Identify what the bare minimum of "good enough" is for each task and then move on to the next.

Iterate everything, including this

Constantly evaluate everything your team does. This includes meeting structure, communication style, development methodology, documentation, tools, absolutely everything. You must have an eye out for areas of even minor improvement: every little bit matters at this stage and could be the difference between making it to market and failing.

Most especially, iterate on these mantras. Maybe some are more important than others to your team, or maybe one doesn't apply at all. Be self-aware of what's working for your team and you'll do great things.

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