Craig Buchan: Unleashing A Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Craig Buchan
Craig Buchan

Despite studying software development for a year at University, the first time I’d actually encountered the term MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in a technology setting was 10 months ago during a sit down with Waracle’s main man Chris Martin.

Back in December I was trying to formulate an early plan for our FinTech solution, Chris was the first guy I’d spoke to about the software requirements behind my vision, and I thank him for his tutelage!

After casting MVP connotations of ‘Montel Vontavious Porter’ off the wrestling, and the ‘Most Valuable Player’ accolade off the NBA out of my mind, it was time to knuckle down and think in depth about what Chris truly meant by Minimum Viable Product.

What we see with mobile app’s is constant iteration, updates and additional features being added by the developers to enhance the user experience.

Snapchat is a great example of that iterative process; how they’ve gone from a bare bones offering of sending a 10 second selfie, to now featuring blue chip news outlets, chat functionality, camera roll integration and much much more.

Their ‘bare bones’ version would be considered the MVP and that’s what they took to market to drive excitement, downloads and engagement with their platform. This saw massive value inflexion for the tech start-up and fuelled the levels of investment that now has the business valued at about $20billion.

Tech firms, including Qpal, have product development road mapped for the months and years ahead with plenty iterations in the locker, but it’s crucial to gauge what the market wants and is ready for at the present moment in time.

From there, decide what your release version will contain and don’t suffocate your user base with a wide spread dilution of features. Essentially don’t build the bells and whistles right now, get something developed that you can test the market with and learn from by taking customer feedback back to the development house.

From an early stage I was very open minded to how the Qpal technology should look and feel, and after striking up a strong bond with Kenny Steele at Pinnacle it made the whole process of creating an MVP seamless compared to some of the stories you hear.

From personal experience, find developers you trust, find developers that want to come on the journey with you, find developers that don’t just work to a pre-defined brief you give them and find developers who think outside the box for you. The good guys in software dev can be few and far between so I’m thankful for coming across Chris and Kenny early on.

We put the finishing touches to our MVP in May, then carried out our BETA test, and launched at Hops in the Garden. The customer feedback was really positive from both sides of the bar, although on the day of HITG we identified a number of flaws to the process that weren’t detrimental by any stretch, but issues that couldn’t lie unresolved given our growth plans. But that’s exactly what tests and pilots are for, to flag where improvements can be made moving forwards.

Your MVP doesn’t need to be all singing and all dancing, it simply needs to work and have scalability in it.

There are too many start-up businesses that sit on an idea for too long, spend countless hours trying to fine-tune it and won’t release it to the market for the fear of it not being absolutely gleaming…. The sooner you can rid that mentality, the sooner you can unleash your solution and the sooner you can grow your business!

Craig Buchan is founder and managing director of Qpal, an innovative technology solution that will enhance event experiences for organisers and attendees alike.

Qpal enables smarter and more efficient transactions, whilst giving events companies access to invaluable event intelligence.