From Concept to MVP

Emerging Humanity Methodology

Emerging Humanity's

3-Phase Product Development Methodology

You have validated your idea, you have a clear product concept or possibly an early prototype, and there is budget for development. This is an exciting place to be and it comes with a new set of challenges! What does the Lean Startup Methodology suggest in this case?

The focus shifts towards implementation. How can you best translate the concept into the desired features and look & feel of a working product? How do you communicate with engineers so that things don't fall through the cracks? How do you stay connected to the big picture while diving into the nitty-gritty? How do get maximum results with minimal resources?

Product Development takes places in 3 phases

Back to top
Feature Map Icon

Phase 1

Define the Product and its Development Roadmap

This phase builds shared understanding of what the product is (and what is not). Starting point is the business functions that the product will perform, ideally delivered through a Product Vision Board. These functions are expanded into product features and prioritized into an initial roadmap that ensures important stuff is done first. (Sounds obvious but unfortunately it is quite uncommon).

Phase 1 delivers a clear description of what the product will do. This can become the basis for defining and executing validation experiments, and ultimately for creating your MVP feature set. This is also the time to make an initial assessment regarding product architecture and technology selection, and to get a rough budget estimate for development.

Phase 1 Benefits and Deliverables

  • Common understanding around product functionality
  • Clarity related to desired customer journey and user flow
  • Feature prioritization and initial product roadmap
  • Rough estimate of effort (time & cost) required to reach the MVP
  • Solid foundation for all product development activities
Back to top

Phase 1 tools

Emerging Humanity is using simple but effective tools in order to distill the broader product idea into detailed product features. These tools can bridge the gap between business and engineering and turn the product vision into tangible product definition. They are mentioned here as a quick reference.

Mind Map Example
Mind Mapping
  • Purpose: Capture key product functions in a hierarchical way.
  • Advantages: Simple for the business side to use/understand yet concise and organized enough to be useful for next steps. Great tool for capturing initial MVP requirements.
  • Approach: Start with key user roles, then expand each one with respective properties or functions. Some initial overlap is okay and can be refined later.
  • Suggested app: (free up to 3 maps).

Feature Map Example
Feature Mapping
  • Purpose: Expand overall product functions into more detailed features, prioritize them, and define development milestones
  • Advantages: Detailed enough to be sent to engineers yet still understandable by the business side. Aligns with lean startup principles, rapid prototyping, and iterative product development.
  • Approach: Transfer mind map info into a single layer, then expand each item with additional information. As the map gets more detailed and the number of items grows, create additional layers for "later" development iterations.
  • Suggested app: (free up to 2 maps)
Back to top
UX/UI Design Icon

Phase 2

Design UX/UI and Create Wireframes

This phase focuses on the product's look & feel. It includes:
  • The overall visual design, style guide, and UI kit. These are created by a graphics designer, they are aligned with the overall company brand, and they convey the product's character.
  • The UX, UI, and layout design along with wireframes of appropriate fidelity. These are created by a UX/UI designer and they capture the way the product/app will look and operate across different platforms (web, tablet, phone etc).
  • Updated user flows, usually created automatically by the wireframing tool.

Phase 2 complements the text-heavy Product Definition (Phase 1) with necessary visual information (layouts, flows etc). This delivers a clear picture of how the product (MVP and subsequent versions) will look & behave and it allows sign-off by both the business and engineering teams. You are ready for development!

Back to top
Software Development Icon

Phase 3

Build the Product (Development & Deployment)

In this phase the process moves to engineering. Technical decisions about the architecture are getting finalized, the developer team is put together per the required skillsets, and the product is getting developed. This phase also includes deployment of the product and all related DevOps activities.

Phase 3 includes:
  • User Story writing and estimating
  • Final technology decisions (structure, technology selection, tools)
  • Prioritization and Sprint planning
  • Development and Testing/QA
  • Deployment
Back to top

Iterative Development and Product Validation

Emerging Humanity advocates Agile product development per the Lean Startup Methodology. The phases mentioned above build on top of each other, but the overall process is not sequential; there is some initial bulk work needed to define the MVP and the product roadmap (Phase 1), but development then progresses in iterations, each one including a bit of all three phases. If the groundwork is done properly, this approach maximizes ROI of the development effort.

In addition, the iterative process can be combined with milestones for conducting market experiments and validating implementation of both the MVP and ongoing product features. This delivers invaluable feedback on the product, allows early course adjustments, and helps get a more valuable product faster to market.

Back to top

The importance of following the right process!

At Emerging Humanity we believe that a good methodology is useful in general and invaluable when problems arise. To get out of trouble, it helps to know how you got there in the first place. Following a process allows you to learn from other people's mistakes; to trace your steps, backtrack, and try something different. You are still fumbling around to some extent (it IS a startup after all), but in a systematic and intentional way that guarantees you take your best shot possible!

Emerging Humanity's approach follows a step-by-step process that aligns Lean Startup Methodology and industry standard tools with your startup's needs. It creates a clear execution path. All you have to do is to walk it!

Back to top

Additional Resources

Back to top


Articles · Workshops · Tips · Resources

We Help Visionary Tech Entrepreneurs Build Impactful Companies!

Startup Success Guide | Emerging Humanity
Check our Do-It-Yourself
Startup Success Guide