From Concept to MVP

Emerging Humanity Methodology

From Concept To MVP


You have a great product idea that you want to bring to the world. You have the resources (people, funding) necessary to move forward. You dream of creating a first prototype (MVP) and taking it to market.

Unfortunately translating business and market requirements into engineering specifications is not straightforward. There are plenty of decisions to be made, questions to be answered, and details to be considered. A lot can get lost in translation. This is why it is important to follow a proper process.

At Emerging Humanity we believe that a good methodology creates clarity for everyone involved and ensures that things don't fall through cross-functional cracks. It also helps your product vision carry through from the high-level functionality to the individual development tasks. This guarantees that what you bring to the market aligns with your higher goals.

Emerging Humanity's approach follows a step-by-step 3-Phase process and creates a clear execution path. All you have to do is to walk it!

EMERGING HUMANITY'S

3-PHASE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT METHODOLOGY

PHASE 1

Define the Product and its Development Roadmap

Feature Map Icon

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 I 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

“Success nowadays is not about what you do but about who you are.
To reach higher in business you have to become grander as a person.
Your inner strategies are as important as your outer ones.”

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. The are mentioned here as a quick reference.


Mind Mapping

Mind Map Example
  • 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
  • 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: mindmeister.com (free up to 3 maps)

Feature Mapping

Feature Map Example
  • 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: featuremap.co (free up to 2 maps)
“Christos knows the right tools and methods to use and helps you formalize a clear road map for development through a process of engaging discussion and analysis.”
Karl Björnsson, Cofounder/CEO, Hefring LLC

PHASE 2

Design UX/UI and Create Wireframes

UX/UI Design Icon
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 will look & behave and it allows sign-off by both the business and engineering teams. You are ready for development!

PHASE 3

Build the Product (Development & Deployment)

Software Development Icon

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

Iterative Development and Product Validation

Emerging Humanity advocates Agile/Lean product development. 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 product and its 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 initial implementation of the various product features. This delivers invaluable feedback on the product, allows early course adjustments, and helps get a more valuable product faster to market.

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