In our last post, we established the three core principles underlying How to Build a Successful MVP the Drawbackwards Way.
But what good is a successful MVP if you haven’t created the long-term conditions to build on that success?
Your development and deployment processes can make or break your ability to take a successful MVP to the next level. They can either create the conditions for you to realize exponential growth, or keep you stuck on a treadmill going nowhere.
Here are three things your development team needs so they can power-up your MVP into a meaningful and successful product.
Continuous Deployment and Integration
To efficiently scale your MVP, you’re going to need a smooth and efficient flow that helps new features move quickly from development to production. You’ll need a system in place that reduces bottlenecks, minimizes the need for manual interventions, and enables rapid iteration.
Continuous deployment allows code changes to be built, tested and deployed quickly. As soon as you have code that’s better than what’s in production, you ship it. How? By breaking up even the smallest features into separate branches.
Feature branching allows you to deploy small chunks of features back-to-back, which reduces the risk of bugs and system outages. If any issues do arise, you’ll be able to more quickly resolve them since the surface area of new code is smaller than if you relied on large feature deployments with lots of code.
Feature branching allows for quicker identification of root causes, creates more efficient collaboration, reduces conflicts, and enables the smooth integration process your product needs to catapult up the Experience Success Ladder.
By creating efficient automated systems for building, testing, and deploying your code, you’ll maximize the time your team spends developing code while reducing the risk of problems being introduced into the root of your code.
Of course, a continuous deployment approach isn’t always right for every product. It requires reliable automated processes and a clear view to what’s in production and how that compares to code waiting in the pipeline.
But when done right, continuous deployment can accelerate your release cycles, allow your team to be more responsive to user feedback, and ensure consistent and reliable code as you grow.
Imagine at the end of an MVP being handed the framework for an agile product enabled for rapid feature delivery that brings immediate and constant value to your end users. That’s a Drawbackwards MVP.
Well-Documented Modular Code
The finish line of your MVP is just the starting line of your product. When we work with clients on the early stages of a new product, our goal is not only to ensure a successful MVP launch, but also to ensure long-term success for the product as it matures.
You want to be able to iterate your way to viability. You need to prove not only that your concept works, but that it has legs to last well beyond the MVP phase. For that, you need flexibility which means you need to know what’s working (or not) so you can pivot quickly.
Many teams fall into the temptation of churning out as much code as possible in the early stages of developing a new product or set of features. While this is necessary to a certain degree, you should never compromise on code quality in favor of speed.
For long-term success, you need a codebase that is structured, organized, and divided into cohesive self-contained modules so it can fit neatly into your continuous deployment processes. It also needs comprehensive documentation that explains the purpose, functionality, and usage of each module.
For maximum flexibility, each module needs to focus on a specific task, function, or feature so if you need to change one module you can clearly see how it impacts other modules. The interfaces where the modules interact create a sort of contract providing a clear understanding of how different parts of the product integrate.
For security, you want modules to be insulated from each other with reduced dependencies. This allows for better testing of the code and prevents bad code in one part of the product from seeping into the rest of the product.
For consistency, you want documentation that accompanies each module to allow multiple current and future developers to understand and work with the code. This is especially important for any API integrations within the product.
It may sound like a lot, but setting up good coding practices from the start will empower your development team better collaborate to organize and maintain your code and maximize the potential of your product for long-term success.
A Little Help from (AI-Powered) Friends
The world feels divided between two camps these days. There are those who fear the emerging power and capability of artificial intelligence (AI) and those who are trying to embrace it. It’s obviously not that simple or black and white. As with all new technology, it’s in how you use it.
Software development is one of the areas where AI is not only the future, but the present. According to a November 2023 GitHub developer survey, "92% of US-based developers are already using AI coding tools both in and outside of work." Why? More than four out of five of them expect AI to help them and their team be more collaborative, and 70% anticipate AI coding tools will help them deliver better code quality, decrease time to deployment, and test and resolve incidents.
The report goes on to point out that the things developers value most (learning new skills, getting user feedback, and collaboratively designing solutions) are at odds with what they spend most of their time doing (waiting on code reviews, builds, or tests). They want to be measured on the quality of their code and their ability to collaborate with others, not on the quantity and efficiency of their output.
It just so happens that today’s AI tools are seen as perfectly positioned to help take the load off developers and deliver the kinds of metrics that team and business leaders crave the most. AI can help deliver efficiencies throughout the development lifecycle.
AI-powered testing tools can automate the testing process and code reviews, and identify potential bugs or vulnerabilities that humans might miss. They can assist in writing code more quickly and accurately by suggesting code snippets and even generating entire functions based on context and requirements. They can even be used to extract useful insights from user feedback, streamline the generation of technical documentation, and analyze user behavior and preferences.
The result of leaning on AI-powered tools can be exactly what product owners and business leaders are looking to get from their teams today: streamlined processes, reduced development time, better code quality, and more innovative and user-friendly products.
Even more importantly for long-term success, they can help make for happier developers who have time to develop the collaborative problem-solving skills that will ensure the product remains successful for a long time to come.
Putting it All Together the Drawbackwards Way
We’ve worked with a variety of clients on a range of early-stage products looking for the same thing - a fast and reliable solution that they know will work. There are two main ways we can help deliver that for them.
Our Drawbackwards team can take your great ideas and build an MVP for you complete with the engineering tools that will set your product up for long-term success. Or we can seamlessly integrate with your engineering team and existing processes and tools to augment the speed and capacity with which your team can deliver against your goals.
Either way, we apply the same principles to every project. We’re looking to build continuous deployment processes and tools to deliver high-quality code and we’re not afraid to use AI to help us and your team do just that.
Tell us about your vision for the future and we’ll show you how we can help power up your MVP the Drawbackwards Way.