Why use rapid feature development?
Using rapid feature development to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a key component of the “build-measure-learn” principle. Companies will use feedback loops to determine whether they should either pursue a specific idea to completion or change course. The key is to use short intervals to build the product, measure the customers’ reactions to the product, and then learn from those findings. This enables you to identify what customers like and pass on ideas when there is no need or desire for the product.
Companies constantly evaluate the product during the development process. Agile product development involves a changeable process, which enables the development course to make small changes in direction at any time. This process constantly repeats itself, changes incrementally, saves time and resources, and supports immediate feedback.
Rapid feature development offers a number of benefits over other methods involved in developing new products, including:
- Supporting the ability to change requirements at any time
- Encouraging and prioritizing customer feedback
- Decreasing overall development time
- Reducing costs and resources used
- Increasing productivity
How rapid feature development works
There are many processes and tools that can be used to implement rapid feature development. To follow are some key steps to employ to use customer feedback when developing new products.
1. Establish product requirements
Begin by setting a loose set of product requirements. This will enable you to change requirements and direction at any point in the product development cycle. The goal is to set a general direction or purpose for development rather than fleshing out all product features and design elements.
2. Create a Minimum Viable Product
Build a prototype or MVP to demonstrate key features. The goal is to have something to show to the target customer. The MVP includes only the most important functions, which must work well. It excludes the bells and whistles of additional features and design elements. It should function well enough to test and evaluate.
3. Collect customer feedback
Show the MVP to potential customers or end users. Collect their feedback on what the product does, what they would like the product to do, what they don’t like about its functionality, and how they will use the product. Customer feedback will indicate what direction the next version of the product will take. Customer validation of what you’ve created should become visible here. You’re learning what they want.
Collecting feedback is more important than generating revenue at this stage. The goal is to have target customers answer the following questions:
- What are the target group’s basic needs?
- Does this product fill a gap in the market?
- What additional features are missing?
- Can we continue to develop this product or does it require modification to be successful?
4. Create the product for larger scale launch
Using the collected feedback, your team will continue iterating and getting customer feedback on the product’s features, functionality, and usability. The ongoing goal is to optimize or re-engineer the product to improve its functionality and usefulness, addressing your backlog of specific user stories you’ve prioritized and revisited throughout. Along the way, developers will work on documentation, maintenance, design, and other elements to get the product closer to its final version.
Putting technology tools into customers’ hands enables you to gather meaningful feedback and learn what they’re trying to accomplish. Customer feedback should drive your list of user stories. Communication across the team, sharing customer reactions should be ongoing. Rather than basing decisions to create technology upon the “Can we build it?” philosophy, using rapid feature development and building an MVP will help to answer the core question, “Should we build it?”