Guest Post: What Should Your MVP Look Like? A Technical Feasibility Scan Helps You Find Out

05/10/2017 | By Khizar Naeem

This post originally appeared on blog.up.co


 

Startup founders without programming skills often get stuck while getting started. Typically, they face questions like “I want to build the next Uber for X, but I don’t know what my MVP should look like.” It’s hard to know if your idea can translate into a viable MVP build if you don’t have a programming background. A Technical Feasibility Scan (TFS) can help you get out of the deadlock and make difficult decisions with confidence.

What is a Technical Feasibility Scan?

A TFS is an evaluation that helps you find out what your MVP should actually look like technologically. It helps you:

  • Draw up a potential architecture.
  • Estimate the amount of work.
  • Identify technical risks such as: scalability, complexity or need for rare skills.
  • Make a draft design that you can use in early marketing and pitch decks.

I’ve used this method to scan and help build several startups and it tends to pay off. Squads customers can attest to it. Let me explain why.

A Solid Technical Foundation is Key to Convince Investors

Technical risks are financial risks. That’s why investors should not rely exclusively on the founders’ technical team to identify potential setbacks. I see more and more investors who hire third parties to assess a startup’s build plan — especially when the technology is at the core of the company’s growth strategy.

With a TFS, you can draw up a solid technical plan to present to your investor and answer key questions like “which skills do I need,” “can this be built in a few months,” and “what will it cost.”

Avoid Massive Re-writes during the MVP phase

Investors dread the word “rewrite.” It’s what happens when you find out that your application is beyond maintenance and you can’t add new features without rebuilding from scratch. Rewrites are sometimes inevitable, and they can be costly.

Having to do a massive re-write during the MVP phase can spell doom for your startup if you’re not prepared. If you’re just getting started and you expect to spend 50K, you better have an extra 50K in your pocket for unforeseen changes. Of course, going way over budget is not ideal. To avoid these kind of surprises, you need to build the optimal minimum and you need to anticipate possible risks. The TFS can help here as well. Let’s look an example.

Vandebron’s Approach

Vandebron is a Dutch company that is called the Airbnb of green energy. They help consumers connect directly with windmill owners and other energy producers, via the existing grid. The startup had a huge potential but needed to convince investors that their idea was technically feasible. They worked with Squads to get a TFS.

During the scan, we evaluated:

  • How the startups’ technical team should be built up.
  • Non-functional requirements (such as hosting and capacity).
  • Technical solution requirements.
  • Necessary budget for the build along with possible cost variations.
  • Risks and mitigation tactics.
  • Timeline and priorities.

The company secured its first funding round and worked with us to build a very successful MVP as a result. We also helped them recruit a CTO and build an in-house development team to carry the work forward. They are still working with our teams when they need extra capacity or specialist skills. Download our case study to learn more or contact me to discuss your needs.

This post also appeared on Squads.com blog.


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