Whether you’re charged with building a digital product in your organization or have an idea to start a technology-based business, you’ll come to a point at which you need to create a proof of concept by building a minimum viable product (MVP).
An MVP can easily be the most valuable player in your product development process as it allows you to test your product idea in the real-world, iron out the kinks, and get feedback from customers so you can make improvements and prepare for a successful large-scale launch.
Don’t let the word “minimum” fool you. It makes us feel old to be saying this… but after years of working with clients from many industries, we know that developing an MVP is a complex and high stakes process.
It requires skills and knowledge from multiple disciplines. If you aren’t technical, you’d need the right development team to turn your research, sketches, user flow design, etc. into a digital product. Even if you have a technical background, chances are you’d need experts from various fields to complement your skills and support an end-to-end product development process.
So, what’s the best way to find developers who can bring your vision to life? Here are some common options:
Hunt for the “unicorn” developer who can handle the entire product development process
While this option may sound good in theory, it’s a moonshot to find someone equally skilled in all aspects of the digital product development process. If you aren’t careful, you might get stuck with a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Even if you find that unicorn, will you be able to recruit them, and is one person enough to handle the workload?
Build an in-house development team with all the skills you need
Besides having to invest the time and energy to find the right mix of talents, it’s also costly to maintain a team of developers over the long-run — especially if you may not need them at full capacity after the MVP is completed. The skills of your team could also limit the tech which you access. That can prevent you from pivoting nimbly if requirements or market conditions change.
Hire a digital product agency that has the right experts in place and is ready to hit the ground running
You can get everything on-demand these days so why not top tier engineering and product talent!? An agency gives you access to the right talents and the latest knowledge to bring your idea to life. You can also tap into different expertise as the process evolves to ensure that you’re developing the best solution while reducing the time-to-market.
The Advantages of Hiring a Digital Product Agency for Your MVP
For most companies and startups, hiring a digital product agency is often the best bet for building an MVP. Here are the key reasons why you should work with a digital product agency:
Access to Expertise in Every Discipline
Throughout the product development and iteration process, you will need to draw on the collective experiences of multiple experts with deep vertical knowledge. This includes areas such as:
• Programming languages
• Product strategy
• UX and UI design
• Information architecture
These experts should understand how their subject matters interact and impact other aspects of the development process to prevent issues and delays along the way.
Instead of hoping for a unicorn developer to show up with all the right skills or spending the time and resources to hire a large in-house team (and manage all the cooks in the kitchen), a digital product agency gives you instant access to a team of pros with the skills you need.
High-Quality Outcomes with a Short Timeline
Having the right technical talents is just one piece of the puzzle. You need a well-rounded approach to successfully develop and launch a digital product. Your process should include a product strategy to identify the right opportunities, a design and prototyping process based on user feedback, an app and web development phase guided by an iterative process, and an audience and revenue component to address monetization.
Working with a digital product agency, you’ll have access to the right talents exactly when you need the expertise without the expense of hiring or retaining them. You’ll be supported by an interdisciplinary team and professional end-to-end process management to ensure that the MVP is delivered on time and within budget.
Short- and Long-Term Product Strategy
A well-designed product strategy can help clarify your value proposition and guide you to develop the right product, in the right way, at the right time, and for the right audience. It also helps you balance effort and investment with the intended outcome based on your business objectives to ensure the highest ROI.
A digital product development agency has extensive experience building high-quality MVPs and long-term product roadmaps — after all, this is their bread and butter! It can help you ensure success by devising a product strategy, validating your idea’s market potential, designing a long-term product roadmap, and prioritizing features for the MVP.
More Efficient Resource Allocation and Lower Total Cost
When you hire a digital product agency, you’ll get (and only pay for) the appropriate resources right away without lengthy hiring and costly onboarding processes. Also, you don’t have to worry if a new hire is the right fit for your team or incur overhead expenses associated with hiring full-time employees, such as payroll taxes, benefits, and administrative costs.
If your design and development direction changes halfway, your agency can pivot quickly by reallocating the right talents to keep your product development process moving forward without missing a beat. Also, the agency team is experienced in following a proven process and collaborating so they can hit the ground running right away. For example, we built a product for AdventHealth for 1/4th the cost and 10x faster than they could have on their own.
Flexibility and Continuity: the Best of Both Worlds
When you work with a digital product agency as your portfolio partner, you’ll also benefit from the continuity and consistency of such a long-term relationship. You’ll have a dedicated team building, improving, and growing your full portfolio of digital products over time without the headache of running this “best performing department.”
If you need to augment your in-house team with a subject matter expert or two, a digital product agency can provide the right resources when you need them. You can also work with a full team of professionals on a project-by-project basis to give you all the flexibility you need without being bogged down by a bloated internal team.
Partnering With a Digital Product Agency is the Obvious Choice for Building Your MVP Cost-Effectively
The flexibility, agility, and depth of knowledge required to build a successful MVP in today’s fast-evolving marketplace mean working with a digital product agency is the obvious choice for organizations of any size. It allows startups and small businesses to access the breadth and depth of knowledge of an in-house team that’s typically only affordable to large companies. It also gives established organizations the ability to add agility and fresh perspectives to their internal resources on demand so they can stay innovative and competitive.
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