All Blog Posts No MVP Illustration

Most MVP's Aren't Enough

December 11, 2023

When I first had the idea for Preview SMS, I planned a small list of features with just enough functionality to prove that this concept would be worth exploring. This was the initial list:

If I were working on a feature for a larger application that was already in existence, these line items (outside of the create initial react app step) would be a great start to convincing stakeholders on the team that this is a feature we should explore more. It would be a coded prototype, effectively.

After accomplishing these tasks, I was left with a truly minimum viable product. And that’s the problem. It’s not even useful enough to ship.

Up until about 10 years ago, MVPs functioned as part proof-of-concept, part pitch-deck-material. Get something working, however crude it looks, and show it to a bunch of people to validate your initial idea. That worked to get investors excited about throwing money at problems that were being “solved” in front of potential customers. But if often left much to be desired.

"If you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product, you shipped too late."
Reid Hoffman
Founder of LinkedIn

While I agree to a certain extent with the adage, the flip side of that coin is “you only get one first impression, you should make it count”. Also, there are different definitions of embarrassment. Can every first version of a product be improved (likely drastically)? Sure. Should you put something out quickly just to say you launched something? I'd recommend you don't.

In this world of fleeting attention spans, if your product doesn’t at least appear well-crafted, it’s tougher to get your audience to “wait for the improvements” or to convince them that “the next version is going to be great”.

Nearly 100% of your target audience has already experienced dozens if not hundreds of high-quality native applications running on a smartphone that’s more powerful than the first (and, to date, only) car I’ve ever owned - a 2014 base model VW Jetta with manual transmission. The bar is so much higher for product’s initial impressions than just about a decade ago.

With all of these things in mind, I began to expand my feature list to try and find the right balance of only focusing on key features, but creating a V1 that’s polished enough to get people to keep using the product, even on launch day.

Preview SMS Features List - Version 1.0.0

Here is a screenshot of Linear - the application I use to manage the progress of product features and bug fixes. This is a small fraction of the items that were completed for the launch version. In total, V1.0.0 had 93 completed tasks - a lot of little things go into application development.

Since the application is now live, you can see the changelog of features, improvements, and bug fixes that have been made since the launch version.

Like this post? Found it interesting or helpful?

Buy Me A Coffee

Related Posts

The Preview SMS Stack Illustration

The Preview SMS Stack

March 20, 2024
  • Preview SMS
  • React
  • Product Design

If you want to build software in a reasonable timeframe, you're likely going to need third-party services. Here are the technologies, services, and applications that I used to create Preview SMS...

Preview SMS Pattern

I'm Going To Build an App

November 8, 2023
  • Preview SMS
  • React
  • Product Design

As 2023 winds down, there is discussion of how technology such as AI is changing our world. What I'm more surprised by, rather, is how a decades old technology has managed to stay relevant all these years later...