Before I started Wild Rocket in 2016, I used to participate in Hackathon events all around the world, even getting to the 2014 World Finals in PayPals monster “Battlehack” tournament after winning the UK competition. You may of never heard about hackathons before, but the goal of a hackathon is to create usable software or hardware with the aim of creating a functioning product by the end of the event - which is usually 24 hours. It's a lot of fun - but can be very stressful!
Since then, I have worked with some incredible clients building out MVP’s (minimum viable products - this link explains more) - with a more generous timescale, usually from between 3 and 7 days. These MVP’s have usually been used to validate an idea can actually work - but I know of a few that have gone on and became fully fledged products as well!
A MVP is the first step to getting a fully fledged product built - not THE product...
Here are a few things we have created MVP’s for clients:
As you can see - what we build can be very diverse! To keep things on track though, we do have some tips and tricks we try to keep to when building. Our top 5 tips are:
No feature creep allowed!
Make sure the specification is 100% agreed before you start - there is NO time to be adding features when you only have 5 days to build a product! If you are building the product, you are the expert, so try and help with the specification if you notice any areas and features missing!
Treat each MVP build as a sprint - if something needs adding, they can add it on the next sprint, after the MVP has been built!
Use the tools you know well
You’ve only got 5 days to build a product - now isn’t the time to use a new framework or new code editor! Stick to tried and tested workflows - even if that means telling your client your not going to be using the latest programming fads! Tried and tested wins the race EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Do not over-engineer
If your building something, ask yourself if it fits into the specification. Do not spend time integrating systems that will not move the chains on the specification. If you can use a third party tool - for instance for Analytics or Payments - use that.
Trust us on this one - we’ve learnt the hard way with this more than once!
Be honest and upfront
If something is not possible in the timeframes, tell your client as soon as you know. They might be able to help with an alternative, or move the timings around to help!
Trust us when we say, telling your client before the deadline is MUCH better than when something is due!
Your MVP might turn into something big after all! We try and document every file with what it does, but it also helps to use an external tool to explain models and the bigger picture. We usually use Google Docs or Trello to do this - and our clients appreciate it!
If you’re looking at creating a project for an idea you have to see if clients will pay for it, or just to see if something will work - then creating a MVP is absolutely the right thing to be doing. Here at Wild Rocket we can not only build your MVP, but have it done within 3 to 7 days depending on specification. If you are looking for a guide cost for this, we usually charge around £1,000 per day for these types of projects - and will deliver project code, full ownership rights and documentation when we complete. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to chat.