Mobile Apps and Customer Development

September 22, 2012

We have spent a lot of time developing mobile apps for clients in the last 4 years. We saw and tried different approaches. And now we are in Customer Development and Agile Development tactic for almost all our new projects.

Often people think that mobile apps are easy to build. They try to build a big app with dozens and dozens of features which led to development cycle of 6 months and more. The truth is that users don’t want all these features. This is the case for almost all new projects and startups. Each feature in your product is a hypothesis you need to turn into a fact.

Several tips on what you should have to think about:

  • get out of the building and speak with your customers
  • think and define as minimal viable product (MVP) as you can for your version 0.1 and go to your customers one more time (paper wireframes or simple web page or interactive wireframes in Axure or could be enough for this task)
  • make as much pivots as you need to find out real problem and/or right set of uses/features for version 1.0
  • build mobile app version 1.0 on top of resulting MVP and go to your customers for further validation

I suggest you two useful books for Customer Development and Business Model Generation:

  1. The Startup Owner’s Manual. The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
  2. Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur. Business model design helps you understand a core of your company and replaces boring and static business plans.

Also, you should check-in Steve Blank for online course Lean LaunchPad Class launched last week which demystifies startups and explains why they’re different from large companies while giving you the tools to build a successful one.

Think more about business and customer rather than technology and features.

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