User Story Points

Unbundling Gets Back to the Minimum Viable Product

The unbundling of technology is the act of breaking an app into smaller parts, and is what some technology giants are undertaking with their apps today.  They may have released products with too many features, learned that some features are not wanted, or that some users only used a part of the app, while others used a different part. For example, Google recently split up its Drive app into three separate standalone applications: Sheets, Slides, and Docs. Foursquare broke its app in two to launch Swarm, which has an improved focus on social mapping. Read more.

The current trend of unbundling has fueled a hyper awareness about user experience and getting feedback from users to gain insight into what they truly value in the product.

User Story PointsWe feel very strongly that one of the best services we an provide a new client is to guide them through a detailed discussion about the Minimum Viable Product they should develop. Often a client comes to us with an idea for a wonderful product with lots of fascinating features and capabilities that should be able to disrupt an entire industry and take the market by storm. And, while it sounds like an outstanding idea, often it is just too much too soon. As your Strategic Technology Partner, we can help develop the right approach, identify the MVP and future features, and create a planned approach to maturing your product.

Our Discovery Process is designed to help get that idea broken down into components that can be released as updates once the basic app, the Minimum Viable Product, has entered the market and proven itself. Then, based on user feedback about the features they value, you push those new features out as enhancements in short development sprints. This process helps the client figure out their minimum value proposition, get the input needed to support it, and then build out the app feature-by-feature. This approach saves the product owner time and money by not launching an app with too many user experiences and having to unbundle sometime in the future.

Unbundling from the Start

If your app takes off, disrupts an industry and captures huge market, (which is what we all want), you would hope to be able to serve that market without having to go through a risky unbundling process, perhaps losing market share. You don’t want your app to be like a deli menu with a million things on it, you want to be like the food truck that does a few specialty things really well. Once you have an established base of customers, you can then carefully add new menu items to test them and draw in a whole new crowd.

Discovery White Boarding

Discovery White Board Session

By taking you through the Discovery Process, we can help you identify your Minimum Viable Product (base application), and what features could be added on in later releases. Those then can be tested, and incorporated into the MVP, modified as needed, even abandoned, as you learn more about your users.

This is how we encourage startups to approach their app development, and it helps avoid costly unbundling at some time in the future. It forces you to think differently about the develop-release-develop-release approach we recommend for maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness. By building out features in subsequent sprints, you can take time to learn from your users, and make sure your application is right on track.

Observing the unbundling that is happening in the industry today can help you get back to the drawing board and figure out what is important to the user and offering just that core product initially, then releasing additional features as you learn from users through their feedback. This approach helps you focus on your app’s true minimum value to create a better focused user experience. You can learn more about how to begin the MVP process by reading through our free Startup Handbook.