In the past, I would have thought that the first phase of product development included months of technical coding.
It doesn’t. The first step is customer engagement with a minimum viable product.
Why has that been such a hard concept for me to grasp?
I worked in software for ten years, and I’ve taken tons of business classes which all tout creating the MVP, solving problems, interviewing customers, and meeting needs with the least possible features.
I finally understand the concept of test fast, fail fast.
Theatrical-At-Home was built in a week, operational within three days, and revised over the first two weeks. Very little has changed since that first month.
A lot could be changed and improved.
But in its current state, it meets the very basic needs. Just as it is.
If I had built this platform in a vacuum outside of covid, I would have spent a year mulling features, fumbling with code, and overthinking everything.
And it would have been all wrong. I wouldn’t have known what was needed.
I was telling a friend today that my product is a system, a method, a brand, and a community of customers — not a technology. The technology is built on third party products, and each piece is replaceable or able to be built from scratch in the future.
As I listened to myself describe the product in this way, I knew it was true.
By engaging, by doing, even if so-not-perfect, I am learning what the customers need. And it has taken the full four months for this knowledge to start to sink in.
Now, only now, I can sit down with a blank page and write down the most important features to improve and a few wish list items to add in order to scale.