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Chief Operating Officer
Head of R&D and Tech Strategy - Co-Founder
Both startups and big corporations struggle in the journey of transforming their MVPs into robust platforms. However, by scaling up the infrastructure, growing the team and applying good software development practices, it is possible to do so.
Let’s dive into this process step by step to see how.
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has only the essential features to achieve the following goals:
Once it is launched, the Product team will receive user feedback to iterate it and improve the next version.
The goal is not to build your final product right away. It is useful to investigate if there is a market for your business idea, to check if it is worth the effort. An MVP is not built in a way it can support millions of users from the start. The objective is to quickly test a simple product, and after that your Development and Product teams can ask themselves: “Ok, now how do we do it right?”.
The goal is to be the first ones in the market. Be the brand everyone knows your idea for. And in order to achieve that, you do fast but sometimes inefficient processes, at the expense of good practices and technical decisions that prioritize scalability.
you usually don't focus on the things that hold everything in the development.
Some startups and even bigger companies might keep on building over their initial product. However, if it is really successful and if the user traffic demands for a greater infrastructure, the initial architecture probably won’t be able to sustain it.
That is why there is a concept known as Throwaway MVP, which “allows you to test a hypothesis” but it is important to know it is “not your end product but rather brings you insight on whether to and how to build your product”.
This is a great way to validate an idea and, with all that knowledge, feedback and insights gathered, re-implement the idea considering what your team has learned.
Similar to a Proof of Concept (POC), once you have evolved your MVP and learned from users’ feedback, there is a good chance that you’ll have to throw it away and start over in order to work towards a scalable and robust platform that can support the demand of millions of users wanting your service or product.
Any MVP can grow on demand but at the level of its architecture, the development cycle and the deployment process; it has an expiration date.
Many startups and companies do not pass this inflection point.
As said before, at the beginning the priority is to be the first ones to bring an idea to the market. In order to accomplish that, the development team will focus on delivering functionality quickly, but behind the scenes, the coding practices and solutions usually are not the best. Most likely, the architecture and infrastructure will only support the demand of the first users. It is not intended to handle a considerable increase in traffic.
If your product or service proves to be successful and your user base starts growing, your Development team must follow that growth too. An MVP will only become a successful product by proving it is able to scale, which means:
At this point, the priority is to evolve the infrastructure so that it supports high demand. It is the time to assess the technical aspects and think in the long term. Most of the time this will translate into designing a scalable architecture for your project and also refactoring portions of the code—or all of it. You will need to implement best practices with continuous delivery, outstanding performance and high quality standards in mind.
The reason many companies fail at this inflection point is that they don’t invest appropriately on the improvement of their incipient product. Here lies the key to transform an MVP into a robust platform that can grow over the years.
If you built a product rapidly, you might have applied not the fanciest solutions but the quick ones. That’s why you need to start over. Unfortunately, many stakeholders get attached to their initial product and are unwilling to let it go. Let’s see the 4 biggest problems in this scenario:
That is why the best approach might be to start over, using the lessons learned from the Throwaway MVP and investing on building a robust and scalable product.
First, you need to change your startup mentality. A reliable platform must be able to grow over time. In order to do this, you’ll need 4 main elements:
In conclusion, the journey of transforming an MVP into a robust platform requires a strategic shift from the startup mentality. While the initial product serves its purpose of testing the market and gathering initial feedback, it reaches an inflection point where its limitations become apparent.
Scaling up the product entails addressing technical aspects, such as designing a scalable architecture and implementing best practices in software development. Failing to invest in the improvement of the product can lead to numerous problems including bugs, performance issues, and difficulties in introducing new features. To create a truly robust and scalable product, four key elements are crucial:
By embracing these elements and making the necessary changes, startups and companies can successfully transition from an MVP to a robust platform that can meet the demands of a growing user base and thrive in the long term.
Chief Operating Officer
CTO & Co-Founder
CTO & Co-Founder