MVP: Determining the stage of your software project

You've got an idea for a software product or service, but you're not sure what level of support you need to make it happen. We'll help you find your way.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about a software product or service for a while but you’re at the stage where you need to expand on the idea and consider some finer details. Or, you’re further along the process and have detailed plans for your software project and now need technical expertise.

Here’s how you can determine which stage your software project is at:

Stage 1. 'I have an idea, but not much else' stage

All great projects start here. You've got a scrap of something but it needs definition. The best method is to clarify your objectives. What are you trying to accomplish? What need does your software fulfill? This stage is all about getting down the big picture.

In some ways, this is the most exciting stage of idea development, because your only limit is the sky. But it can also be the most daunting when you're faced with a blank page that you need to fill.

At this stage, it will be important to document all of your ideas and collect pictures, articles and materials that can help communicate your idea in some form.

Collaboration can also help you bring your idea into focus. Chat with friends and family about your idea to get some perspective on whether your idea might be practical or useful.

RELATED: How an MVP approach to software development will save you time and money

Stage 2. 'My idea is there; I need help with fleshing it out'

You've identified what your project needs to accomplish, but there are still some big knowledge gaps between your idea and its final form.

Identify the types of people who would be using your product or service. What is their demographic? How do they use your software product/service? How will your project fit into the existing marketplace?

This would also be a good time to distinguish between the “must have” and “would be nice to have” features of your software project as it could put you on the path to refining your idea. What are the features that will be critical to make your software product/service function properly? Which features are necessary to get your project to market quickly? List your required features in order of priority – this exercise will help you decide what you do and don’t need, and allow you to further refine your idea.

RELATED: Refining your idea to the core: How to determine which features belong in your MVP

Project Stages

Stage 3. 'My idea is fully-fleshed; I need to fine-tune it'

You’ve thought long and hard about your software project and you’ve got detailed plans, diagrams or wireframes to map it out.

But you need help with refining the idea and could benefit from consulting with a team of software experts to determine which features should belong in your project.

The technical components required for your software project may direct where to take your idea next. Perhaps you were thinking about an app when a mobile-optimised website will do the job. Maybe you’re unaware of the programming required to build your software project because you don’t have a background in software development.

This is the stage where you should call in software experts so you can draw on their expertise and learn more about the specific elements that will be needed to get your project off the ground. They will be able to inform you about the latest tools and technology fit for your project, they’ll be able to advise you on best platforms and can scope your project to give you a comprehensive idea of the timeframes and costings you’ll need to work with.

The perfect software partner to build your MVP

At inoutput, we always begin any software development process with our IOP Kick-off, which comes in a few different workshop formats to suit whatever stage you're at with your project.

With experience across a range of software products and services, we’ll be able to offer expert advice and help guide your project to ensure its success.

Our IOP Kick-off is a thorough workshop that will take your software project from an idea to a tangible product or service.

Contact us today to find out how we can help bring your software project to life.