rapid prototyping and MVPs

So, I’ve had this note for a long time sitting on my desk… “Think about rapid prototyping.”

Every once in a while an idea strikes that I want to peruse more, or want to go explore. I write it down. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t get explored for months and months, but that’s the nature of the beast.

This morning though, I keep thinking I should return to it :0)

So, rapid prototyping.

Getting Started Fast

rapid prototyping and MVPs

In our world, rapid prototyping is where you build or create something quickly, get it to market, and see if it has legs.

The phrase came from manufacturing though.

“Rapid prototyping can be defined as a group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) data.” [wikipedia]

Recently, I’ve actually heard another phrase to describe rapid prototyping…  MVP.  Or Minimum Viable Product.

Creating MVPs

MVP’s are products, services, software, or information that is put together to a point of being consumed by a target audience.

For example, Scriptly was an MVP product.  TimeSlots was an MVP product. They were conceived and brainstormed in a few hours…  Then, they were sent off to a developer to have coded up.  And a few weeks later, available for use.

The thousands of hours spent on those products since they were launched as an MVP?  Those are what made the products what they are to.

Were they perfect?  Absolutely not.

Can features be added?  Absolutely.

What we have coming up for you – mind blowing…

That’s not the point though.  The point is that with ideas, business models, products or anything else – you have to give it legs.

Perfection Is Overrated

MPVsYou have to build it enough so that it’s consumable or workable, and it gives value, but you can always add to it down the road.  You can ALWAYS make it better.

If you aim for perfection right out of the gate…  Chances are you’ll fail.

Your product won’t ever get released.

You’ll spend more time in the last stages of perfection than all of what it took you to get there.

That’s not a viable business model!

You’ll invest far more time, effort and money in the last 5% of perfection than you did on the previous 95%!

Truth be told, whatever it is you’re launching won’t ever be perfect.  There will always be something you can do better, or add, or take away.  Perfection isn’t achievable unless you’re a company as big as Apple.

How To Apply To Your Business

So, here’s a quick braindump on a Rapid Prototyping (MVP) Model:

  1. Record.  Be aware of your ideas.  Write them down and put them in a place you see them every day.  You don’t have to take action now, but when the mood strikes, or the stars align and it makes sense to move forward…  Do it!
  2. Stage.  Take a few minutes and brainstorm your product.  If necessary, block out 30 minutes of your day for concentrating on only your idea and how you can make it a reality.  Use mindmapping software (like Mindmeister) or a notepad.  Whichever you like best.
  3. Build.  Next, build out your idea.  If it’s software, draw images of what it’ll look like on the screen and what it’ll do (also called wireframing).  If it’s an info product, map out the modules or chapters you’ll need.
  4. Source.  After you have it mapped out, figure out how to build it.  If you can find someone one Elance or Odesk, awesome.  If it’s an ebook or a digital product, roll up your sleeves and start creating!  We’ve actually got a program called Rapid Fire Formula that’ll show you that.
  5. Offer.  After the product is done (and mind you…  NOT perfect!).  Offer it for sale!  After it’s for sale, test, tweak and make it better!

That’s how we build everything.  Software.  Info products.  Ebooks.  Everything.