How you can build a Scalable & Affordable MVP for your startup?
Hello! I’m Mayank, and I’m the founder of Thrifty Software Private Limited. we are a Prototype Factory where we assist early-stage startups in developing scalable, cheap, and trustworthy MVP ( like Mobile applications, Web applications, PWAs, etc)
The most challenging barrier for early-stage startups, particularly with non-technical founders, is the difficulty in developing the MVP out of their idea at an affordable price. With the help of this post, I will attempt to show how someone can create an affordable & scalable MVP. The solution is straightforward! Low-cost labor. If you want to reduce the cost of the product or service without changing the amount or quality of the material, you must reduce the labor expenses. It is the development Charge in software development.
But you could be worried that involving students in the development process would jeopardize the product’s quality and standard because they lack professional expertise. And in most cases, they actually wind up doing something strange, against the requirements, and it takes a long time. Even so, it is not scalable. However here I will try to show how you can increase the project’s success rate to 90 % even after involving Student Developers ( Intern) in the core development team. And that’s only possible, with the Help of some Software Engineering Framework!. Don’t be afraid, I bought the simplest way for you.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to demonstrate how a startup can obtain the MVP at a low cost by utilizing interns. However, the purpose of this post is not to encourage you to exploit them. We should respect the minimum salary (stipend) that should be paid to them in order to cover their living expenses and other necessities.
1. Always have brief documentation of your requirements on hand. ( Writeup)
You don’t have to explain a story about the product to him (Intern)over the phone every day, which might lead to a number of misunderstandings. Instead, create a Requirement Documentation.
Requirements document − A document or write up containing detailed requirements for the system being developed. These requirements define the functional features and capabilities that a system must possess.
The document should be concise, without jargon, modular, and provide information about each minor feature. Divide the Requirement in such a structure:
You may use this as a template: Here
2. Create a wireframe ( Mockup ) for MVP
Only you, as the author of the Idea, may imagine how your application should appear and function. Prepare a wireframe that will help any developer(Interns) to visualize what you are thinking. You can prepare wireframes using either pen-paper or an online application such as Figma(free) or Adobe XD(free) before hiring an intern. If you are not comfortable with these tools, you have other simpler options as well like Marvel(1 project free) or Draw.io(free)
Even a scribbled-on-paper diagram will suffice! read more about wireframing here
3. Setup Trello Board ( Not JIRA) for MVP
Trello and JIRA are from the same company, but I choose Trello Board for small startups and early users. It is basic and straightforward.
Mention all of your Requirements in the Trello board, based on the modules. Checklist may be used to separate the tasks in a module. This will allow you to monitor the project’s progress.
You can Clone a template from Here
4. Make a Git repository and set up Push on Mail.
Create a Gitlab repository, push a copyright notice inside it(This will keep your work Safe), and add your developer as a member in the repository, and request that the developer check-ins on a daily basis with the appropriate commit message. You may configure a push on mail service so that you will receive email notifications, whenever someone commits on the branch. Here is the process to configure
Copyright Notice, you can copy from here
Bonus : Always try to hire two Interns, and they both should review each other’s work. This is called Peer Review and it will definetly improve the quality of the project
5. Database Design & API Specifications
This is something you may lack since you are not technically savvy. However, this is really important for the project’s quality. Ask your intern to create these documents before they begin development because it will be impossible for them to focus on this after they begin work.
These documents include but are not limited to,
- Database Diagram (ER Diagram): This applies to SQL databases. They can use any tool they choose. Personally, I like dbdocs.
If they are working on NoSQL databases like firebase and MongoDB, ask them to populate the database manually, to visualize the complete system, before developing.
- API Definition: This is for API specifications. This is only required for projects involving API creation. They can utilize postman to create specifications before developing, other options are Swagger and google sheet.
for postman, refer to this sample, and for swagger, the equivalent sample is given here. And for the Easiest one, Google sheet, clone this document.
Your intern should communicate their progress on a daily basis. They may share the demo of the project, on a nearly daily basis. You should test and provide comments. Try to put your comments on the same Trello board, discussed in point (3), for the sake of maintaining records.
7. Daily Standup or Daily Status Call
I know you’re too preoccupied with your idea and team. However, attempt to obtain at least 15 minutes to have a status call with the intern to hunt down the done, pending, and roadblocks along the route. Discuss what they have done, what is pending and why, and whether or not there is a roadblock.
Interns will be similarly motivated as a result of this.
Clone this sample document: Standup Sheet Format
Previously! I was not a whiz at technology! So, over time, I was able to master these things on my own and build a development process with such kind of resources. I hope that if you take the same method as described above, you will be able to quickly obtain an affordable and scalable MVP.
Ways in which we can help you?
If you want to create a low-cost, scalable MVP, we can help you. We have a team of highly competent and qualified student partners, and we have successfully helped numerous startups that have acquired seed funding, based on their MVP.
If you do not want to work with us and instead operate your own in-house team or employ a freelancer, a collection of technical documents will undoubtedly assist you in describing your requirements. We offer a comprehensive set of documents, including a requirement document, wireframe, API specifications, and database design, for a very low cost.