From Design to Development

April 2020

If you're thinking how to build out your MVP, you'll want to surround yourself with a team of experts - which includes, at minimum, a UX/UI Designer and Developer. Depending on their level of experience, industry knowledge, and location, you'll likely find yourself repeating information several times to get the same information across. By doing so, you'll now succumb to a greater likelihood of missing or relaying incorrect information. How do you increase your chances of success and follow a productive workflow? We're here to help you bridge the gap between design and development.

Start with your WHY

As humans, we all work more productively when we understand the WHY to a project. Share your story with your designers and developers. Have them understand the problem that you've faced and why (and more importantly how) your company will help overcome that obstacle or bring an added benefit. Talk to them about your target users. Who are they and why would they use your platform? Consider the personality and ethos of your brand. Will your company be taken seriously in the medical field or would your company have a lighthearted tone to help through a wedding planning process? As your team works through the structure and framework from both a design and technology view point, they'll be better equipped to share their opinions and concerns for areas of improvement. As founders, we come into the MVP experience with our own assumptions and biases, but through the beginning stages, take advantage of new view points from your team. They may come up with ways to improve the first launch - in new ways that you may not have considered.

Map out a high-level flow chart

Although your UX/UI Designer will likely help in defining the use cases, consider mapping out a flow chart on a user journey track. What's the best case scenario for a new user when they come across your platform? How will they find your platform? What will get them engaged to use it? What are the most important features they're looking for? And how are you prioritizing those features within your MVP launch? Flow charts visually map out the various stages of product engagement from hearing more about your platform to the end use of receiving an added benefit. What information is collected in each stage of the process? How does each feature affect your user and it what ways can you optimize their engagement? No matter if you're looking at it from a design or development perspective, your team is there to help you reach your success metrics during your MVP launch.

Give access to marketing material

Although your UX/UI Designer will likely help in defining the use cases, consider mapping out a flow chart on a user journey track. What's the best case scenario for a new user when they come across your platform? How will they find your platform? What will get them engaged to use it? What are the most important features they're looking for? And how are you prioritizing those features within your MVP launch? Flow charts visually map out the various stages of product engagement from hearing more about your platform to the end use of receiving an added benefit. What information is collected in each stage of the process? How does each feature affect your user and it what ways can you optimize their engagement? No matter if you're looking at it from a design or development perspective, your team is there to help you reach your success metrics during your MVP launch.

Share assets (with their up-to-date versions!) 

We've all been there. You share access to your assets but they are improperly named or stored in incorrect folders. Get your team on the same page with a brand style guide. Label your assets correctly with the same nomenclature and include dates as reference points. Between your UX/UI design and development teams, get all your assets organized including logos, icons, graphics, typography and photography. Don't make the assumption that your team knows where to go download your fonts. Package it all in a compressed zip drive and if any changes are made to your assets, send a notification to your entire team.

Create a product requirements document

The product requirements document (PRD) becomes the baseline for your entire team. The document explains what your product should do and should keep the user's viewpoint in mind. Although it will highlight the parameters for a scope of engagement for your team, it gives the greater flexibility in interpreting the document from a design and technical perspective. This document usually comes after a creative brief is submitted to your graphic designer or branding team. Unlike a creative brief, the requirements document dives into use cases such as the assumptions and constraints within the launch of your MVP. List a priority of features - what your product will and will not do. Consider the technical requirements including security, network, storage, and third party integrations. What's already out there that you plan on using instead of building your own? If any changes need to be made, track them within this document and keep in mind that the scope, timeline, and budget for your launch will likely be affected.

Pick a communications platform

Keep talking! Not just to yourself (which many of us founders do), but keep the communication flowing with your entire group. If there are questions that seek clarification and bring about new use cases that weren't considered before, set the conversation to public to the entire group to avoid any other gaps. Communication is key when you consider the multiple team member structure that you have in place. Sideline conversations that are based on niche expertise are typically okay but once you start diving into user journeys or new assumptions and constraints, immediately send these over to the entire group. Remember, everyone's on your team. You're the coach that needs to bring the win home!

If you're looking to build out an MVP team and bridge the gap between design and development, send an email! Because of my startup experience launching MVP's, I pride myself as the starting point for successful brands.

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