MVP Product Design Mindset That Delivers Value, Interview With Piyush Jain, CEO of Simpalm

Jain explains why and how to iteratively and incrementally build products that focus on customer value over viability.

PEOPLE

TAKEAWAYS

  1. Value: Look at the “value” for your customer, not the “viability” of the MVP. For example, Instagram started with just photo sharing and now is an entire social platform.
  2. Design: Having good design is crucial these days — if you have great features but not a functional and user friendly design, your product might not be successful.
  3. Learning: You need to constantly be learning and adapting, from the point you start with your MVP to launching the product. It’s all about iterative and incremental building based on customer feedback, during the MVP and post-launch phases. Don’t be disheartened with setbacks — that’s what MVPs are intended for.

TIMELINE

  • 01:38 – Overview of Simpalm and Ducknowl. Simpalm started in 2009 from Jain’s basement; now a full-stack software development. Ducknowl, a SaaS product, built in-house, launched in 2019, started with the same cofounder as Simpalm. We saw a problem: it was hectic to screen candidates for hiring without a digitized platform.
  • 03:27 – What is an MVP? MVP should be Minimal “Value” (versus Viable) Product. Viability is something we (startups/founders) look for us (e.g. budget, timeline) but what gives value to the customer? For example, consider this: Zoom, Skype and others are all viable web meeting software but which of those, gives you value? Try to deliver one or two minimal features that deliver value for customers. 
  • 05:55 – How big should an MVP be? It’s different for different companies, based on their size and stage but even for bigger projects, it shouldn’t be any more than six months. Get the product out early and often, to get customer feedback.
  • 07:30 – How do you know you have an MVP? It’s when your users are able to interact with your product and see some value by using it (e.g. downloading an app, logging into a website). 
  • 08:45 – What did the MVP look like for DuckNOwl? We had a basic feature in mind for our MVP; i.e. resume sorting and parsing, since it’s a big issue for hiring managers. We went to recruiters and they loved it. We also only knew they needed things like video screening for assessing applicants. We wanted a lot but started smaller. 
  • 09:59 – Did you talk to customers or your own problems that made you launch Ducknowl? It started with our own problems (e.g. software developers, project managers) and it was taking time. We decided to build a product that digitizes the whole process. We’ve also done staff augmentation for clients, so we spoke with their recruiters and they liked it. So, we had our own company and customers (user base) to get initial interest and to test with.
  • 12:12 – How do you incorporate Lean Startup and Design Thinking best practices into MVP mindset? MVP is a core aspect of Lean Startup and Design Thinking is the first step. In the past, it was about code; nowadays, it’s more about design…something people will use. This is what we convey to our clients these days by educating them about the importance of design, using Design Thinking. You need wireframes and/or clickable designs. Create a focus group (e.g. customers) that can give you feedback.
  • 15:25 – What tools do you use? There are several tools but the three main tools we use for designing and design testing are InVision, Sketch and Figma.
  • 15:53 – How do you get stakeholders involved in MVP mindset? We have to show them the process, before we even start. When they see the value, then they’re onboard. We conduct a lot of discovery sessions, focus groups, etc.
  • 17:30 – Takeaways (see above)
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