I was recently challenged by a product owner on how you can deliver a minimum viable mobile app. Her concern was that she only gets one shot at launching her app on the app store, customer feedback is gold dust and the last thing she wants is to launch a half baked product that will result in a low customer rating. Good stuff may come later, but if the first tranche of customers rate the product poorly, the product has already failed.
This is a valid concern, however when you review product feedback that consumers give, it is usually around the experience they have with the product shipped, i.e. issues with what it does, rather that what it does not. Go to the app store and look for apps with really bad reviews. People complain that an app isn’t usable, is buggy, is hard to use (or is just plain ‘bad’). They don’t complain that it doesn’t have features.
Jason furnell recently blogged about the launch of the REA iPhone app. This was built with close collaboration between designers and developers, launching a
Minimum Viable Product Minimum Delightful Product that after a week was #1 in the Top Free Lifestyle Apps Category.
Getting the basic product right and introducing new features ‘enhancements’ later is preferable to releasing a fully featured product that fails to delight.