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During the Alpha test sequence (all iterations) you will uncover a great deal about customer expectations and wants. It is doubtful that your product will be able to meet all of the wants or expectations of your customers. That being said, you must work to prioritize those expectations. One manner of doing so is by noting the number and frequency with which a general recommendation for a particular change or modification is made. This shows a greater general concern for the issue by your potential customers. Effectuating his change or modification should be a higher priority. Features that add little to the product or are not widely valued should be subordinated.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
As you measured in the feasibility analysis, you want to add features that add to the priority level of the product. Further, you want to make certain that the features of higher priority are incorporated. Features with lower priority should be added only if the return (value received form the customer) is greater than the cost of adding that feature. This process is known as developing the “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP). Below is a diagram that illustrates that logic that goes into the MVP.
The Feedback Loop
When you introduce your product to testing (particularly from customers) your purpose is to receive feedback. This is generally known as the feedback loop. You hope to receive information that allows you to gauge customer perception and value of your product or service. Prioritizing the wants of customers allows you to weigh the value proposition of adding a new feature to the cost of doing so.
Side Note: Think of the last time you purchased a personal computer (PC). If you purchased the PC online, you likely had to choose from a number of different options. Manufacturing the PC to allow additions or modifications is a manner of allowing the customer to control his or her own value proposition. By doing so, you are able to serve multiple customer segments that value different feature differently. Including all of the features on every machine would lose some of the more cost-conscious consumers and may not derive sufficient premium from other customers to justify the costs.
Perhaps most importantly, employing the feedback into the design process allows you to mold the product to meet your customer needs. You will be able to tell at the development stage that the concept, feature, or overall product does not work or needs modification. In some cases this may require an adjustment of the overall business model.
Pivoting means to halt a strategy or path of research and development and change to a new direction. The change is necessary to accomplish your purpose or meet the customer’s needs or wants. Pivoting generally takes place during and after the Alpha test, but prior to the Beta test. This is the period when you can use acquired information to improve, redesign, or otherwise change your product or service. The result of pivoting is to put yourself on the path of meeting your customer needs and wants and developing a minimum viable product.