How to Release in a Week

From Idea to MVP

No Time to Waste!

Your First Tasks

  • Come up with a good idea (your vision) -- today!
  • Build the first user testable version -- in a week!
  • Test it on some users -- the week after!
  • Build / Measure / Learn!

How to work


  • Gang up on the problem. Mob program.
  • Right now: Schedule 2 or 3 team hackathons in some room in the next few days
  • Work on one user story at a time
  • Pair program as much as possible
  • Test, commit, deploy, demo something new as fast as possible
    • Every 10 minutes or so


  • End to end, from backend database to frontend user interface
  • Only what is needed to let a user see or do something, not a bit more

What to build


Which quadrant do you want to be in?


Which quadrant do you NOT want to be in?


What about the other two quadrants?


How do you get to quadrant one?

One-Button Apps

Delighters vs Must-Haves

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

  • MVP: the smallest thing you can build to test your most critical unknowns,
    • your value prop
      • if users aren't impressed, you don't have a product
    • your ability to code for that value prop
  • 80% of your app is irrelevant to testing your idea
    • Login, preference pages, profiles, statistics, etc.
  • Twitter was designed on a napkin
  • PhoneGap v.0 was built in a weekend

Where to start

Design by Storytelling

  • A demo is a story with characters, context, problem, and payoff
    • Character: someone with a background, needs, and opinions
    • Context: the situation someone is in
    • Problem: a specific problem, one that arises often
    • Payoff: your app coming to the rescue!
  • Kim Goodwin on design scenarios

The Scene

  • Start by visualizing the one scene that shows why your product matters
  • It has to be specific, visual, self-descriptive...
  • ... just like a good user interface
  • Then fill in the story around it

The 4-Panel Storyboard

Implement Payoff First

  • WorkIt! a Siri™ for exercisers
  • Wanda, a work-at-home graphic artist, takes her mid-morning exercise break. She taps the WorkIt!, hits Start and WorkIt! starts calling out the steps in the exercise routine Wanda designed for herself.
  • What's the payoff for WorkIt?
  • Ergo, implement and test that, before anything else

Common Mistakes

A miracle occurs Friction, not payoff