With the advent of “Mobile first” philosophy, the idea of minimum viable product(MVP) and customer development needs to be extended for mobile apps. The concept of MVP translates differently in the mobile context since, building an MVP on mobile comes with constraints like longer release cycles and needs different tactics for idea validation. The process of customer development is more complicated in mobile than developers are used to on the web.
Some of the problems with customer development and iteration on mobile are
- Iteration speed
- No A/B testing
1. Iteration Speed
Even though the distribution has been taken care of by the platforms. They have also made the process user driven. Contrary to the way developers are used to on the web(‘Release early, release often’), the release process involves the user’s permission and participation. This slows down the iteration process of apps. New technologies like Phonegap/HTML5 are promising a way out of the release problem but we have yet to see the impact in the ecosystem.
Android device fragmentation has become a problem while building your MVP. This is leading to apps being built for iOS first and only when an app sees traction, it is being built and released for android. This problem is more important now than ever before because the android device market share is growing up to be more than iOS devices. Developers are willing to forgo the market numbers in favor of building an MVP faster.
3. No A/B Testing
The ready built infrastructure available for web developers to start A/B testing is virtually non-existent for mobile developers today. Without A/B testing on real users, developers are forced to find other ways to circumvent the existing distribution system and release a different version to different users. Building these different versions is not as easy as it is in the web.