Your MVP Playbook

The following operating procedures are a distillation of several years of experience in building software applications. It outlines how we provide a collaborative environment that gives you the clarity and confidence to know that we're the right team for the job.

Your software is a unique piece of technology that reflects your business model. As an MVP, it needs to be useful while staying minimalistic. It also needs to be changeable in case of a pivot. Therefore, it's crucial to have crystal-clear requirements before moving on to developing the product. Details matter.

Our process has been honed through years of working in a variety of technologies, languages and frameworks. It consists of a team of professionals working through several distinct phases. This style of working is optimized for building a versatile, flexible and agile software product in the shortest possible period of time.

What we can do for you

 

Zero Projects is a firm that specializes in software development.

Our methodology

 

Time is money. Zero Projects is known to our clients as that company that reduces scope early, builds what is important, and delivers a lean product as fast as possible. 

Your software development partner should be a guide and an advisor who helps you discern what is truly good and useful in your vision. With open discussions and appropriate pushback, we help you identify what is truly important in your vision, defer unnecessary features until later, and plan for the future. 

Your project will be delivered in three distinct phases. Doing so minimizes expenses, maximizes development velocity and clears the path for future development efforts to take place when a pivot happens.

Phase 1: Pre-development

 

The goal of Phase 1 is to learn as much as we can about your vision for your application, then ruthlessly minimize scope. We do this so that we can develop features in an explosive burst with minimal overhead once this phase is over.

Phase 2: Development

Phase 2 is where we build the application itself. This is the phase where software development takes place. this phase normally takes between 4 and 8 weeks, depending on the scope we determined in Phase 1.

Phase 3: Post-development

 

We stick around to help you even after your application has been successfully launched. We can maintain

Phase 1: Pre-Development

Project kickoff

 

Your project starts with a kickoff meeting over Zoom. This is an important step in setting a clear and thorough mutual understanding of what needs to be built. We cover ground, ask clarifying questions, and run brainstorming sessions. We will leave no stone unturned before we hit the ground running on a project.

Your kickoff meeting can last anywhere from 2 hours to the entire day. During this time, we'll introduce team members and talk through roles and responsibilities, discuss the product vision, and agree on what success looks like at the end of the project.

 

During this meeting, we discuss the project and how it relates to your business. We also talk about use-cases, product validation, and the project’s overall goals. This conversation enables us to produce a project roadmap that details the project’s timeline and helps ensure its success.

UX workshops & wireframes

 

Your user flows are then translated by our designer into wireframes. The wireframes are your app's blueprints. Depending on the needs of your application, these can range from being simple greyscale outlines of important components to being interactive and clickable prototypes. Sometimes they can include typefaces and icons as well.

This is an exploratory process that involves multiple conversations with our UX/UI designer. Multiple sketches are often created for the same objective.

UI design workshops & prototypes

 

Your wireframes are translated by our designer into high-fidelity, interactive, clickable prototypes that are as close to a full representation of the final application as possible. This step is important in order to provide clarity to the development team for the next several weeks. All final design elements chosen in this step will be implemented in the final product.

Some considerations include adhering to existing brand identities, establishing the unique identity of the final product, and seamlessly tying the user experience together into a cohesive whole.

User stories

 

Your application's user stories will have been worked on for the past several steps. Now, we revisit and finalize the user stories in light of the outcomes from the UX and UI workshops. These serve as the primary source of truth for the application's requirements. Developers will continuously refer to them in the development process, and any changes to requirements will be reflected in the user stories

Scope reduction & finalization

 

Your application is now finalized and requires your approval.

This step exists in order to give you the ability to fine-tune your requirements and finalize scope.

In this step, we work with you to aggressively minimize your costs. Our team provides you with the guidance and crystal-clear clarity you need to prioritize features, resulting in a lean yet powerful application that achieves your goals.

We strive to keep costs low and delivery dates predictable for our clients. In order to help us keep our fixed-price promise to you, there will be no major changes to the application until development is complete. We usually allow minor changes, such as modifications to certain colors or to written copy, but this is done at our sole discretion.

No obligation

 

In order to help you make decisions that are right for your company, we provide you with the freedom to exit this engagement at your sole discretion. You get to keep all UX/UI wireframes and design documents up until this point, and no extra fees will be charged to you.

25% Cover Discount

Should you choose to continue with development, we will apply 25% of the fees incurred in Steps 1 through 5 towards application development as a discount.

 

Phase 2: Development

System architecture

 

Now that your application is fully scoped out, The first week of development typically goes into laying the foundations of your application. This involves choosing the right languages, frameworks and technologies for each functionality desired from your application. This also involves writing the initial pieces of code that consist the backbone of your application, including tooling around deployment and server environments that are necessary for development to proceed at full speed.

Development & QA

 

Over the next several weeks, you'll watch as the application slowly grows into a full, working piece of software.

With your user stories, final designs and initial codebase in hand, we can begin writing the actual code of the final product. Our team typically follows the Kanban methodology, which emphasizes continual product delivery. We operate in one-week sprint cycles, with development tasks tracked on a Kanban board, and source code committed directly to GitHub.

We strive to spend minimal time in meetings, even deferring from daily standups, and instead allow team members to organize and collaborate organically. This helps us to maximize the number of features we can build for you during our engagement.

 

Time Tracking

We do not report on our wrok on an hourly basis, but we do provide a summary of work done on a daily basis.

Weekly Reviews

At the end of each sprint we hold a brief review with you, to share what was accomplished. We continue this process iteratively, with our current progress always transparent.

UAT & Launch

 

Once your application is completed, we launch it to a production environment. Then, we shift into maintenance mode.

Phase 3: Post-Development

 

Once your application is completed, we launch it to a production environment. Then, we shift into maintenance mode.

In maintenance mode, our account manager will stay in constant touch with you. Our developers will stand by in case you experience any difficulties in your application or require us to build new features. You can rely on us to maintain and grow your application for years into the future.

Work done in this phase is billed on an hourly basis.

Sample Work Schedule

Here is a sample of the work schedule involved in building your application.

Your team

 

Your team consists of the following players. They will shift into and out of your project as we move through its various phases. ​

  • 1 Software Architect

  • 2 Software Developers

  • 1 UX/UI Designer

  • 1 Illustrator

  • 1 Quality Assurance Specialist

  • 1 Project Manager

  • 1 Account Manager

Examples of applications with sizes

 

It is difficult to estimate for an specific application without first knowing your specific requirements. But we can provide multiple different estimates which, based on your type of application, will help you estimate how much your MVP will cost you.

We work with you to minimize your scope

 

We're known to our clients as the company that ruthlessly reduces scope. The end result is a lean, crystal-clear vision that is lightweight, easy to pivot with and appealing to your target customers.

In our efforts to reduce scope, we often employ a variety of methods depending on the project. Some of our approaches include:

  • User personas

  • Interviews with your users

  • Prioritization

  • Feature estimation

  • SWOT analysis

  • ROI analysis

  • Tradeoff breakdowns

Our friendly payment terms

 

We have two payment options available for our clients:

  • Regular

  • Staggered

Regular Payment Terms

This option minimizes your expenses to a bare minimum and there are no extra surcharges.

In this payment term, we ask for payment of the first and last weeks of development in advance. We invoice each subsequent sprint separately and in advance on NET 7 terms. 

Staggered Biweekly Payment Terms

 

This option minimizes your cash outflow. There is a 10% financing surcharge and we require an additional week of payment in advance.

 

Staggered biweekly payment terms maximize your cash flow in exchange for a financing surcharge and a larger upfront payment. They break down payments into biweekly amounts, thus making it easy for you to pay down the fees involved in building your application.

Debt & equity financing options (Coming soon!)

 

We are currently working with our financing partners to procure even better financing options for your application. We hope to be able to offer multi-year mixed debt/equity financing terms that minimize impact to your cash flow while maximizing your potential for growth. Stay tuned for updates in 2021!