Agile MVP Development: When and How to Make Changes Mid-Project

MVP building comes with many twists and turns, but they don't need to derail your whole project. Here's how you can course correct towards success with an Agile MVP Development approach.

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by Matias Emiliano Alvarez Duran


Even the most well-planned MVP projects can run into unexpected challenges that threaten the success of the whole endeavor. The need for a change in your MVP game plan is not necessarily a problem, but you'll need both skill and experience to implement it without compromising the schedule, budget and quality of your new product. 

When it comes to software development, Agile isn't just a buzzword. It's a strategy to achieve fast and high-quality results under changing circumstances, and the best approach for your MVP project. In this article, we'll offer you a quick overview of how Agile MVP development projects run, by diving into the concept of development sprints. And building on that knowledge, you'll learn exactly when and how you should make a mid-project change based on the first-hand experience of NaNLABS' MVP experts.

Table of contents

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MVPs in Agile development: the basics 

Agile MVP Development means applying the principles of the Agile methodology to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This combination of MVP + Agile is brilliant for shortening your time to market – which is essential when trying to launch a new product – without sacrificing quality.

Through short development sprints and intense team collaboration, this approach allows entrepreneurs to gather feedback early, iterate quickly, and arrive a lot faster at a final product that meets users' needs. 

Understanding development sprints

Before we can jump into explaining when and how to make changes in an MVP project, we need to tell you a bit more about the nature of the Agile MVP development process

Agile is an incremental approach to software development, which means that instead of presenting everything on a single product launch date, the team delivers work in short cycles called sprints

Sprints are time-boxed, focused development work periods with clearly set goals, and typically last between one to four weeks. At NaNLABS, we normally work in sprints lasting two weeks but, as with everything else, this time frame will always be adjusted to the requirements of each project.

What happens during a development sprint

Sprints include four important events that provide a structured framework for the cycle of planning, development, testing, and review, as you'll see below.  

1. Sprint Planning Ceremony

A sprint planning ceremony is a meeting between the scrum master and the development team where everyone gets clear about the what, the why and the how of that particular cycle. 

The What – Every project will have a general product backlog, which is essentially a set of elements or features that must be delivered. The ceremony starts with the team selecting a number of tasks from the general backlog to create a sprint backlog, outlining the features that the team will develop during that period. 

The Why – Next, a sprint goal is set, which is essentially the purpose of that development cycle or the shippable value increment to be delivered by the end of the sprint. 

The How – Lastly, the team will collectively design a sprint plan, detailing how all the goals agreed on will be achieved.

2. Daily Scrum 

Open communication and intense collaboration are pillars of Agile, which is why we're rigorous about holding our daily Scrum meetings. This is when we gather to update the sprint backlog and make sure that everything is on track, identifying and solving any blockages that could prevent the team from achieving our set goal. 

3. Sprint Review

NaNLABS' clients know that by hiring our MVP development services they're guaranteed to get both early tangible results and custom-made solutions, according to their needs. And sprint reviews are essential to making that happen!

A sprint review takes place at the end of a sprint, and is a moment for the team to sit with the client to showcase the work completed, gather feedback, and adjust priorities. So the more thorough you are during these reviews, the sooner you'll arrive at the final version of an MVP. 

This is why, at NaNLABS, sprint reviews are not about presenting the client with a set of loose elements which will one day amount to their MVP. We make it a point to deliver working software at the end of every single sprint! At this stage, our software is already available for the client to test within a production-like environment and, as an early version of their MVP, it can also be presented to real users to gather early feedback.

Based on that feedback, the NaNLABS team continually refines all the elements of the MVP, until it's a perfect match to the client's vision and the user's expectations. 

4. Sprint Retrospective

A sprint retrospective is a meeting dedicated to reflecting on a sprint that has just finished with the goal of continuous improvement. At this moment, the entire team is invited to share their thoughts on how things went, and every comment is noted and valued. 

Our relentless commitment to excellence means that retrospective meetings are absolutely sacred for the NaNLABS team! This is an essential tool to help our clients achieve success faster, so we'll always dedicate time at the end of each sprint to answer questions like:  

  • What went well? Let's keep it going.

  • What went extraordinarily well? Let's share the knowledge and reapply it.

  • What didn’t go well? Let's work on a plan to improve it. 

  • What do we need to prepare for the next sprint? Let's draw our strategies for the new cycle.

Common reasons behind mid-project changes 

Carefully planning and scoping your MVP project helps you predict potential changes and issues, so you'll be prepared to swiftly address them in case they do show up. But not everything can be predicted, and even when you've been meticulous about planning, unforeseen circumstances could demand an adjustment in your MVP game plan once the ball is already rolling. 

Throughout the years we've found these to be the most common reasons why you might need to make changes in the middle of an MVP development project.

  • Feedback collected during reviews or usability tests with early users provided new insights on how the solution can provide more value.

  • New information provided by the client in relation to a change in their business goal or target audience.

  • Unforeseen limitations or integration issues or with legacy systems.

  • New code conventions or SEO, clean code, and scalability measures.

  • The team found a third party library with pre-made elements that can be used, eliminating the need to develop certain features. 

  • Knowledge acquired during previous sprints or through research showed that approaching the work in a different way would be beneficial.

What to consider before making mid-project changes 

One of the first things we mention within our guide to Agile software development is that this approach is designed to be flexible, so making certain adjustments along the way doesn't really need to be a problem. But before steering things in a new direction, it's important to consider the implications of making that move. 

Asking the following questions will help you reach a decision and minimize risks:

  • Is it a response to a real need and based on hard evidence, or does it stem from a preference or opinion?

  • Is the proposed change aligned with the project's overall goals? 

  • What impact will it have on the project's timeline? 

  • Will making this change affect the budget? 

  • Are the resources available to implement the change effectively?

Time to change: key strategies for smooth transitions

If after running through all those elements you're positive that a mid-project change is the way to go, then it's time to look at how to get it right. Next, we'll go over some of our tried and tested strategies to ensure that an MVP project keeps running smoothly even when going off the script. 

Establish a new game plan 

Even small changes can send an MVP project off the rails if you fail to properly adjust your original plan. Finding a balance between speed vs quality in MVP development can be challenging, so take time to reassess timelines with the team, redistribute tasks, and ensure that the shift doesn't compromise the quality of your outcomes. 

Prioritize your work 

If more than one significant change is required, make an assessment of each one to decide what will be done first. Mid-project adjustments should be prioritized based on their impact on the project's overall goals.

Focus on transparency and open communication 

Managing expectations and communicating openly will mitigate potential disruptions, and guarantee a smoother transition. This means that everyone involved in the project should be informed about changes and their implications, regardless of who or what brought it about. And don't be afraid to over communicate! Share all potential risks and limitations as early as possible, and keep both the team and the client involved and engaged through emails, video calls, daily meetings and reviews. 

Steer clear of mid-sprint changes

While many reasons can justify a mid-project course correction, as a team with extensive experience in both Agile and MVP development, we strongly advise against making mid-sprint changes. The Agile methodology comes with in-built feedback events, such as sprint reviews, which allow you to make adjustments without heavily impacting other elements of the project and disrupting your MVP development process. So, unless it's an update on your sprint backlog, once a sprint has started, do your best to stick with the plan and finish it. 

Check for scope creep

Stay alert and monitor your project for signs of scope creep! Making a couple of adjustments is normal, but if you feel like you're starting from scratch every other week, you might have a bigger problem. Constantly changing gears will not only throw the project's schedule out the window, but also make controlling your MVP costs nearly impossible. 

Key takeaways about making mid-project changes

When trying to build and launch a new product, adaptability is a virtue, as long as it doesn't derail into a lack of focus. Embrace flexibility, but be prudent to avoid compromising your MVP's core objectives. By adopting an Agile development approach you'll always have plenty of room to make adjustments along the way, so be sure to work with a team that's well-versed in the methodology. Effective planning, transparent communication, and an unwavering focus on continuous improvement are the wind in the sails of any successful MVP development project.

That sketch sitting in your library? It’s time to share it with the world. From idea to launch, we can design, architect and code your MVP vision into reality in 3 months or less.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mid-Project Changes in MVP Development

  • What is a sprint in Agile?

    A sprint in Agile methodology is a time-boxed iteration, usually lasting one to four weeks, where a development team completes a set of predefined tasks or user stories.

  • Should you make changes mid-sprint?

    While it's generally not advisable, there are scenarios where mid-sprint changes may be necessary. However, careful consideration and planning are crucial to minimize disruption.

  • What is the difference between a sprint review and a sprint retrospective?

    A sprint review is focused on showcasing deliverables to stakeholders and gathering feedback, while a sprint retrospective is a reflective session where the team evaluates their performance and identifies areas for improvement.

  • Is MVP Agile or Scrum?

    MVPs are considered Agile since the concept was first introduced within the Agile methodology.

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