4 Practical Steps for Using No-code to Evolve Your Prototype to an MVP

February 28, 2023

The age-old adage of “doing more with less” is particularly critical advice for both startups and enterprises right now.

Venture funding has hit its lowest point in two years, which means startups must now focus on making hard decisions about how to utilize their limited budgets. Enterprises are likewise tightening their belts as customers feel the impact of inflation and prepare for an uncertain economy. What’s more, we are facing a global talent shortage that further puts pressure on an already constrained software developer pool.

No-code development tools could not have come at a better time. By democratizing the ability to develop software through visual, drag-and-drop tools, no-code enables a range of non-developers to start building software.

For a startup, this might mean the founder now can build their first minimum viable product (MVP) release themselves while bootstrapping the team. For enterprises, teams can build their own apps without having to depend upon the IT department.

How does one go about evolving a prototype into an MVP using no-code? Here are four practical steps you can take:

Embrace an everyday delivery approach

Traditional Agile methodologies for custom development have popularized breaking down larger releases into smaller releases that add features.

Depending on the flavor of Agile employed, how long each release will take to be ready will vary. The Scrum version of Agile typically defines shorter “sprints” of two to three weeks. However, not all builds developed in these sprints may be ready for release to end users, who will have to wait until the next full release is complete.

No-code is different: It enables delivery of features with small, quick, continual updates — what we will refer to as “everyday delivery.” This builds on concepts from Agile but does not force you into a strictly defined release duration. Instead, with no-code you can rapidly and continuously add features to the prototype and evolve it toward your MVP and release features when they are ready via smaller, incremental updates (perhaps daily).

One way to do this is through the Kanban Method, which is optimally suited for no-code development. Kanban embraces a continuous “push” delivery model, where teams release features as soon as they are ready, compared to Scrum, which organizes work in sprints and defined release trains.

When used together, Kanban and no-code let you update the prototype and release updates faster and more often, gather feedback from your stakeholders and end users, and respond quicker. Kanban can also be easier for non-developers to adopt — they can use it on top of existing workflows, systems and processes without disrupting what is already in place. Finally, Kanban also minimizes the need for development experience and specialist roles (e.g., Scrum master or product owner), which makes it easier and faster to adopt for non-developers.

Proper scoping and decomposition

The next step is to properly scope and decompose work items in your MVP release. Ideally, the MVP release is focused on as small a scope as possible – resist the temptation to finish off everything in the prototype and try to completely deliver all the promised features in this initial release. It’s important to get the first release of software quickly in front of actual users and begin learning about how they use the product and validate its business value.   

As an example, think about a typical sales process used within an enterprise.  This is likely too broad a process scope for MVP, so instead take inventory of possible sales business processes defined in the prototype, and further decompose them as much as possible into smaller sub-processes (such as Lead Management, Opportunity Management, Enterprise Sales Forecasting, Enterprise Sales Workflow, Territory Management, Sales Collaboration, Performance Management, etc). This will help you with the triage and prioritization of scope for MVP. Process decomposition to focus on a single sub-process — say Territory Management — will also help immensely with overall management using the Kanban Method as you will have finer grain control and visibility over the work as it flows through the team. This also provides more flexibility in choosing when to release. Having granular updates also allows for releases to be pushed frequently and continuously to users and stakeholders for validation, and are typically easier to consume by users to lessen the change management impact.  

Carefully manage and decouple dependencies

A closely related step is ensuring that you minimize the dependencies between work items. It’s hard to maintain a high velocity of the Everyday Delivery approach if the scope of your features is large and has many cross dependencies on other features. Your work on decomposing larger feature requests into the smallest use case possible is essential to help reduce dependencies and increase flexibility in being able to quickly and incrementally release value to end users. 

If you are not the only one who develops the application, you should consider dependencies on other components or related features being developed by other developers or other teams. For example, suppose your Territory Management feature is ready for delivery, but is coupled with other remaining features in the overall sales process that are not done yet. In that case, the team needs to find a way to separate incomplete features (so that they can be delivered in the future) and focus on deploying the completed ones. Decomposition of each update into smaller and more loosely coupled use cases helps with conflict management; smaller but more frequent updates will reduce conflict resolution issues across teams. 

Invest in continuous deployment automation 

The final step is around investing in automation. You should take advantage of the power of no-code tools and no-code release and deployment automation, which accelerates delivering value to users. Most no-code platforms build on Continuous Deployment approaches as part of their automation, to allow for more rapidly moving no-code applications through environments. When an operator needs to move a no-code app to production, this usually involves nothing more than approval and a click of a button. (In the background, changelogs and release notes will indicate what changes exist in each environment.) This allows moving no-code features quickly and seamlessly across environments in an “on-demand” fashion. This accelerates activity and reduces much of the complexity and error-prone manual activities that can make releases challenging. 

One often overlooked example of deployment automation is around a fast rollback ability, in case you find that a change is not working as expected. This allows you to undo a problematic set of updates so that users can continue using the application as it was previously. At the same time, you can troubleshoot and correct whatever problem was introduced.  Rollback can typically be addressed either by the deployment automation in the no-code platform (if it can undo or reverse deployments), or possibly through a dedicated staging environment (mirroring the last production environment, before a change is released). This increases confidence to move quickly in an Everyday Delivery approach, knowing that you can always return to an earlier configuration if needed. 


The American author, humorist and entrepreneur Mark Twain famously once said “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” In moving from Prototype to MVP, it’s often tempting to focus on achieving perfection — but that is an unachievable goal. Instead of getting caught up trying to design the perfect and complete MVP release all at once, embrace the power of no-code and Everyday Delivery to deliver value as quickly as possible and continuously improve the Prototype based upon the user and real-world feedback. This is a huge reason why both startups and enterprises alike are joining the no-code movement, which allows for significant increase in speed to value, reduced dependencies on scarce technical development talent, and a greater focus on what matters for achieving business advantage – releasing an MVP app to users as quickly as possible.   

The article first appeared in TechCrunch.

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