Delay The MVP

  • by Amando Abreu
  • on 29 July 2023

The Benefits of Manual Processes in the Early Stages of a Start-up

Starting a new venture is an exhilarating process. As entrepreneurs, we are often told that building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is the first step to validate our ideas. However, I’d like to challenge that notion and present an alternative approach - delaying the MVP and beginning with manual processes. Here’s why:

1. Understanding the Process Better

When starting a new project or company, it’s natural to feel the urgency to develop and launch an MVP. This tech-savvy approach, however, may not always be the best one. Delaying the MVP and instead performing tasks manually can lead to a better understanding of the processes involved.

By diving deep into the problem you’re solving, you can identify nuances that might not be apparent in an abstract discussion or a surface-level analysis. This approach offers firsthand experience of the customer’s journey, revealing hidden obstacles and unique opportunities for improvement.

2. Cost-Efficiency

Building an MVP requires significant investment in time, money, and resources. Depending on the complexity, development costs can be substantial. Contrast this with a manual process that might only require a Virtual Assistant (VA) or a small team, and the cost savings become apparent.

Manual processes can be adjusted and iterated upon without the need for costly and time-consuming code changes. What takes a team of developers weeks to modify might only take a day or two to change manually.

3. Flexibility and Adaptation

Being able to pivot and adapt to new information is essential in the fast-paced world of startups. The flexibility afforded by a manual approach allows you to make changes on the fly, based on customer feedback or new insights.

Automated systems often require a rigid structure that doesn’t easily allow for rapid experimentation. Manual processes, on the other hand, are inherently more adaptable, allowing you to try different approaches and learn from them in real time.

4. From Manual to Automated

Starting with manual processes doesn’t mean staying manual forever. As you refine and perfect the processes, understanding them more deeply, the transition to an automated system becomes clearer. This can lead to a more robust and well-considered MVP, as you’re building on a foundation of real-world experience and insights.

5. The Human Touch

Sometimes, the manual approach offers a level of personalization and human touch that an automated system can’t replicate. Especially in the early stages, building relationships with your first customers can be crucial, and a manual approach often facilitates more human interaction.


While building an MVP is often seen as the quintessential step in launching a new product or service, it’s worth considering the benefits of starting with manual processes. The hands-on experience, cost-efficiency, adaptability, and valuable insights gained through manual handling can lead to a more refined and successful MVP later on.

It’s a lesson in patience and prudence, emphasizing learning and adaptability over speed. By embracing a manual approach initially, you may find that your eventual transition to automation is smoother, more cost-effective, and more aligned with the real needs and wants of your customers.

So next time you feel the rush to build an MVP, take a moment to consider if a manual approach might be a wiser first step. It might just be the key to unlocking deeper insights and long-term success for your venture.

I offer fractional CTO services for businesses like yours. I can even work alongside your current CTO, and transfer key knowledge onto your existing team. If you have hard problems you want to tackle but feel your organization lacks the perspective to tackle fully, get in touch! I guarantee to ask very hard questions that lead to solving hard problems.

About the author

Amando Abreu is a serial entrepreneur, Fractional CTO, and engineer who has been involved in several startups and launched dozens of products. He has worked with companies such as trivago, Portugal Telecom, and Vizrt. He has experience in several industries, most notably e-commerce, SaaS, media, travel, insurance, property development, and construction.
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