API coders are trained to habitually create APIs that gives superior Developer Experience. For a long time now, DX has been the first thing to prioritize. While DX is crucial for the success of APIs in the immediate term, the continuous success still is a function of Customer Experience. APIs have been traditionally associated with technology and implementation. A set of requirements is provided to the Engineering Team and the developers promptly hack and deliver. The effectiveness of the API is never really validated till the API is completely built and used. Unfortunately, the validation that comes that late in the process does not give much time to respond and might discourage users from using the APIs. Continuous adoption of the APIs then becomes a big concern. Like any other technical defect, the cost of fixing a non-performing API after implementation is high. Now, are customers going to wait for all this to be set right or are they going to look out for options for they have to keep their agenda running? Most certainly, the latter.
This is why there is a need to create a Minimum Viable API Product like regular products to keep the interest high and get an early feedback. But it is easy to commit the most basic mistake; create an MVP API, that is an output of balancing the efforts required and the efforts available and thus pushing the usability to back seat.
As a consequence, an MVP API Product doesn’t deliver enough to solve any customer problems. It fails in creating interest to adopt and doesn’t demonstrate any future value to its customers. Building a Minimum Viable API Product is no less than an art. There is a need to validate your MVP. The ability to create MVP for an API Product is radically different from a regular Product, as one need to create value not only for their customers, but also for their customers’ customers.
With this thought, it is becoming quite obvious that MVP for an API Product needs collaboration with different partakers. The product is no longer a direct and only reflection of the product manager’s mind. The probability of delivering the right MVP without a validation is dangerously low. The stakes are so high, and the time is so less.
Lean API Product development can save your day. Collaborate, Design, Mock and Validate iteratively to create a value generating API Product. The success of an API Product is in its design. Engaging with your customers and partners earlier in the life cycle will garner some emotional commitment and an associative ownership from them. Obtaining a testimony, validating the effectiveness of the API can secure internal funds to expand the MVP.
Validate your API Design early: ensure your Minimum Viable API Product is on point.