If you’re a non-technology founder asking a software agency to build your MVP, there’s about a million ways this can go wrong, but the one we’re looking at today is this fundamental mismatch.

Software agencies cannot properly support clients who are operating in “experimentation mode”.

Startups are ONLY operating in experimentation mode. You have to be in this mode in order to find product-market fit.

Software agencies though in order to quote you on a project need a very clear picture of where you are trying to get to. After all, they are quoting you on a fixed piece of work. “You give us $X, and we’ll give you this thing you’ve designed…”

There is no reason way to square this one. It’s a baseline philosophical difference, and one of the reasons, I think, why founders dial back MVPs from being marketable products to proof of concepts and prototypes.

You can find agencies that work in a way to support founders that are experimenting, but you have to be VERY CLEAR that both parties in that engagement know what that means, practically.