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It's the challenge every agency, consultant, and independent professional faces: to win new work, how much can you go into specifics about past projects when you've signed a tight non-disclosure agreement (NDA)?
Letting new clients review your portfolio is the typical approach to getting their business, but for safety's sake, you can't always tell them:
You end up speaking in abstractions about the technology involved:
"I did a large scale project for a traditional company in the United States that processes millions of dollars in transactions, who needed a proprietary ERP integrated with WooCommerce".
That's not saying much.
Software integration projects in competitive industries are particularly difficult to share for this reason, especially when it comes to the cut-throat world of eCommerce, where companies guard their edge fiercly.
An alternative way to mitigate risk is an "MVD": a working "minimum viable demo".
For new clients who are on the fence about whether a programmer can do what they promise, it's a working demonstration: something you can see and interact with as proof the programmer has understood your problem and encapsulated an appropriate solution.
An MVD is effectively the ideal portfolio piece, because it is a 1:1 match for the client's target technologies, problems, and solution options.
A "Minimum Viable Demo" comes after the initial discovery call, when your programmer has a handle on what needs to be built and why.
It's not a finished "Version 0.9" or an "MVP" (minimum viable product).
Instead, expect that an MVD:
Keep the above points in mind about what to expect (and NOT to expect) from an MVD.
That way, when evaluating whether your programmer can get your larger project done well, you can ask yourself these questions:
An MVD is not an MVP: it's just a demo, meant to instill confidence that your programmer can get the job done, or conversely to invalidate that assumption and let you both move quickly to other opportunities.
If done well, an MVD can substitute for a similar-looking portfolio piece, because the MVD is even more closely matched to what you and your client need, and therefore it's a solid way to mitigate much of the risk that comes from working with unfamiliar developers.
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