A minimum viable product (MVP) is, in fact, the first version of a product. It should be usable and have just enough features to be estimated by first users. The feedback that you are going to get will directly influence future development. An MVP is one of the main concepts in Agile methodology, so it will be easy to build an MVP in an Agile team.
There are a lot of reasons to create an MVP, but its main purpose is to help you realize how to make a successful product. So, here is a guide on how to create an MVP. Read our simple recommendations to ensure that you are on the right path with your project.
Key Advantages of MVP
1. Getting Feedback From Your Clients
The feedback defines whether your product is successful or not. So, the ability to receive first feedback without investing a huge amount of money in the ready product is a great advantage. Also, user feedback shows you the real market needs and how you should develop your product further.
2. The Opportunity to either Deny or Confirm Your Idea
When you have invested all the resources in launching the full version of your product, you no longer have the ability to turn back. By building an MVP, you won’t have to waste a lot of time and money to figure out if your product is in demand or not. In the second case, you can painlessly discard an unprofitable idea and pivot to move on with a new one.
3. It Requires Minimal Time
The creation of MVP requires much less effort, so it can be launched quickly. This will give you an advantage over your competitors as the modern market changes very quickly.
4. Reduces Financial Risks
The creation of MVP requires minimal resources, so, in the case of failure, you won’t have to waste a fortune for building a new product from scratch.
5. Attract Investors
An MVP is your chance to prove to investors that your product is worthy of investment. If you present them the first version of a product that already has first clients, there is a great chance it can get a generous investment.
Developing a Minimum Viable Product: Step-By-Step Guide
The present MVP phases will help you develop a quality minimum viable product.
Step 1. Define the Problem That Your Product Is Going to Solve
Defining the problem is one of the most important steps in the MVP development process.
Even if you have a marvelous idea for your product, there are no guarantees that it is going to be useful for the users. In order to avoid this, you need to define the problem that your product will solve. For this, you will have to find the answer to the question “How can it help the users?”. That is how you can build an MVP that has a clear aim.
You can do it based on your own needs and problems, but this will be pretty subjective. So, you can try to ask a wider audience if they have a problem that potentially could be solved by a special app. Then, ask yourself if you could create such an app. This way, you will know if your idea is viable or you should try another one.
Step 2. Perform Market Research and Find Your Target Audience
It’s impossible to encourage everyone to use your software. Plus, you will waste a lot of time trying to grab a large audience from the start. Instead, it’s better to focus on making your product specialist for a certain audience.
As you know the problem that your future product is able to solve, think about the age, profession, demographics, interests, goals, and other aspects of your potential clients’ life. These details will help you understand your customers better. Use this knowledge to create a product that will meet your clients’ expectations.
Nevertheless, there is a great chance that the market is already filled with many similar products. Skipping this stage believing that your product is unique will be a mistake. Your startup may fail from the very beginning because many of your potential customers already use a similar app and are fully satisfied with it.
So, you need to analyze your competitors to find out what you can do better than they do. Start with using such services as SimilarWeb, SpyFu, etc. Reading the user’s reviews of your competitors’ products is also a good way of spotting their weak sides.
Step 3. Define the Core Features
As a result of this step, you should have a list of features that bring more advantages for the users. For MVP, it will be enough to have only a few such features. Don’t try to create a complex app: you are not sure yet what the market requires. Instead, take your time for defining and prioritizing the main features.
Uber app is a great example of the MVP with minimum key features. It was firstly launched in 2010, performing only one function (allowing the users to contact the drivers). When it was clear that this version of the app had succeeded, it received the upgrades.
The primary functions should be based on the users’ problems that you are going to solve. After you define them, it’s recommended to sort them by importance. This way, you will know which functions are essential, which ones would be nice to add, and which ones are added.
All these MVP stages will help you create a buyer persona. According to HubSpot, it’s “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”.
Step 4. Create a Prototype
As you have defined your target audience and the core features of your product, you have everything to create a prototype. At this stage, you shouldn’t strive for perfection. The prototype should just let you realize how your future product will look like, it’s not yet an MVP and can’t be introduced to the market. This is just another step for the creation of an MVP application.
The prototype’s main purpose is to help your future customers and investors understand your product. You can test your prototype among the potential users that are interested in the success of your product.
They can be your colleagues, relatives, friends, or people who are searching for a solution to their problem that you are ready to provide. A good idea is to use social networks to attract potential users to test the prototype.
This phase of the MVP development process can help you understand if you should continue with your project or not. You may decide to finish with this idea and do new research.
Step 5. Build an MVP
At this stage, you can start the development process and implement the core features of your future product. For example, you can build a simple MVP website and use Google Analytics to see how many users it attracts and how they interact with it. There are several ways to do so:
Hire a Freelancer or a Freelancing Team
It’s the quickest way to find skilled professionals. It will also allow you to reduce an MVP cost, so this is your way to go if you have minimal resources.
Hire In-House Developers
This is a more expensive way, but it will give you full control over the development and you can monitor the process daily. However, it may be a problem to find local developers that will be both interested in your startup and satisfied with the salary.
Resort to an MVP Development Company
This is probably the best way of MVP development if you want to be exactly sure of its quality. Such companies have broad experience in MVP creation and know the best methods and approaches that can guarantee success.
If the users will like your MVP with all its imperfections, they will probably appreciate the full version of your product even more.
Step 6. Gather and Estimate the Feedback
Find an audience that matches your buyer persona to test your MVP and gather feedback from them. As result, you should be able to answer such questions:
- Is your product really worthy of investment?
- Is there a demand for your product on the market?
- Do you see the future development of your product?
Don’t be afraid of negativity that may be thrown at your MVP: at this stage, it should be criticized. This doesn’t mean that your product is bad. The worst thing that can happen to your MVP is the absence of any feedback.
Pay main attention to the financial aspects of the MVP implementation (like the average revenue per user). This will allow you to estimate the profitability of your future product.
Step 7. Improve Your MVP
At this stage, you will need to use the information you received from your first users in the right way. Focus on improving those features that your users like and get rid of those functions that didn’t receive any feedback.
This will allow you to launch a successful final product. However, in case if your users didn’t like your MVP or most of its features, you will have to change your development strategy or do new research.
Now as you know how to build a minimum viable product, you should make sure that it gives you the opportunity to define whether the product solves the users’ problems, see if it can be successful, etc.
So, as you can see, building an MVP is most likely a good idea for any business. It will help you ensure that your product is aligned with the market’s needs. Just remember that the MVP should be launched quickly and its main intention is to let you know what the consumer wants.