What is a Minimal Viable Product?
An MVP is a product that has enough features to attract early-adopter customers and validate a product idea. The MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. Building an MVP means creating the most basic version of the startup idea as quickly as possible. This way, organizations can test the assumptions and optimize the idea for product/market fit based on user feedback from the early adopters.
The most significant difference between an MVP and a prototype is that the MVP is the first version of the actual product idea (with limited features), while a prototype is just the first draft of the proof of concept and is usually discarded after testing.
Purpose of an MVP
The purpose of building an MVP is to launch a product quickly, based on an established idea, with a small budget. MVP development solutions allow businesses to collect users’ feedback for the primary product and include it in future iterations. MVP is the best way to find the right audience, pull ideas based on experience, and save time.
However, there are more reasons that an organization must build a Minimum Viable Product:
- Creating an initial model that provides a starting point for discussions and offers clear visual points of reference.
- Conducting initial idea approval includes sharing the model with a few prospects and testing it with genuine users. This helps in understanding the issues that may become apparent with the product.
MVP For Startups - Why it is a Great Idea to build?
Today’s business era demands faster delivery of the product within a limited budget, ensuring the prerequisites for a successful product development process. Here are the MVP benefits that should be targeted below facts.
1. Validate/Verify Market Demand
Having customer data and market demand helps in ensuring that the created features are more than enough to satisfy the users’ needs. An MVP confirms whether the product will be the right fit for the targeted audience. It provides a glimpse for the customers of the unique capabilities of the product.
2. App Concepts and Features
Before the product is given to the consumer, it should be completely tested using all the test parameters. Before launching the app, it is vital to conceptualize the features and uses of the respected product.
3. Usability and User Experience
The sooner the product reaches the customers, the quicker it will be able to obtain their opinions. MVP is known for ascertaining the needs of the customers.
4. Win Over Investors
Releasing an early version of the product to market offers an opportunity to acquire an initial customer base. An early adopter can, later, become the brand ambassador, spreading good word about the product and building a network of potentially highly engaged users.
5. Make Wise Investments
With MVP distribution, it can easily find out which market trends can lead the product. It will help to position the product in the market appropriately.
6. Find a Way to Monetize
Investing in a project without considering its risks can result in failure. However, MVP development can help to save resources.
Challenges During forming an MVP
Entrepreneurs face several challenges when building MVP for startup ideas they have. It is important to discuss these challenges so that they can learn to avoid them when they decide to build others. Listed below are three of the most common challenges startup founders face when creating their MVP.
1. Failure to Identify the Right Audience for the MVP
One of the most vital challenges many startups come up against is product/market fit. The idea seems cool in theory, but it does not mean it will be successful in practice. To attract users for the MVP, it needs to constantly test the target audiences. Also need to research the audience’s preference when it comes to product development.
2. Experts and Skilled Team
Depending on the nature of the project and the product being developed, the MVP team typically includes people skilled in a variety of key roles such as frontend, backend, visual designer and many more. The purpose of the team is to create the MVP quickly and get it to users for feedback. The construction of the MVP will incorporate any lessons learned from previous feedback and discussion.
3. Identifying the Primary Features
Stacking the app with many features is great to create an impression. However, it takes more time, effort, and investment. An MVP is more like the skeleton of the product with the most integral parts and features included to evaluate the product. Identifying the few features and the significant ones is a challenging and complex task for MVP.
4. Choosing Technology Stack
Making a viable MVP while leveraging and selecting proper technology is a critical issue to consider. Assume that instead of baking powder, we use bleaching powder to make a cake. The MVP also requires such ingredients and inputs. Using the wrong elements and inputs will not only make it work all over again, but even then, it may not be appropriate.
5. Incompatible Project Management Methodology
Another challenge many startups face due to cost and skill set is collaborating with others on building the MVP. For tech startups the two most popular project management methodologies are Waterfall and Agile. The Waterfall management model consists of a strictly defined sequence of Software Development. The Agile model is the opposite of a Waterfall. This means changes can be made instantly based on feedback. Constant iterations will speed up product development.
How to Build MVP
1) Start with Market Research
At times, ideas will not fit the market needs. Before a business initiates an idea and embarks upon an MVP Development process, it should ensure that it fulfills the target users’ needs. Any business would gain by conducting surveys. The more information a business has, the higher the chances of success. Also, remember to keep an eye on what the competitors offer and how the product idea can stand out.
Step 2: Ideate on Value Addition
- What value does the new product offer its users?
- How can it benefit them?
- Why would they buy the product?
The answers to these questions can help define the app’s value proposition. It should also be clear what the essential estimations are for the product. As MVP implies, the product must introduce value to the people in its most basic state. Begin by outlining the users and build the MVP based on their needs.
Step 3: Map Out User Flow
The design process is a vital MVP stage. Hence, it is a must to design the app in a way that is convenient for users. The business needs to look at the app from the users’ perspective, starting from opening the app to the final process, such as making a purchase or delivery.
Step 4: Prioritize MVP Features
At this stage, prioritize all the features that the MVP will support. To prioritize the MVP features, categorize all the MVP features based on high priority, medium priority, and low priority. Another essential step is to arrange these features in the product backlog.
Step 5: Build, Measure & Learn
Everything is part of a process: first, define the scope of work, then move the product to the development stage. After the product development phase, the product must be tested. The first testing stage is carried out by Quality Assurance engineers who work to improve the product’s quality (even if the product is not yet released).
After launching the MVP, go over everything again. The organizations must get feedback from its clients on the release. They can determine the acceptance and competitiveness of their goods in the market based on their comments.
How to Measure the Success of the Minimum Viable Product?
There are several approaches to measure the success of the MVP.
- Social proof – The traffic on the product tells that how it works.
- Engagement rate – With a good engagement rate the current and future value of the product can be measured easily.
- Users Percentage – The number of downloads and launch rates also help to study the behavior of the users.
- Customers Acquisition costs (CAC) – Check if the costs of acquiring paying customers match the marketing efforts.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – The amount of time a user spends on the software product before uninstalling or discontinuing it.
There are also vital points to consider as the reasons why some MVPs fail
Before starting the MVP development, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of all the hidden pitfalls.
- Misplaced Priorities – If the goals are not clearly defined, it won’t be possible to focus on the problem and the solution. It increases the chance of MVP failure.
- Features Overload – MVP are all about keeping minimum viable features. In case the load of MVP with excess features, it can result in poor UX and may annoy the customer’s experience.
- Delayed Launch – Waiting for the right time to launch the MVP, can create a bid time loss for the product. It would also lose its value in the market.
- Minimal of User Feedback – Learn from the users’ feedback. Take note of their needs and pain points. It can help to develop the product in more efficient ways.
Minimum Viable Product Examples
Many startups fail because entrepreneurs assume that their fully developed product is fit to meet the market demands. Once it is launched and the assumptions are wrong, businesses never get off the ground. For these reasons, any venture should test their ideas to analyze the reaction of the users by creating minimum viable products.
The founders used their market knowledge and noticed a technology shift. So, they built an MVP for online streaming and rolled it for their already established customers. Netflix iterated and improved the MVP to become one of the top content streaming and production companies. Now users can watch limitless movies and series from anywhere provided there is an internet connection.
LinkedIn is a barebone product consisting of only a website with user profiles and email invites connecting the knowns. The product was iterated based on user feedback received. The features included uploading an address book for bulk invitations and colleague endorsements. Following this the growth of LinkedIn accelerated.
Spotify started as an MVP product when its founders identified an opportunity to provide music lovers with a product to stream songs. The successful MVP led to the development team building mobile apps, various artist engagements, and the solution was extended. Today, Spotify has more than 138 million premium subscribers worldwide.
An MVP by the name of ‘Uber Cab’ and introduced it to iPhone users. On other mobile devices, the service was available via SMS. The app proved successful, and the founders understood that the ride-sharing app had a good market. The application was further iterated, and the functionality was expanded like – GPS, ratings, and reviews, ridesharing, multiple destinations, calendar shortcuts, real-time tracking, and much more. The data from the app further helped Uber to scale and swiftly become the number 1 ride-sharing service worldwide.
MVP isn’t about making a perfect and versatile product for all case scenarios. It’s about making a working product with a minimum set of valuable features that will allow it to enter the market before the competitors. An MVP is the most widely accepted option when it comes to testing a product idea as quickly as possible. Once the creation of the MVP is done, driving traffic to it and asking for feedback is the next logical step.
XDuce is always available to assist clients with their MVP needs. We have a well-versed staff to advise our clients to the best of our ability.