What is MVP in Software Development for Startups
Using a minimum viable product (MVP) to test a business model is probably the most popular startup launch scheme. World-famous Uber, Dropbox, Figma and Slack started their way to unicon status with MVPs.
For as long as there have been products and people — or teams — making them, companies have struggled with issues like productivity, efficiency, performance and competition.
Today, every startup company in existence needs to deal with finding the right problem to solve and the right market to sell it. And they need to do it fast and well. Up to nearly a decade ago, they would do it with heavy product management, following a top-down — or waterfall — approach.
Things changed with the introduction of Lean Startup. These types of goals are much better served using an MVP approach.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
"Minimum viable product" is a term coined by Frank Robinson and popularized by Eric Ries, founder of the Lean Startup methodology. According to Ries, an MVP is the version of a new product that allows the team to gather the maximum amount of proven customer knowledge with the least amount of effort.
When talking about mobile and web app development, MVP means an initial version of an app that goes public and has enough potential to secure investors’ buy-in and/or start generating revenue. How do you know if your app is an MVP?
- You have built it with the least amount of resources
- You have found yourself on the market faster
- You keep thinking about all the features you had to cut
Today, with thousands of apps released per month (around 500 apps per day on iOS and 3,000 on Android), the focus has shifted to viable. Because the initial impression is everything, you can’t ignore how your app looks in a mobile store and how smooth of a user experience it provides.
As the startup community evolves, the term "MVP" takes on new shapes and definitions.
Some define an MVP as "the first version of a product," others as "a stripped-down version of a product," while others deny the idea of an MVP altogether and develop "a full-scale but simple product.”
Then again, some would say you can design an MVP by talking to customers and running surveys to collect their feedback. One thing they miss with this approach is the product. There’s no product when all you have is customer feedback on an imaginary solution.
It happens due to increased customer expectations based on the proliferation and adaptation of complex technologies and technology-based products.
So what questions have the startup market prepared to answer?
Benefits of Building a Minimum Viable Product
By developing MVP at the early stage of your project, you definitely reap the benefits:
Shorter Time to Market. While your competitors are only struggling to figure out the meaning of MVP, you can already go to market with your product to outpace your rivals. This step provides you with a substantial competitive advantage that will eventually define the project’s success.
Get a Chance to Test your Product Idea. After the first customers use your product, you can encourage them to give feedback and develop extra features to meet their specific needs.
Enrich Your Client Base. In case your app is successful, early adopters of your product become your clients and promote your software to other users through word-of-mouth advertising.
Cost-Efficiency. MVP in software is highly beneficial as it performs an important cost-cutting function. Before an official product release, you can launch an MVP to define what features are the most essential to your target audience and avoid wasting money on the development of unnecessary elements.
Conduct Market Research. With MVP, you are always updated on all the market trends. It keeps you in the know regarding customers’ wants and needs so that you can develop a product that perfectly matches your audience.
Attract Investors. MVP is a great way to attract investors to your project. Provide them with functional product which they can “touch”, test and let them evaluate your idea. Thus, you can quickly gain trust and attract more interested entrepreneurs to your project.
Tips to Launch Successful Minimum Viable Product
Think through how you are going to gather user feedback
Available options include Google Analytics, mobile analytics, built-in support platforms like UserVoice, and user review monitoring services like AppFollow. These vary depending on the type of app you’re building from healthcare app development to fintech app development.
Treat your MVP like a finished product all the way to the App Store/Google Play
Every little detail in the app description should be perfected to make customers want to download your app.
Avoid using brand-new technologies
You need to choose your tech stack carefully to avoid re-developing your solution from scratch later on because it can’t scale or doesn’t work with other platforms.
Consider releasing your MVP for a small target market group of customers
This approach will help you increase the probability of creating greater traction upon the public release.
Include a sound monetization strategy
Some app owners believe that since it’s an MVP, you can’t charge for it. Quite the opposite, the commercial success of your MVP will be one of the key parameters to judge its success, making an app monetization strategy of key importance.
Hire a dev team that practices a lean startup methodology
Teams using Scrum, Kanban, or other flavors of Agile deliver faster and catch most of the issues even before testing begins.
If you want more advice on minimum viable product development or want us to assess what you already have to find the best way forward, schedule a free consultation. We’ll be happy to help you plan a minimum viable product and talk you into going with a minimum delightful product.
Contact us for more detail!