How to Build an In-demand Minimum Viable Product
No business wants to invest in a product only to find no market. For well-known brands like Dropbox, Figma, Uber, etc., developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a well-liked launch strategy that has been highly successful. Making an MVP first is preferable to hastily coding the next big thing.
You should first build a minimum viable product to understand what the customers want from your finished product most. MVP is less expensive than a complete solution, allowing you to conduct market research with the least amount of money and time spent. A step-by-step process for creating MVPs is provided here.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
A minimally viable product, or an MVP, is a ready-to-launch version of the product that supports the essential features that define its value proposition. It is designed to facilitate a quicker time to market, lure early adopters, and achieve product-market fit from the start.
The MVP concept is viewed as an amalgamation of the "minimum essentials" — something with the essential features to satiate the initial customers.
An MVP is not only the "minimum" functionality you should develop. For it to be "viable," an MVP must also be reliable, usable, and sensitive to the user's needs (empathetic design). This creates the framework for gathering user feedback to enhance the next iteration and determine the product's viability.
Difference Between MVP and Prototype
MVP and prototyping are product development techniques intended to test hypotheses. However, there is a fundamental distinction between them. A minimum viable product (MVP) comes after prototype development. An MVP is a functional product, whereas a prototype is just a visual representation of the product. When there is a part of the system that you don't fully understand or when you have concerns about feasibility, you need to develop a prototype.
Differences Between MVP and MLP
An MLP is an acronym for a minimum loveable product. The product must be viable and lovable, a level above an MVP. This means that the functionality must do more than just address issues; it must also provide an excellent user experience and arouse users' emotions.
Benefits of Minimum Viable Product
You'd be surprised how many founders' journeys end before even one user can use their product. This circumstance happens frequently. To succeed, it is crucial to complete the MVP development process. Let's find out what advantages you receive:
Get Investors' Attention
Your concept is displayed in the MVP. Instead of talking for hours about your idea, you can use it to demonstrate it. Additionally, your chances of receiving investments significantly increase if you convince customers to use and value the product.
Create a product that people need
A common occurrence is for founders to have an idealized vision of the final product and to adhere to it. This image needs to be adaptable to create a product for people. You can implement only the most crucial features and eliminate everything else with an MVP and valuable user feedback.
A better understanding of the target market
When you build an MVP solution, you delve more deeply into the issue, market, and industry. Your domain knowledge improves, and you become more aware of white space opportunities. You will miss it if you jump into making a finished product right away.
With an MVP, you have room to grow. First, you can reasonably and gently integrate new technologies as they emerge. Second, adding new features is much simpler than removing unneeded ones. MVP solution keeps the product concept adaptable to the most recent changes.
Mistakes to Avoid when Developing an MVP
Now that we've established the advantages of developing an MVP for your company, let's examine some of the most typical errors made by founders, executives, and CTOs to ensure you don't make the same ones.
1. Inefficient product strategy
Consider your product strategy to be the company's heart. The system is designed to turn the resources you have used into noticeable results. If your engine is inefficient, you won't be able to travel very far.
A weak product strategy is even riskier than running out of money, which many entrepreneurs consider their biggest concern.
What are signs that your product strategy is weak?
a) Your sales and marketing strategies need to be revised.
What will your next step be after you finish your MVP? Who is the target market you want it to reach? Which channels do you plan to use?
Your product strategy is only adequate if you respond to these queries.
b) You are unsure of what makes you unique
Whatever obstacles you encounter, you need to understand what will set your product apart from the competition, whether you're attempting to fill a market gap that hasn't been filled before or you're up against many well-established players.
2. Overkill of features
It takes a lot of climbing to be successful commercially with your product. You can use various technologies and different target audiences to achieve your business goal, just like numerous trails lead to the peak.
Feature overload directly translates into when creating an MVP:
- Delaying the delivery of your product's initial version.
- Reworking product modules that did not deliver value to your clients.
- Not reaching your goals and running out of money faster.
How do you know if your MVP has too many features?
a) The MVP development took longer than three months.
A reasonable timeframe for completing one is between two and three months. Give your schedule another look if the estimate you've received from your development team is longer than this window of time.
b) Your MVP has too many large tasks
In a medium-grained estimation, the workload for an average task typically ranges from 2 to 4 days. You should break down your estimates if more than three items in your spreadsheet take longer than 6–10 days to complete. The ideal circumstances for feature overload are large, complex tasks without granularity.
What can I do to make my MVP more svelte?
You need to prioritize your features, is the simple response. Instead of attempting to make your MVP perfect, concentrate on the essential elements.
3. Overengineered MVP
Scalability is a goal for every new business. However, striving for design perfection and developing features that perform at their best from the start at the expense of usefulness and functionality is not a viable strategy.
Trying to build every feature from scratch while your product is still in the MVP stage is excessive and wasteful. You will only spend too much and get too little if you try to create everything from scratch without using existing libraries.
What are the signs that your MVP is over-engineered?
a) You don't have any technical debt.
You could stress the product infrastructure when you rush to complete functionalities and release your MVP. When developing a lean MVP, it's often best to incur technical debt in a conscious and manageable manner, even though the idea might initially seem frightening—knowing the underlying process and precisely which components will require revision.
b) There is no room for negotiation with the software vendor's offer.
Your MVP should be built in various ways if you've hired a software development company. As the founder, you must have complete control over which features you choose to use and which are superfluous.
4. Too much feedback
When your business starts, having a lot of feedback may seem like a blessing, but you have to be selective about who you get it from and what you use as your MVP.
How do you know when you're trying to absorb too much criticism?
Your design has changed frequently, even after the sign-off.
Even though making necessary changes to your product while still developing isn't always a bad idea, doing so frequently will significantly slow down your progress. It might even delay the launch of your product.
When You Should Develop an MVP
Every startup is unique, and the same is true of every product. To decide whether an MVP is appropriate for your project, there are some general principles you can adhere to.
- Do you offer a complicated product?
– Is your product innovative?
- Are you targeting a specialized market?
- Are your resources limited?
An MVP might be a good choice if you said "yes" to any of these inquiries. An MVP is optional if your product is straightforward and doesn't allow for innovation or if you're going after a mass market.
Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) can help you launch your product quickly and effectively. Make sure that you're doing it for the right reasons. Otherwise, you risk wasting time and money.
How to Build a Minimum Viable Product
Planning actions before development is necessary, even though the MVP has limited features. Find out all the specifics of the MVP development process to answer the questions of how to create a minimum viable product and where to begin.
The following steps should be followed when developing a minimum-viable product:
1. Define the product idea
Every business owner should conduct a project analysis and provide answers to the following questions to comprehend how to build an MVP.
- What issues can my product solve?
- Can the end user find it helpful?
- Who is your target audience?
- Why would they choose this solution?
You will know the product's primary characteristics if all answers are discovered. You can begin developing the MVP version of your future product once the issues and pain points (along with their solutions) have been identified.
2. Research the market
The foundational element of any successful project is market research. Ensure you create an MVP website or app that users will find engaging and beneficial. Websites like Swagbucks, OnePoll, Toluna, and others also offer paid survey services. They will help you create an accurate portrait of your client. Watch out for your rivals and thoroughly research how they make a minimum viable product.
3. Define core features
To deem your product "viable," it must have a certain minimum set of features. Leave only those features, then, that are necessary to develop a minimum viable product concept. By using MVP, you avoid implementing intricate frameworks and elaborate designs simultaneously.
To decide what features to include and what to forego, you should consider the following factors:
When deciding on the most crucial features, you and your development team must consider the budget. Sometimes the elements can be revised or even taken out and replaced with less expensive alternatives.
4. Develop and launch
So, how to build a minimum viable product that will be successful and appeal to investors and users? You should find a happy medium to produce a concise and polished product.
The functional load on your MVP should be reasonable. It should also be high caliber, with every bug fixed to prevent failure. Additionally, it must solve the customers' fundamental problems and quickly draw them in.
5. Examine the feedback
Once the MVP has been released, you will be able to gauge demand and decide whether or not you are moving the project in the right direction.
However, the best part of MVP is gathering valuable data from early adopters. The project's final users will provide feedback on how well it was executed. Thus they will test your MVP and generate ideas for it. When planning future upgrades, utilize the collected data to prioritize which features to add first.
How to Make Your MVP Simple
As we already covered, your MVP features are constrained by your project budget.
But what if developers say they need 600 hours for development, but you can only afford 400?
In this case, you can keep the feature while simplifying its implementation.
There are two ways to streamline key MVP features.
Use out-of-the-box features
Using out-of-the-box solutions is common for startups that want to launch more quickly. You install ready-made software with the essential elements required for a minimum viable product. Typically, such a solution will need to be customized to remain functional.
For instance, many programming languages offer libraries you can install for a specific purpose. For example, the Active Admin and Devise libraries in the Ruby on Rails framework assist in building an admin panel and user authentication, respectively.
What Does it Cost to Build an MVP?
Building an MVP typically involves three types of expenses: development costs, hosting costs, and marketing expenses.
Development expenses will cover the cost of any tools or software needed and pay your developers and designers. Hosting fees include things like domain registration and server fees. Depending on how you intend to market your MVP, marketing expenses may include paid advertisements, public relations, or content creation.
The price of developing an MVP can vary depending on various factors. The size and scope of MVP, the group of developers who will work on it, the platform it will be built on, and the time frame are a few of these variables.
The cost of the MVP may vary depending on where it is created. Take a look at the hourly rates of development in various countries.
The following is the data with the time needed to develop an MVP.
Backend - ≈ 800 hours (5 months)
Frontend - ≈ 800 hours (5 months)
DevOps - ≈ 160 hours (1 month)
QA - ≈160 hours (1 month)
Total - ≈ 1920 hours
If you have little experience, estimating an MVP's cost is still a guessing game. Speak with a development firm specializing in creating MVPs for more information on obtaining an accurate estimate.
How Stfalcon Can Help You to Build a Successful MVP
Stfalcon is a top-rated software development company with 13 years of experience in building software for enterprise organizations and applications for startups. We recognize the challenges in developing MVPs and are prepared to assist you in overcoming them.
At Stfalcon, we prioritize creating long-lasting relationships with our clients and producing software your company will enjoy using. After developing MVP projects for over 13 years, we have three main recommendations for you.
- Start an MVP only with a detailed product roadmap.
- Do strike a balance between necessary features and insufficient ones.
- Be wise when choosing a team of developers.
You are welcome to contact us for a free consultation about any issues you may be having with your Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
We can compare an MVP to a trial balloon -- it can be helpful to forecast the technical and financial potential of the design and implementation of your product. It enables you to make fact-based business and technical decisions rather than just speculative ones. Hence, the primary objective of creating a successful MVP is to market-test the concept or product.
MVPs of such industry giants as Facebook, Spotify, Zappos, Dropbox, and more prove how even large companies can start successful product development with relatively simple solutions. Hit us up to get a free consultation on your MVP. Let's build something great together!