How to Develop a Minimum Viable Product
A minimum viable product is a true lifesaver for those who want to test the idea before implementing it. But how to develop it correctly, what to avoid, and what are the core things to remember about it? Let’s have a look.
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Mar 02 2021 | byVictor Shulga

What is MVP App Development?

MVP application development means developing a simplified version of a final product. This simplified version usually has a minimal set of features and its primary goal is to test the product with users. Note though that an MVP and a product prototype are not the same: the first one is a fully functioning piece of software that can be used as intended.

Some may say though: why would you need to first build an MVP when you can build a final product instead? Wouldn’t it be wiser in terms of saving time and money? The answer is no, it wouldn’t. There are certain benefits that business owners just can’t ignore.

How creating an MVP will help you with your web app

Say, you decide to build a complex and big product from the start, without initially testing the idea. There are multiple risks related to that, from people not liking your product to over-spending of money (if you begin with wrong features). An MVP helps avoid the risks and brings several undeniable benefits.

Understanding of users’ needs and preferences

The main idea behind an MVP is to test whether users would like your product. By launching it, you will be able to understand whether you met their expectations, whether they are satisfied with the presented features, and what other features they are looking for in a product. This will allow you to make adjustments on the go and replace guesswork with real feedback.

Early testing

Early testing

In addition to collecting the feedback of real users, an MVP allows you to early test the product and see how it functions, what can be improved, and what features are not necessary. In terms of time and money, it’s always better to fix a software product on the go rather than do massive changes and adjustments before the launch so that’s another big advantage.

Prioritization of features

When you work on a software application, be it web or mobile, it’s easy to get carried away with all the features available. However, every new feature added equals more money spent on the product. With an MVP, you will be able to prioritize the features, identify the core ones and the ones that can be dismissed. This will add more structure and transparency to the further development process and will help you avoid extra-spending.

Saving time and money

This is probably the most important argument in favor of MVP app development services. By understanding what features must be included, appealing to your target audience, and being able to tweak the product on the go, you will save lots of time and money. Instead of frantically fixing and adjusting a complex project, you will change the product component by component. In this way, the final product will 100% satisfy the users as you’ll know their needs and what works best.

A step-by-step approach to MVP application development

The MVP development does not actually involve too many steps. Mind though that you should treat it as seriously as the final product - after all, it will serve as an important base for future development.

Step 1 - Do your research

MVP research

You can’t create a software product without knowing whom you target and who your competitors are. So before MVP creation, you should research:

  • Your target audience: who are your potential users, what do they need, and what do they expect in a product like yours?
  • Your competition: what are the available and existing options, what are their pros and cons?

It’s absolutely vital to do research before doing anything else. The lack of research results in misunderstood market needs, wrong targeting, wrong functionality, and etc.

Step 2 - Define the user flow

Define the User Flow

A user flow is a way how users will interact with your product in order to get the desired result. If we look at an e-commerce store as an example, a user flow can be the following: landing page - going to a catalog - choosing a certain section - proceeding to checkout - completing a transaction. Of course, this is a very simplified example but you get an idea.

In order to determine a user flow, you’ll need - ta-dah! - to know who your users are and what they need. After that, you will map out their journey within your app and you will be able to see the main points of interaction and main user actions to be performed.

The definition of a user flow allows you to see how your MVP can be improved, whether it lacks any critical features, and whether it enables the users to obtain needed value.

Step 3 - Prioritize the features

Prioritize the features

Even though an MVP contains the minimum set of core features, you’ll still need to prioritize them by high priority, medium priority, low priority. The idea behind creating such a list is to answer the “What do users want?” question and to define the crucial must-have features.

Step 4 - Develop an MVP

Develop an MVP

This is a stage where you actually design and develop your MVP and launch it to test with real users. An important note here is that an MVP is as important as a final product. That means it should be of good quality and should satisfy the users’ needs with its functionality.

As for the development time, it usually takes several months to create a working MVP. The development time will depend on your choice of platforms (native, cross-platform, web) and the number and complexity of features. Remember that adding a new feature will prolong the release date so we highly recommend sticking to the initial list of core features.

Step 5 - Collect feedback

Collect feedback

The final stage of MVP development services is dedicated to collecting feedback from the users in order to make adjustments to the final product, if necessary.

In addition to feedback gathering, you will also analyze how well the product adheres to the set goals, how well it performs, and how it stands against the competition. For this analysis, you will need to set the KPIs that may include:

  • Revenue per user;
  • Customer acquisition cost;
  • Churn rate;
  • Retention rate.

What are the best web agencies to build startup MVP web applications?

Despite the overwhelming number of development agencies across the globe, we do have recommendations for choosing the right one for your product.

First, pay attention to the portfolio and the specialization of a development company. It should have experience with building products similar to yours. And since many development agencies list their specialization on a landing page, it won’t be difficult to find a list of suitable ones by using the needed keywords.

Second, we highly recommend paying attention to outsourcing companies. Companies from Eastern Europe, for example, have significantly lower rates than Western European or American companies. At the same time, Eastern Europe provides the same (if not higher) level of quality and expertise so it’s obviously a preferable option.

DashBouquet, an MVP development company, has been named one of the leading software services providers by Clutch and other recognized analytical companies and it has an extensive portfolio of successfully built MVPs. Plus, we have a policy of total transparency when it comes to communication with the client - contact us and see for yourself.

Things you should consider to make a successful MVP

Even though we’ve covered the essential steps of MVP development for startup, there are certain tricks that can significantly help you build it faster and more efficiently:

  • Strictly adhere to set deadlines: if you begin to improve, adjust, and implement changes, the MVP app development cost will rise significantly and will take too much time.
  • Choose a small target group: do not try to please everyone with your MVP. Instead, select a small focus group of core users and appeal to them.
  • Stick to usability: remember that you design your MVP for users so they should find it valuable and user-friendly.
  • Keep an eye on competition: by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, you will be able to adjust your product correspondingly.

What to avoid in your MVP?

Now that we’ve talked about the tricks for developing a successful MVP, we also need to cover the major mistakes made during the development process.

Wrong focus

So many things can go wrong only because of the wrong focus and by the wrong focus we mean:

  • Irrelevant and/or wrong problem to solve;
  • Uncertain plans and unclear strategy;
  • Non-defined core value.

This will most probably result in a mismatch between the MVP and the value that users expect.

No prototyping

Lack of prototyping is a common mistake in MVP development. A prototype is needed to check the UI/UX part of the app and to see whether it corresponds to the defined user flow. Thus, when you start working on your MVP, make sure to include prototyping in your list of to-do things.

Too many features

When developing an MVP, many clients are so worried about keeping it simple that they end up with a very scarce product. Or, on the contrary, they can’t stop adding features and receive an overloaded product.

This is why it is so important to list down all the core features and prioritize them. This will help avoid making the MVP too simple or too complex while retaining its intended functionality.

Conclusion

MVP development is an integral part of the app development process as it allows you to test the product, reduce development costs, and be confident in the outcome. Just don’t forget to do the research, invest some time into finding a reliable development agency and you are good to go!

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