Testing an app idea before its full-fledged development is an essential part of a successful product launch. Those companies that skip this step often run into diverse unforeseen challenges that can already start at the beginning of the development process. For example, these issues can include budget overrun, incorrect determination of market needs, targeting the wrong audience, and others. It is therefore not surprising that 42% of all startups’ failures are caused by the lack of market need.
Most businesses that create successful apps commonly opt for Minimum Viable Product development and testing before the main apps’ release. However, to perform these procedures properly, companies need to develop a well-thought-out MVP and elaborate on testing steps. In this article, we uncover the reasons why you need to build an MVP for your app development project and look into the ways of how to plan your MVP development.
What Is MVP in Software Development?
A Minimum Viable Product (known as MVP) is an initial rough version of your digital product. This version has basic features and can provide the most important services to its users.
There are many types of MVPs to choose from: web apps, SaaS, and eCommerce apps. No matter what type of solution you’re looking for, it should represent the vision and the promise behind your business idea. Mockups, wireframes, simple web apps, or a software prototype – there’s a great selection of options available, but the philosophy behind them is the same: presenting the most basic intent, concept, and functionality of your business idea.
Software developers usually build an MVP within 1-2 months’ time and launch it in the market to test the core idea on the real users and define if the product is going to be successful.
You’ll reach your audience with the main functionality – the very essence of your product/market fit. All the additional features can be developed later after the product has been tested and proven. You may find some functions necessary, and some functions redundant. In such cases, it’s easy to waste a lot of resources – such as time and money – to fail in achieving the necessary ROI.
Once an MVP is launched, software developers can proceed with product improvement until it becomes a full-value digital solution.
Purpose of an MVP
When building an MVP, companies resolve many marketing issues and app development challenges. The main purposes why businesses develop their MVPs are:
- to launch a new working digital solution in the market as fast as possible;
- attract early users of the product;
- gain valuable user feedback to adjust the built app to the user requirements;
- to realize how well the product fits in the market;
- to allocate the project budget properly.
Above all, an MVP can be used as an effective model to present product business potential and bring more investors to the project. With an MVP businesses can clearly demonstrate the product advantages and ensure funding for its further development.
Business Benefits of Minimal Viable Product Software Development
How can your business benefit from developing an MVP? Here are just a few practical advantages your business can reap by building a digital solution with MVP.
MVP development is agile and fast. Fewer features mean less time to market.
An MVP is the fastest development option that still delivers a working product. Fewer expenses mean it’s easier to achieve ROI.
Foundation for Growth
It’s a starting point for you to grow from. You build on your minimum viable product later to improve the way it solves that same problem.
Focusing On the Core
When software developers elaborate on steps to build an MVP they select which functionalities and main features to include in the product. It means that an MVP should be usable and fulfill the main operations to satisfy the target audience’s needs.
For example, if the app’s idea is to sell goods from a catalog, its users should be able to look through the catalog, pick up the things they liked, and eventually buy them.
This way businesses can enmark the minimum features they need to embed in their product, prioritize them by importance, and save up on MVP development costs. As the MVP is tested with the target audience, software developers add new functionalities to the product with each development iteration.
Improved Market Validation
With well-elaborated MVPs, businesses can better realize if their app hits their target audience, represents the uniqueness of the product, and promotes a clear brand image to the users.
Better Addressing User Needs
When building their MVPs, businesses quickly release though gradually improve their apps. This approach makes the developed apps more flexible and better adjustable to the users’ needs.
Since MVP apps are developed in iterations, project stakeholders can more accurately prioritize features and functionalities they want to include in the next release. As a result, over time the app will address most of the users’ pain points and become more popular and more frequently chosen among the apps with similar functionality.
More Precise App Development Budget Planning
By using MVP, businesses can gain more detailed insights on how to allocate their budgets more effectively and better meet overall business objectives. These insights can be obtained through MVP testing in the real environment and gaining valuable feedback from the users.
This way, businesses realize which features to add to their apps first and which of them don’t require greater attention.
How to Plan a Minimum Viable Product
MVP development should get sufficient attention from the app development project stakeholders. It means that software developers need to find that middle ground between too much detailed planning and a superficial view on an MVP.
For example, some businesses can dive into a thorough MVP development, attempting to build a perfect model. As a result, they spend too much time and budget on MVP development services. While other companies can focus on building a Minimum sample, forgetting about its Viability. This can lead to the ineffectiveness of an MVP.
For the development team not to exceed or get too shallow in their planning, they should take the following steps.
Perform Market Research
At the first step, project stakeholders evaluate a business idea and answer some basic questions, related to their potential users. These questions can be:
- Who are the users of the built app?
- What’s the main goal of this product?
- What user needs can this app address?
- How are they going to address these problems?
Besides that, the project team needs to explore their competitors and conduct their deep analysis. This can help the project stakeholder understand the uniqueness of their app idea and how to make their product visible in the market.
Once the project team has evaluated the product and analyzed the competitors, they should establish long-term goals and success criteria for their app. These two simple steps will help a project team realize when their product has reached success in the market.
For example, if you’re developing a social networking site, then your long-term goal could be reaching the # number of users, and the success criterion is actually reaching that number.
Map Out User Journey
This MVP software development step relates to product viability. To ensure a great user experience, software developers should consider all the steps or jobs a user can take in the built app to reach their goals.
For example, if you’re building an app for retail, then you need to care about each move a user has to take to buy goods from your site. It means that you should have a look at your app from a user perspective and go through the purchasing process step by step.
Range MVP Features
At this stage, project stakeholders have to decide which features they need to include in their MVP first. These features should have a high priority and directly influence the basic app functionality. For this they can do the following:
- list all the features they want to include in their app;
- pick up the most essential features to include in an MVP;
- range and categorize the remaining features by their priority – high, medium, low.
If it’s complicated to define the main features for an MVP product, project stakeholders can use an MVP prioritization matrix. It represents a square divided into four smaller squares which are ranged by impact and urgency. The most urgent and high in their impact features should be included in the MVP first.
The final stage is the MVP launch. As the stakeholders go through all the above steps on MVP analysis and development, they can release their MVP software to the market. The quality of the MVP product shouldn’t be lower than a planned full-scale app, also it should be attractive for users and successfully meet all their needs.
When the MVP is released into the market, the software development team needs to prepare for continuous gathering and evaluating of customer feedback. The feedback will determine the further product prospects and development route.
Not all ideas become products. Not all products hit the market. Everybody knows technically what an MVP is. However, the majority of companies launch unnecessarily large solutions, placing themselves at an immediate strategic disadvantage.
Therefore, MVP has become a significant part of successful application development. It allows businesses to quickly release products to the market, better estimate market competition levels, thoroughly analyze prospects for product success, and avoid exceeding project budget.
Businesses that consider building MVPs should carefully approach this procedure by taking consistent and comprehensive steps in their MVPs’ software development. This way businesses will ensure that their MVPs are well-balanced and that they can effectively reach project goals and benefit its further development.