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Minimum Viable Product – What is an MVP?

Blog

What does MVP mean?

Talk about the benefits of the MVP approach

MVP development process – best practices

What’s the difference between MVP, PoC and a Prototype?

MVP development process 

Q&A session

Our way of doing things

Summing up

Developing a digital product takes a lot of time and effort. It’s no longer about the solution itself but about everything connected to it. To fight off the competition, you have to focus on a factor that has a crucial impact on the app success – its real users. That’s to say, when creating a product with a software development company, make the target audience your priority. And what’s a better way to do this than building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

When does MVP development bring the most value? What are the steps involved in the MVP development process? How does it help in market validation?

What does MVP mean?

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product and is a concept that allows to find out whether the basic model of a product with the core functionalities meets users’ needs. In other words, it checks how customers respond to the product value proposition. Most startups start from this since you can gather initial feedback and measure user satisfaction – thanks to this, the entrepreneurs can check whether their product idea would succeed on the market.

What is the definition of a Minimum Viable Product? We can say that MVP is a kind of test, an experiment. One of the main goals of Minimum Viable Product at the early stage of launching the digital product is to gather information and user feedback. However, the basic version doesn’t mean anything wrong here. MVP still has characteristics such as the app’s core value, workability, usability and visual appealing. All of these features contribute to the core value of the product. Nothing more.

Of course, you don’t have to do this project alone. It’s best to cooperate with a software development company on this one. The team composed of the project manager or product owner, UX/UI designer and developers will be there to guide you through the path of turning your idea into reality.

Is MVP necessary? How to create a Minimum Viable Product? Let’s find out. 

Talk about the benefits of the MVP approach

MVP (minimum viable product) benefits, advantages of the MVP approach - understand the market needs, test the idea, minimize the risk, save time and resources

Minimum Viable Product development is a process that can bring a lot of benefits if done correctly and effectively. It can overnight change the fate of a company, and from an unknown startup, make it a successful company. Here’s the proof (or tons of it, actually). Let’s look at Facebook, Dropbox and many other successful companies that also wanted to validate their core idea with the audience. You’ll be no different.

There are many perks of creating MVP before launching a final product. It allows you to:

Understand what does the market need

In other words, your product fulfils the user’s requirements and market needs. How’s that? Because earlier on, during the MVP stage, together with a team of experts, you cooperate with the target audience during mobile app development. Thanks to that, the early adopters can determine if it’s something they need in a short amount of time, which brings us to the next point.

Test the idea with minimal expenses

One of the main objectives of MVP development is to learn about the product as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. Providing the users with the early version of the mobile app is a great way to find out what customers are willing to pay for. And the best part is that it’s all done with minimal expenses.

Minimise the risk of failure

Because your team works with the target audience and gets reliable feedback, they adjust your product to the user’s needs. This, in turn, reduces the odds of failure during product launch and increases the chances of success. In other words, you won’t have to watch as your idea fails on the market. It just won’t happen, as you’re going to have a base full of customers that signed up to use your product.

Save development time & money

Thanks to including the product’s real users in the process, you save the resources that can now be spent on business processes such as marketing, further development, or other projects. What’s more, the software house won’t have to go back and forth to fix the emerging shortcomings as it already had been uncovered during the MVP development stage. You’re going to have a fully functional product that’s ready to launch and is adapted to the market.

MVP development process – best practices

Now, since we already covered the benefits, it’s time to talk about Minimum Viable Product development tips. How to ensure that the process goes smoothly? Let’s see what to do to increase your product’s chances for success:

mvp, minimum viable product, product design, the difference between mvp and a full product in software product development
  1. Involve your users
    Along with your team, you need to explore the group’s real needs you want to reach with your product. What are their pain points? How can you help them with your project? Imagine them, create their persona, user stories, and later when the MVP is done, listen to their opinions and suggestions on your product – from the very beginning, it’s all about user interactions. Then, the team is going to use customer feedback in developing the final app. The point is that you should make UX your priority.
  2. Carry out detailed research
    Check market demand, do technical, creative research, carry out competitor research. All of it so that the MVP project would work on the right platform and had an interface adjusted to users’ needs. It’s better to spend more time on research. You’ll see it yourself. Thanks to market research, the consecutive stages of MVP development will get much easier.
  3. Define the essential features of your MVP app
    Which features will bring value for your target audience and which are extra ones? Select the most important ones and don’t stick to others. With MVP development, it’s about core features that will give you a competitive advantage in the market. And as for all the other features, you can save them for future iterations and add them later on, as the actual product will be on the market.
  4. Measure your progress
    Run tests and analyse feedback. The whole idea of a successful Minimum Viable Product development is validated learning. That’s learning about the product to make it user-friendly and ready for the market.

What’s the difference between MVP, PoC and a Prototype?

There are many misconceptions about these three methods. How do they differ from one another? Let’s find out. 

the difference between PoC (proof of concept), MVP (minimum viable product) and a prototype. Comparison infographic

Proof of Concept

While all of these methods aim to check the idea, there’s a clear distinction between them. PoC is the quickest way to check if the idea is feasible. This method is excellent for innovative projects when there’s a higher risk of potential setbacks and problems.

Minimum Viable Product

When we talk about MVP, we think about a basic version of the app with features and functions that allow the target audience to decide whether they find it useful or not. Here, we focus on user experience. Are our assumptions right? Is this what they want and need?

Prototype

While preparing the prototype, we get to see how the concept will be done. We build an interactive model that allows the team to test the product with users quickly and efficiently. We sometimes choose to create Wireframe Prototypes that focus more on user flows and app functionality, while others centre around design and layout.

To sum up, all of these methods are cost-efficient ways to validate an idea. Thanks to them, the product is user-friendly and ready to conquer the market.

MVP development process 

Now, we move on to the process itself. How does Minimum Viable Product development look like? How to get from an idea to a product? The answer is simple – do it one step at a time.

Step 1 – Research

In the step by step guide of mobile app development, the first stage is always research. When you come up with a concept, you make a ton of assumptions. You’ve got a clear image of your target groups, their needs, and of course, the product itself. However, some of the hypotheses may be wrong; it’s normal. Did you know that the most common reason for product failure is not complying with potential customers needs? Interesting, right? It’s that easy! So, what you should do next is to get in touch with your target audience, learn about their needs and get them what they want. This brings us to the second step.

Step 2 – Find a target group & map their journey 

When creating a Minimum Viable Product, the first thing you do is finding your potential users. Then, you try to get to know them as much as possible. Learn about their behaviour and likings, habits and patterns. It’ll give you an insight into their needs which will help you satisfy early adopters. All the insights are success criteria for your final product. It’s the foundation for user journeys, user flow, user interface, so make notes.

Step 3 – Define the main problem

Once you know the target audience, it’s time to define the problems they’re facing. Next, select the one that corresponds with the created product and focus on it. How is your app going to solve it? What’s the concept’s primary value? What are business objectives here? This is the vital part – decide which features are extra and which ones are must-haves. Remember, an MVP development is about minimum features that provide an effective solution. The simpler, the better. Don’t you agree?

Step 4 (optional) – Make a PoC

This phase in the step by step guide depends on what kind of product you want to prepare. Thanks to market research, you can answer the following question: is it an innovative one that doesn’t exist on the market? If so, there’s more risk and uncertainty connected to it. Thus, you should develop a PoC to validate your idea and see if there’s a demand for your product. Is it something the market needs? It’s better to make sure your concept is viable.

If you’d like to learn more about PoC, see our article about it.

Step 5 – Offer the potential users the early version of the product

MVP functionality is all about customer validation. We should remember that it’s a product that ought to meet the needs of the target market. Therefore, it won’t be incomplete or unattractive, but rather it’ll contain the minimum set of the main features that will provide the maximum amount of value. At this point, during MVP launch, all the features should be connected to the product’s primary objective. That means only the important ones.

Step 6 – Collect feedback from users and iterate

Gather customer feedback about software idea from potential customers – having all the necessary pieces of information, go back and re-evaluate your product. Next, adapt it to users needs and fix all the problems they reported to you during the process. MVP helps you overcome a significant uncertainty – market adaptation, which has a huge influence on future product success.

Q&A session

minimum viable product, mvp in product design

Let’s try to answer some of the questions concerning the Minimum Viable Product.

How long will it take to develop an MVP?

Now, it’s determined by the approach and technology stack you’re going to choose. Has this solution already been made, or is it going to be a brand new one? How long will this project of MVP development take? If it’s custom software development, it’s going to take more time, but the product will be adapted to your business needs as well as those of users – it’ll check the core pain points.

Keep in mind that building an MVP also requires a workshopprototypingdesigning and developing. Sometimes, there’s a landing page or a video as an MVP, while in other cases, there are much more complicated projects to carry out. Thus, as I mentioned before, MVP development time depends on the scope of the project.

How do I test the Minimum Viable Product?

There are many ways to test the MVP. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet and digital transformation, you’ve got endless options available – from social media, landing pages, blogs through online advertising to traditional ads on TV or radio. Surely, there’s one that works for you. Use it to meet your potential users’ needs. Give them your MVP, gather feedback – the problems may involve bad UX, poor performance or a need for new features – and improve your product so that it’s exactly what they need.

Why is MVP essential for startups?

Do you know what the most common reason for product failure is? That’s right, useless app features. In other words, some components are rarely used or entirely dismissed by the target users.

Why am I mentioning this now? It’s because startups, more than anything else, rely on the success of the idea. It often may be their to be or not to be. Luckily, thanks to workshops, PoC, and (yes, you guessed it) MVP development, you’re going to get all the needed information and feedback from users. Instead of creating a whole product, do a landing page and see if there’s a demand for it. You have it? Great. Then, you’re ready to go. An MVP allows you to get clearance on what’s needed in the app quickly and to build it accordingly – focusing on the core features.

Our way of doing things

Some companies offer to create the entire product immediately. Well, if you follow us, or even better, you cooperated with us, you know it’s not how we do it.

At Gorrion, we care about your time and resources. That’s why we recommend building MVP first during the workshop. It’s a part of our software development process. With the use of the MVP, you can check how your idea will be perceived by users and bring it to life at a relatively low cost.

What’s more, since the research feedback allows you to improve your app, you’re continually working on your product and simultaneously increasing its value. Also, MVP development is a much cheaper solution than designing a whole project with many functionalities and features. It allows to reduce the risk and save money that can be spent on marketing or promotion.

Summing up

The point of a successful MVP development is to keep a balance between usability and efficiency. This process brings results in the form of an innovative solution adapted to the market, which translates not only into the success of the digital product itself but also the entire company. Moreover, it enhances the app launch and helps in finding faulty features to a product and enables you to make all necessary changes to satisfy your customers. And after that? You get to follow a lean startup and turn it into a minimum marketable product.

Want to build an MVP? Book a free consultation with Mariusz or send us a message. We’d be happy to meet you and discuss your idea.

Editor’s note: We’ve originally published this post in August 2020 and updated it for comprehensiveness.

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