A Step-by-Step Guide to Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
We are in 2021 and we have been hearing this word MVP for quite a long time and it’s most commonly used by software consultants. I often recommend Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to various clients who want to introduce something new to the market or I would say they have an idea of a Startup. When I do suggest them they end shooting my lots of questions like What is an MVP? How does it help? Will it be a good idea? and many other questions. I do explain them with all the answers but let’s understand an MVP first:
What is an MVP?
The simplest definition is that an MVP must be the simplest core feature set of any product that allows it to be deployed and absolutely nothing more. However, the most popular definition is; “The smallest thing that you can build that delivers customer value (and as a bonus captures some of the value back).”
Basically, it allows you to test an idea by throwing an early version of the product to the target customers. It helps in collecting data and actual customer feedback.
Benefits of MVP
User-Focused Design Approach: An MVP is developed to solve a user’s key problem and is constantly iterated as per the user’s needs. It gathers valuable feedback constantly to provide an improved version of the product at each iteration.
Clarity of Vision: At the initial stage of your product’s development, you should specify the core features and customer value of the software and write everything down. After a checklist is created, share it with the team. This primary vision will definitely help you to stay on track and make better decisions in the long run
Quicker release & Immediate Testing: By offering the core set of features rather than a fully developed product, organizations can easily establish if their product’s concept resonates with their target audience or not. Based on the findings, it further provides an opportunity to make changes. An MVP also helps businesses identify which social group, in their target audience, are the most active users and how they interact with the product.
Developing Early Relationship With Customers: The immediate goal of a business is to build trust with their existing customers while also connecting with the new ones. The early users will then spread the word about your product and also give valuable feedback.
Steps to building an MVP
Step 1: Market Research
At times, it happens that ideas do not fit into the market needs. Before you initiate an idea, ensure that it fulfills the target users’ needs. Conduct surveys, because the more information you have, the higher your chances are of success. Also, do not forget to keep an eye on what your competitors are offering, and how you can make your idea unique.
Step 2: Express Your Idea
What value does your product offer to its users? How can it benefit them? Why would they buy your product? These are important questions to keep in mind to help better express your idea.
You should also be clear about the essential estimations of your product. As MVP implies, introducing value to the people, first outline them and based on that develop your MVP.
Step 3: Consider the Design Process & User Flow
Design the app in a way that is convenient for users. You need to look at the app from the user’s perspective, starting from opening the app to the final process, such as making a purchase or delivery. In addition, user flow is an important aspect as it ensures you do not miss anything while keeping the future product and its user satisfaction in mind.
To define your user flow, it is necessary to define the process stages, and for that, you need to explain the steps needed to reach the main objective. Your focus should be more on basic tasks rather than features such as finding and buying the product, and managing and receiving orders. These are the goals that your end-users will have while using your product. When all these procedure stages are clearly laid out, it is time to define the features of each stage.
Step 4: List the Project Features
First of all, list all the features that you want to incorporate into your product before you start building the MVP; and, once the building process is completed, cross-check with the list. When you have a list of features for each stage, you then need to prioritize them. To prioritize the features, ask yourself questions such as, “What do my users want?” and “Am I offering them something beneficial?”
Next, categorize all the remaining features based on priority: high priority, medium priority, and low priority. When you have organized all the features, you can define their scope for the first version of the product, and move to build an MVP. If you want to see how your future product will look, you can even create an MVP prototype.
Step 5: Build your MVP
Once you have decided upon the main features and have learned about the market needs, you can create your MVP. Keep in mind that a prototype is not lower quality than a final product, and still needs to fulfill your customer’s needs. Therefore, it must be easy to use, engaging, and suitable for your users.
Step 6: Build, Measure, and Learn
Everything is part of a process: first, the scope of work is defined, and the product is moved to the development stage. After the completion of product development, the product needs to be tested. Quality Assurance engineers, who work to improve the quality of the product (even if the product is not released) conduct the first testing stage.
Review everything thoroughly after launching the MVP, i.e. collect your client’s reaction to the release. With their feedback, you can determine if the product is acceptable in the market, if it is competing with the other products in the market, and so on.
It is important to realize that users tell us where the product is lacking and what features are not needed. Once you collect the feedback from the users, start improving your product, then test, learn, and measure the quality, and then test again, and the process goes on until it is finalized.
There’s no doubt, any startup should begin with the business idea validation. That’s why the MVP development stage is crucial and why you can’t skip it.
As soon as you are done with steps #1-2, we can jump in and help you with the rest: map the user’s journey, choose key features and the right MVP type, develop the app and release it. At Ucodesoft, we help startups with steps #3-5, accompanying the project until the release. Moreover, we can provide additional info on how to prioritize features and what techniques can be used for it. If you delegate the MVP development to us, you will have plenty of time for PR and investors, while we guarantee your app will be well-thought-out and cutting-edge.
BDM | Offshore Business/Software Solution Consultant | Branding | Driving Sustainable Growth | Mobile & Web AppsAll stories by: Varun Markanday