Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has become a default practice for startup owners. It’s the best way to get your feet wet before completely diving into the deep end. In this entry, we’ll find out why an MVP is valuable for business. Learn how an MVP works and how you can create one for your startup.
An MVP for a startup is similar to a preview teaser before the real show. It lets a company gradually develop a product based on the user’s reaction to it. When you learn what people specifically want, you get a better idea of how to design it based on their preferences. As a result, you will produce material that manifests the vision of your target audience.
Over the years, startup owners have recognized the undisputed value MVPs add to the business. Companies like Uber, Dropbox, and Facebook started as MVPs before amassing fame and fortune in their respective industries. They strategically integrated their user feedback in developing their final product.
However, it wasn’t as simple as just putting out a product and letting users drive growth. It takes a lot of discernment on the company’s part and involves making risky decisions.
As a startup owner, if you want your MVP to succeed, you’ll need to correctly set the fundamentals. The first step is to understand what is an MVP and how you can leverage it.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
A Minimum Viable Product is an early version of a product released to the public for validation. Through an MVP, a startup can collect feedback from users without spending too much of its resources. Take note, though, that an early version of your work doesn’t mean presenting an amateur output. The product, at the very least, must be functional enough to impress users.
So, what does an MVP look like? How much of it should be functional?
To get a clearer understanding of what the word “minimum” implies, let’s find out what an MVP consists of.
1. Core Features – Your MVP must have the essential features readily working. These are the technical features that directly deal with the problem it’s trying to solve.
2. Usability – Manuals and troubleshooting guides must be provided for users to navigate the product.
3. Design – The product must look presentable and as close to your vision of its final appearance. It may take on skeletal features, but it should look polished enough for release.
4. Quality – Ensure that your MVP has passed all production quality standards, having undergone rigorous testing before release.
Benefits of an MVP
Now that we know what an MVP is, it’s time to learn what it’s used for. Startups use MVP not only to attract customers but to prompt potential investors to make offers. When an MVP gains traction in its niche, it turns the head of many investors. And with enough financial support, a startup can release the full version of its product.
Here’s a complete list of the benefits on an MVP for your startup:
- Saves time and resources
- Collect accurate data
- Attracts investors
- Gauges user engagement and interest levels
- Streamlines product development
Planning your MVP
Before jumping ahead in building your MVP, you have to evaluate whether you have the resources to create one. To build an MVP, you’ll have to take into account certain factors about your company first.
So, without further ado, here are the steps to planning your Minimum Viable Product.
1. Identify long-term goals
Before you start building your product, you need to define what problem it’s supposed to solve.
For example, a calendar application would serve as an efficient schedule organizer. Its primary purpose is to give you a quick glimpse of what your upcoming days will look like to help you plan things out. In its MVP state, you will gradually add more features to the calendar based on the user feedback.
Additionally, you need to set concrete figures and metrics as your criteria for success. It could be reaching several active users at a particular time or reaping high returns after its launch. Your long-term goals will be your basis for making significant decisions about your product.
2. Strategize course of action
Data is only as good as how you make use of it. When you build an MVP, you get access to an honest list of what can make or break your product. Your target market is your best and worst critic.
Since you’re aiming to get their approval, you’ll have the full advantage of knowing what they like. On the other hand, you’ll also have to deal with a lot of potential issues that will arise as they use it—and this can get overwhelming.
To discern the course of action, you’ll need to map out a user journey. This allows you to study how users interact with your MVP. Experiencing the product from the other end will give you a much broader perspective in creating it. This helps you strategize on what to do with the feedback you will receive in your MVP development.
3. Build a minimum viable product
Finally, once you’ve prepared your goals and strategy, it’s time to decide on what features to incorporate in your MVP. The startup MVP development follows a lean methodology of build-measure-learn. Its goal is to produce a viable product that will incrementally improve as it undergoes user validation.
You can use a prioritization matrix or a similar method in identifying which features should be developed first. Along with this, assess your user feedback to weigh the pros and cons of each element and determine if they should make the cut in the final product.
Learn more about how to build an MVP.
Assemble your MVP Team
The tricky part about building MVP for startup is dealing with all the technicalities. This is incredibly crucial especially if you’re building software. You can only deal with so much data before you get overwhelmed with all the jargon and information overload. You’ll need experts to help you make the big decisions in your MVP development.
At Full Scale, we’ve worked with startups that are in various stages of releasing their MVPs. Our Guided Development process lets us determine what areas of your startup need help. We can provide you an MVP team of talented programmers, project managers, QA specialists, graphic designers, content writers, and other development experts.
Kickstart your development journey with the right people and tools. Want to learn more? Talk to us!