Build Minimum Viable Product for Startups
Ideas are everywhere and they are a great foundation to build a startup product. However, too many ideas can make a product such a mess. Regardless, ideas are not enough. You also have to sell your product and prove that it is viable. We believe in giving the product to the customers as fast as possible, but planning and brainstorming also take time. So with all these considerations, you must define an MVP before hitting the green light. But what is a minimum viable product?
Listen to the Startup Hustle Podcast episode – Does My Idea Suck?
What is an MVP?
The concept of minimum viable product (MVP) is a technique designed to deliver a product with sufficient workable features in the shortest amount of time possible. This means that additional features can be developed after the MVP is achieved. In short, an MVP is the most basic functional version of your product.
Characteristics of a Minimum Viable Product
It solves at least a single problem. When it solves a problem, it creates value; when it has value, target customers would want to buy it. Your MVP should be valuable enough for your users to buy it even on its first release.
It has potential to expand. Note that your MVP will serve as a backbone for all the features to be added on the future iterations. It has to have the core components that you are trying to sell – the ones that solve a problem.
It keeps a record of feedback. Despite being the very first prototype for a project, an MVP should be developed keeping in mind that it has to accommodate the future features and functionalities listed on a feedback record. This record would be essential in guiding the team towards the next steps of enhancing the product and leading it to solve the grand problem.
Minimum Viable Product Example: Mobile Banking
The Grand Problem, in this case, is the ultimate problem to be solved. For example, we have this grand problem: Bank customers want to do remote banking transactions wherever they are.
For your first MVP, you could start with one feature. The most common banking transactions customers do is check their account balance. The problem is they have to go to the closest ATM or bank to do it. Your first minimum viable product could start developing this feature.
For the next MVP, you can start adding new features that are also widely used in banking transactions such as funds transfer and customer support.
The next MVPs will have to possess added features to your remote banking system. You can start adding bills payment, online purchase, and loyalty programs, respectively.
A Guide to Achieve Your First Minimum Viable Product Successfully
Checklist before creating an MVP
Ask yourself. Ask yourself and ask your team. What is the motivation behind this product? What is your vision for the product? Are there personal and business goals that you are trying to achieve? The answers to these questions will be integral to guide you on your way to create your first MVP.
Develop a sense of value. Now that you’re hitting the green light with the project, ask yourselves about the value of the product. Does it solve a problem? Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Are you willing to buy it? Are you willing to invest? Is it relevant in your life, job, or hobby? When all these questions get a “Yes”, congratulations, you envisioned a valuable product.
Trust in numbers. Numbers don’t lie. You should be able to collect the data you need to support the goals of your project. Collect trends, forecasts, surveys, and the like so they may be able to help to make your product feasible. Use this data to help you make informed decisions along the way.
Do your research. Your research is your ammo for the battle that’s about to come. As you develop, you research continuously. Having concrete research at the very beginning will hasten your kickstart stage. Market and feasibility studies are essential.
Consult an expert. Having someone experienced in the industry to guide you in developing your minimum viable product is extremely helpful. Our founders, Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson, are experts in building successful startups. You can contact us if you want to schedule a consultation.
Best Practices for a Successful MVP Creation
- Start with solving at least one problem. From your research, develop an initial process flow to achieve a solution for a problem you have identified. Narrow it down and be as specific as possible. An MVP doesn’t have to solve multiple problems in its first cycle. With MVP, startups solve problems the lean way.
- Keep iterating while solving bigger problems. Once you have achieved your first MVP, start implementing the features you have preconceived. You can take these features one at a time or multiple interdependent modules together. This way, you solve bigger problems and improve its value to your users.
- When in doubt, go back to your feedback document. You can get stuck on which step to take next. In times like this, you can always go back to your documents, records, and data collections. These documents provide structure and direction in creating your MVP.
- Lead the vision of your product to the core. Always stay true to your product. Believe in its capacity to help people solve problems and back it up with real action. However, the vision of your product should always be the backbone that binds all the elements of the product together.
What to avoid when developing an MVP
- Misinformation and miscommunication—Define the proper terms used in development. Miscommunication can lead to misinformation across the team. Each stakeholder should be aware of the processes and practice transparency among the group.
- Setting general parameters—Be specific as much as possible. You cannot define a general audience. Identify the elements that surround your product with as much precision and accuracy to avoid loose product hinges.
- Choosing an incompatible development life cycle—At the beginning of development, identify the right development cycle that best fits your product. Waterfall can be taken off the table since it’s not the most flexible method. Agile and Scrum methodologies are recommended.
- Mismanagement of resources—Resources is important. In a development team, the environment is very dynamic. There are unprecedented risks that may happen so it is important to prepare for these risks by managing the resources properly—from plans to people, from documents to technologies, and let’s not forget to saving time and money when building MVP.
Get the product of your dreams with Full Scale!
Ideas are everything! However, you can’t see their worth without action. If you have an idea for the product of your dreams but you don’t know where to start yet, you can always hire a team ready to work on your product.
As the local demand for developers rises, they also become more expensive. But offshoring companies have that problem pacified. How? You can hire a complete team of developers and managers to work on your product at a much lower cost! You don’t even have to find a space for them because they will be working on your product at the offshore company’s headquarters.
At Full Scale, we hire top tier developers, testers, designers, and project managers who are skilled and experienced in developing software products under different methods. Through our Guided Development process, we will let you have an overview and control of the development while we take care of the recruiting, assessing, and employing the top developers that we can find to work on your project. Get to know more by sending us a message.