MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product, i.e. the most basic version of a product capable of fulfilling the product's main purpose. The objectives in this case can be of different kinds:
- timely feedback from a customer that allows us to avoid developing unwanted functionality in the future (which is also very much in line with the idea of agility);
- the verification of a market gap with minimal development effort;
- the development of a market-ready product as early as possible in order to anticipate the competition and gather early adopters.
In this article, we will analyse what steps are necessary to develop an MVP.
MVPs in software development
In agile development, the MVP is a mid-cycle technical product that is positively accepted by target users after the initial launch.
It is important to build on the MVP accepted by the target audience and incorporate user feedback in a way that brings out the essence of the best features while minimising the risk to company resources.
Working with an MVP is a trial and error process to minimise product development risk. It is no coincidence that MVPs are at the heart of agile projects, whose basic idea is to work incrementally in short sprints and take future actions based on immediate and relevant feedback. In this regard, if you have not already done so, we invite you to read the DevInterface development process in which we also discuss Agile methodology.
For example, the MVP of an e-commerce site will have limited functionality to which improvements and benefits will be gradually added as user feedback data is collected and analysed.
The 5 steps to an MVP
Today, many software projects are developed according to the MVP concept to benefit from user research, testing and efficient cost management. Here are the steps to follow to develop an MVP:
- Identify the problems and needs of the target group
- Determining the added value of the product
- Developing a first version of the MVP
- Presenting and testing the MVP with a selected group
- Roll out and optimisation phase
1. Identify the problems and needs of the target group
To find an effective solution, you must first clearly define the problems or questions of your target group. First of all, you need to understand exactly who your buyer persona is, what specific problem they want to solve and how your product will solve it.
The more precisely you know your target customers, what their needs are and why they would choose your product over another, the better the outcome of this first phase of MVP development will be.
2. Determining the added value of the product
It is likely that you are not the only company trying to solve your buyer persona's specific problem. Therefore, you need to conduct a competitive analysis and understand how your competitors fully, partially or not at all solve your target user's problems.
The sum of these steps forms the basis for the creation of project goals and milestones.
3 Developing a first version of the MVP
At this stage, it is not necessary to think of a final product design, but it is necessary to focus on the user's goals and expectations and how to guide them towards the goal by creating user flows, wireframes and prototypes.
When creating a website, it is obviously necessary to design wireframes, i.e. the visual representation of the user path structured on a screen. Wireframes define the user interface (UI). In this phase, wireframes are tested, iterated and improved to ensure that the functionalities created and the way they are presented meet the expectations of the target audience.
4 Presenting and testing the MVP with a selected group
Alpha testing, i.e. testing the MVP as early as possible within an internal or very small circle of people. In this phase of product development, all functions are tested several times, including functionality, usability, security, performance and interface performance.
Typically, beta tests are then conducted with a wider audience. As a general rule, basically only alpha testing is considered a real part of MVP development.
5 Roll out and optimisation phase
MVP development is complete when you have ensured that you can release a product that reaches and adds value to a wider part of your target audience. From that moment on, you can launch the MVP, even if it does not yet have all the features you want for your long-term product.
The goal is to bring the product to market as quickly as possible while saving investment costs, starting with single features and adding more later. The product will be progressively expanded with features that offer added value to the user.
The Minimum Viable Product is a tool to validate a hypothesis about a new business model or business process that is to be digitised in the most precise and least risky way possible, while keeping the budget limited.
Based on the validated hypothesis, customer feedback can be used to subsequently transform the MVP into a complete product.
Do you have a product idea and would like to turn it into an MVP to test its feasibility in your target market? Contact us, we will go through the necessary steps with you, and if you are curious about which technologies we use read more here.