Long gone are the days when innovators could afford to spend years developing a product and the market waited and then accepted the novelty. Much of what businesses need has already been invented and works well. But in the digital world, everything can be improved.
It’s important for businesses to do the right thing right away, so they don’t waste time and money on development. In such cases, it seeks to test hypotheses and see if the product has a sufficient set of useful and unique features, with an MVP.
MVP is a product with minimum risk and maximum profit, the result of simultaneous development and research (the target audience, its reaction to the product).
We start by defining the MVP’s goals and creating the team
Beginning work on the project is worth defining the goals and the criteria for their achievement. Here it is important to understand what you expect from MVP, what hypothesis you want to test, and how you will interpret the results. Then you can begin to form a team. Its basic composition usually consists of the following roles: product owner, product manager, analyst, UX/UI designer, developer, QA, and potential clients. Such a team is used by a serious MVP development company. For example, like the development studio Purrweb.
Before you start MVP development, you have to take some actions:
- Research the market and competitors: did they have similar ideas, what worked and what didn’t.
- Brainstorm and formalize your product idea, its key features, and killer functions that will help you stand out from your competitors.
- Agree on the work on the project. For example, should the design or UX be included in the MVP stage, should QA-specialists be involved or beta-testing on real users, will you need analytics support, etc.
- The types of work are typically based on the needs of the target audience, on which you are going to test an MVP on.
- For testing on external audiences, design, and UX development will be required. Since only the “wow effect” can motivate them to try the app. If the user is not interested, does not understand the product, or if the interface is boring and complicated, they simply will not test it, which means the test results will fail.
- Prepare a list of functions and prioritize them, since during implementation there can be a situation when some of them will have to be removed or postponed.
- Understanding which features should be included in the MVP will help you analyze the market. It’s better to start with the research of what your customers use and analyze their feedback on the existing analogues. About 60% of users perform the basic functions of applications and programs without using additional features. Then we include the minimum set of necessary features into MVP and add unique features that caused the idea to create the product.
- Explore ways to quickly implement the MVP to choose the right one for your minimum viable product and the goals of its implementation. You can develop it yourself or outsource it.
It is not the best solution to create a department for MVP development. It will take time to find specialists, train them, and immerse yourself in the project. And in the end, it may turn out that the hypothesis will not be proved, and you will not need the department. In the case of MVP, sometimes it’s more effective to hire a ready-made team. To make the MVP development process faster and more powerful, the business calls on the expertise of outsourcers with the relevant experience and portfolio of projects in the area of interest.
Develop an MVP concept to estimate projected costs
The purpose of such a concept is to define the key functions, to mark the limits and to estimate the expenses for MVP development. Since you don’t need the exact details in this case, you can limit yourself to the following artifacts.
User roles and User stories
This stage allows you to transform the business requirements into functional requirements. Users, their roles, needs, and the actions with the product to fulfill those needs become clear.
This part of the concept allows a more detailed analysis of the specific processes, allowing the interaction of users with each other, the possible “white spots”. It describes how the system will work: sources of data, starting points for actions and processes, the user’s path to the goal, etc. Usually, not all the processes of the future product are described, but only the functions.
Non-functional requirements and constraints
In the concept, it is enough to specify what legal, system, geographic, and other requirements should be considered when implementing the MVP. If they are not at the implementation stage, you may encounter unpleasant surprises, which will lead to the product rework, and in the worst case, the abrupt termination of the project.
Logical data model
The purpose of this stage is to evaluate the intended scope and structure of the data. This information is needed to design the interfaces, understand the business logic, integration interactions, and work out the architectural solution. Having the concept, you can already have an idea of the costs required to create the MVP (both in terms of cost and timing).
About the timing of MVP development: this is one of the more popular questions. Here, it’s important to remember that:
- MVP development is the same software creation project with work, sprints, team, backlog, and everything that is typical of a normal project,
- The amount and duration of work depends on the goals of the MVP, as mentioned above.
So one minimally viable product can be done in weeks and another in months. For large projects, creating an MVP in a month is a unique case.
The launch time for a minimum viable product will always depend on the market for which it is being developed. For example, an MVP for a highly competitive market like retail will need to include both basic and unique features. Also, the term will depend on the chosen stack, the volume of tasks and a lot of other factors. Therefore, the approximate duration of the project can only be estimated after the backlog is ready.
Thinking about what will be after MVP
Usually, you are already at the stage of MVP creation, so you should think about what you will do after MVP if the project is successful. There are two options:
The hypothesis is confirmed, but MVP development is postponed until a full-fledged service, capable of growth, scalable, and adaptable to the real world, begins to be built.
The business decides to reuse the MVP. And it’s better to lay the groundwork for further development. When preparing the concept, it is important to pay attention to the requirements that will change if the MVP goes to life: the load, localization, integration, and so on. This allows laying the flexible architecture and bases for further refinements.
Collect user feedback and draw conclusions
One of the main goals of MVP development is to get feedback from real users, testing the functionality at each step of product creation.
Combining different ways to collect feedback allows you to double-check the information. These can be:
- Analysis of user feedback, wishes, and suggestions,
- Interviews, questionnaires,
- Fieldwork, observation of users,
- Brainstorming sessions,
- Analysis of metrics, statistics, etc.
- When the feedback is received, it is important to interpret it correctly, to reject “random errors” and draw correct conclusions.
If you follow the above algorithm for MVP development, you can, with a high probability, achieve your goals and avoid mistakes.