- What is MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?
- Why do so many software projects start with MVP?
- What are the biggest risks in MVP planning and development?
- Are you looking for experts in MVP product development?
What is MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?
Before we move on, let’s get out of the way. An MVP is not a prototype or proof of concept which role is to verify that a certain product idea is even doable.
When we’re talking about MVP, we mean a working product with all the necessary features that allow it to serve its purpose. We develop it intending to offer it to users, gather their feedback, and raise additional funds for the next phases of development. After its release, we’re able to proceed to further development with a much better understanding of users’ needs.
A good example of a well-executed MVP product is Kindle. The device was released as the most straightforward thing that serves one purpose only. And it was perfect for it. It allowed you to read, and it didn’t discharge after a couple of days. Then, over the years, new versions were released with more fancy features and characteristics, both on the software and hardware side.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Why do so many software projects start with MVP?
Let’s start with the basics and go over the biggest reasons MVPs became the standard in the software lifecycle. There’s a good chance you’ll agree and see the value of all five benefits of building an MVP.
1. Idea validation
We can’t really know for sure how good our product is until we know what users think about it. Not just one or two friends who happen to have similar interests and views on things. It’s the outside look of an actual group of diverse users that helps us understand the place of the new product in a business landscape.
MVP gives you the ability to validate your ideas quickly and efficiently without the need to go all in with the budget. A scaled-down product version is enough to gather valuable feedback from early adopters, users, and stakeholders. The value of this feedback loop is immense. It helps you understand what users truly need (or don’t need). Most importantly, it vastly reduces the risk of investing time and resources in all the features that might not meet the market's demands. And that brings us to the next point.
2. Cost optimization
Theoretically, it’s possible to develop a perfect product right away. In addition to some 777-slot machine luck and massive research, it would take a ton of money.
And even then, there’s no guarantee of success.
So in most cases, it simply doesn’t make sense to try. In order to play it safe and optimize costs, it’s usually much better to take the MVP route.
That way, you’re ensuring you don’t waste funds on features that users might not receive well. In MVP versions, you prioritize core functionalities and allow yourself to go slowly with costly features you’re not too certain about. And what’s often instrumental, you can release the product much earlier, get a head start against the possible competition, and start gathering the necessary revenue to grow further.
3. Faster time to market
Like a broken record, we can go back to the MVP name itself.
It’s pretty self-explanatory. In the process of minimum viable product development, we focus on core functionalities that are necessary for a product to serve its purpose. As soon as we have all the most important features, we can release the product.
As soon as it happens, you start building a user base, gathering feedback, and generating revenue. Those advantages can make a world of difference, especially for companies with limited budgets or those who operate in a highly competitive market.
4. More informed decision-making in product development
By opening yourself to user feedback in the early stages of new product development, you can make much more informed decisions regarding key features and updates to focus on.
Here’s an example from one of our recent projects. During MVP development, together with our client, we prepared a list of features that we’ll most likely focus on after the product’s released. The client felt confident about most of them, but we decided to gather user insights before moving on to the development.
A few weeks after the MVP product launch, it turned out that our assumptions weren’t exactly correct. The core product was received quite positively, but we discovered that users are looking for a few functionalities that we haven’t considered at all.
Thanks to this process, we were able to deliver the most needed features to clients much quicker. And, of course, we avoided spending the client’s budget on the elements that weren’t a priority for clients.
5. Risk mitigation
It’s fair to say that the MVP product development process is all about risk mitigation, and it all boils down to the elements that we actually covered in previous paragraphs.
When it comes to budget, MVP ensures that you focus on the essential features and minimizes the risk of spending money on those that users don’t really need. At the same time, it helps you tweak your product in every possible way, thanks to continual user feedback.
And in terms of time to market, it ensures you’ll get there asap with all the crucial functionalities that allow you to gather feedback and move forward.
What are the biggest risks in MVP planning and development?
While it’s fair to say that MVP is usually the safest way to start a software project, it’s not completely free from risks.
There are a few things that can go wrong and put the entire project in jeopardy.
Mistakes in the research phase can lead to you wrong assumptions (and they’re deadly)
The discovery phase is always instrumental. All the workshops, brainstorms, and analyses have to be thorough to give you the right answers to the most crucial questions. You need to know which features will be the most significant and what aspects you should focus on.
When you’re building MVP, you’re building MVP. As the name suggests, it has to be a minimum viable product. Not a perfect one.
The outsourcing team has to be the voice of reason here. The software development team, along with designers and project managers, has to take care of the process, provide insights and the necessary data to determine what’s actually crucial in this phase. Most importantly, it’s the software house’s role to make sure that the MVP is possible to develop within the client’s budget. The process has to be lean, clean, and free from distractions.
MVP development can be too ambitious
When you’re passionate about something (like a software project), you can easily get carried away. You have all those brilliant ideas that must be heard and brought to life.
And then it turns out that some of the features don’t quite work out as intended.
Users’ feedback and all the data indicate that you wasted a lot of time and money on things that won’t survive the first few product updates.
Again, we’re coming back to the MVP name itself. The product will not be final. You will have to pass on a few features and focus on those that are the most important for the product to work. And that’s perfectly fine.
To sum up, if you’re too ambitious, you might put the entire project at risk. In some extreme cases, you might not even be able to turn back from this due to time and budget issues.
MVP experience matters
Even a quite skilled software development team can butcher the job if it lacks experience in MVP development.
I know, I’ve been there.
The success of an MVP project depends heavily on the conceptual and management side on top of actual coding. It requires all the participants to understand the project, its purpose, and the business perspective. Then, there has to be an efficient process that ensures the MVP is developed in a timely fashion and within the budget.
These are the key competencies that make a truly great MVP development team. And now it seems like the best time to brag a little.
Are you looking for experts in MVP product development?
Ever since Order Group was founded, our team was always fueled by innovative projects and trailblazing technologies. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to be entrusted with dozens of fascinating software projects, and most of them started with MVP versions.
With projects like Raw Cyber and Nuvve, we proved that our MVP development process brings great results no matter how challenging the job is.
So if you’re looking for a team you can trust, we’re here for you. Arrange a call.