MVP in Software Development – Why is it essential and how can businesses approach it?

Sudeep Srivastava August 8, 2022
MVP in Software Development - Why is it essential and how can businesses approach it

As it stands true for every product, software development cannot be done in a jiffy. It has taken years for the software development process to achieve the product finesse of what we know and love today. It involved the efforts and work of multiple teams over multiple years to get the polished and expansive apps we use today that started as a rough product.

You would also require reliable software development consulting before you set out your product idea for your ideal customers.

If the process of developing a successful software product is such a lengthy process, it will bring in its cost as well. The lengthy process often deviates the developers from the sight of the original goal of the product forcing them to push the release dates and wasting time on expensive bug fixes.

Taking baby steps by achieving small goals successfully and growing consistently over time sounds more sensible. (Minimum Viable Product) MVP in software development, thus becomes essential that will align the project strategically as it is easily manageable, scalable, and can be done with utmost focus.

What is MVP software development?

“The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

Eric Ries

What is MVP software development

As the name suggests, MVP software development is the software with minimum features to make the product viable, i.e. it fulfills the requirements such that the core functionality of the product is satisfied. Some people confuse it with the wireframe or an early proof of concept, however, it is actually the release of the original version of the product that is fit for customers with no extra frills.

Building the basic structure, testing its functionality, and delivering it successfully becomes the base for the authenticity and success of the later versions. Moreover, the final application will be based on user experience and feedback.

MVP thus helps in releasing the product in a phased manner that greatly eliminates the possibilities of failures saving cost and time. The changes based on the customers’ requirements and feedback can be incorporated through the iterative process of building, measuring, and learning ensuring to completely meet the market needs.

MVP is a concept used in Agile Project Management, also known as Lean Start-Up.

Also Read- An Entrepreneur’s guide on Minimum Viable Product (MVP) 

Tips to get there faster

There have been conversations, theories, discussions, and certain successful ways around the concept of validating MVP software development. A one-page template format was introduced to help startups find the viable product market that fitted the strong value proposition and customer requirements.

Later, The Lean Startup concept was introduced by Eric Ries, which became the prototype for building and launching the new products. Based on the product line, there are different ways and tips to get to an MVP faster that have been shared by experienced developers and entrepreneurs themselves.

Develop with a low or no-code software

To build or launch a new product, you can either build or buy the software. Or, the latest one is, to make it with low or no-code software. Purchasing a new software comes with a huge cost and might have limited or no customization options. Building the software in-house requires hiring developers, which again is going to be expensive. However, this is the easiest way to get exactly what you want. 

If you opt for building your MVP software on low or no-code software, you can quickly translate your idea into an app that can be experimented with. The results will provide you with a fair idea of whether you should invest in developing a full-fledged application or not.

Create a landing page

Creating a landing page to promote your services will help you capture the customer’s basic details like email address, phone number, and more. Based on user interactions, you can analyze the features that should be dropped, improved, or added. 

Including feedback and short surveys on the landing page can be of great help to understand the potential customers and the reasons behind their buying decision. This in itself is an MVP to design, test and deliver the final product.

Identify the value proposition

Having clarity on what value your product will add for customers will ease the complete process enabling the entrepreneurs and developers to create a more linear MVP roadmap.

With the help of feedback and test, narrow down the value proposition of the proposed product to create the MVP software. Features and functionality should be aligned with the core of the value proposition.

Stay focused

To create a new product, the best approach is to follow a backward approach by staying focused on the main point. Getting lost or stuck by getting into the details might make you lose track. 

The MVP, ideally should be created to put your product in front of the audience so that you can gather feedback and make required iterations to improvise the product. MVP made with a mindset to launch the product for quicker profit-making is the wrong approach. You can save on redoing multiple steps by eliminating the unnecessary functionalities.

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Achieve your business goals with MVP

‘Doing extended development of an unreleased software product is building a tower of hope on a foundation of assumptions.’ – Shawn Crowley

With a clear understanding of the need of MVP, let us now align the benefits with business goals and talk about the key aspects of launching MVP software.

Acts as a miniature or a tester of the product or service

Starting your product with a minimum viable product keeps the team focused on the core functions and value of the product and the software. This approach helps in reducing cost, reducing errors and risks many times over. With the feedback and product analysis, you can actually come up with a correct business idea that works and will be economically feasible.

In other words, you can hypothecate the product with minimal resources. It saves your team from procrastination by keeping it clear and crisp by not including unnecessary and unneeded features. 

With the MVP approach, it is easier to find and fix bugs and challenges reducing the rework. Multilayered functionality software makes it difficult and time-consuming to firstly find the bugs and fixing them too will force you to push the deadlines.

Faster release time

It is always beneficial to test the waters before taking a dip. The fundamentals remain the same with MVP design. Easier and quicker release is only possible if you are able to launch the primary feature of your product successfully. 

MVP helps you to release the product quicker and provides you an opportunity to start building relationships with your target audience. This can become the firm ground for later success. 

Testing the market at an early stage saves from expensive mistakes by ensuring that there is actual demand for your product/service. MVP does exactly this.

Product evolves as is showcased

Building a MVP paves way for evolution into later stages of software development. MVP created with a focused approach on the core functionality, you create room for new features and updates based on customer feedback. Regular upgradation of the product features not only adds value but offers a feel good experience to the end customers.

With gradual growth with MVP, you can benefit from newer technologies as it becomes available. It will ensure that your product remains relevant and updated in the competitive market.

Increase the learning curve of the team

From the basic launch of the product till full-fledged delivery, the product evolves with time in terms of feature and technical aspect. This, in-turn provides a lot of opportunities to the development team to get in-depth learning of the product, thus adding the best techniques and technical aspects that will enhance the product.

As mentioned earlier, MVP is an iterative process, it offers the opportunity to the team with a platform to learn and adopt iterative processes like Agile increasing the learning curve of the team.

Benefits of an MVP

Adopting a technology or a feature only becomes viable if it has some benefits attached to it. Now that we have understood what MVP is in software development, business benefits need to align with the same. Listed below are some of them.

Enter the market with a small budget

MVP, as the name suggests, is the launch of a product or service with minimal, yet viable functionalities. Even if there are failures, these can be handled by eliminating and correcting the errors, weaknesses, and mistakes without having any loss. Most startups launch their products or services with MVP software to assess the economic viability of the product/service.

Find the right audience

With the MVP concept, the primary objective is to find the right target audience for your service/product. With MVP, you can gather feedback, can conduct surveys, and gather suggestions depending on time and knowledge

By having a clear understanding of the audience, and fitment of the offerings, you eliminate the hypothesis theory by testing the product. Making iterations with this understanding will have fewer errors, ultimately, minimizing the risk and speeding up the development process.

Create a balance between the audience and the product

It’s a nightmare to find out later that we are building or creating something that no one wanted. Building a viable product thus becomes necessary. Knowing if the product is viable should be done MVP software design at an early stage. By figuring out the customers’ needs, it becomes easier to create a balance between the offerings of the product and the requirements of the end-users. 

To balance the needs and the offerings, it is important to gather maximum quality feedback. With MVP, you can target a specific group of users to collect quality feedback and responses.

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Success stories of the businesses that started with MVP development

The strategy of building MVP saves time, effort, and money. Understanding the same with examples will provide further clarity and confidence in the approach that MVP design applies in bringing businesses closer to becoming giants.

Success stories of the businesses

Let us start with a simple example of a doughnut. The basic is a sweet round bun with a hole (MVP) as this is the basic requirement to kill your hunger. Once this was liked and accepted by the customers, iterations were done to enhance its taste by topping it up with chocolate or cream. This is improvisation or the product that fulfills the basic need along with enhanced taste. Similarly, some of the giants adopted the MVP approach to launch the initial product and later added functionalities to enhance its usability and reach. 

Facebook

Originally Facebook was called “Thefacebook”. It was developed as MVP that helped American students from different schools stay connected. Initially, it was launched in four universities in America. A simple application that was tested on a segment of the audience for a year later opened access to everyone across geographies.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a known file-hosting company. With a team of one member, the co-founder of the company, the approach of MVP was implemented in the form of an explanatory video that demonstrated the possibilities and innovative functions of the technology. Surprisingly, the number of signups increased 5 times in just one night, without an actual product. 

Today, it has over 600 million users. By testing the business hypothesis and learning the actual market needs, Dropbox used the MVP strategy without the release of the actual software.

Groupon

With time, the original idea was changed/modified to meet the market needs. The app was launched as MVP to gather people with the intent of helping each other and running a crowdfunding campaign or boycotting some negligent stores. 

Later, users started sharing special coupons and promo codes. The requests were handled manually by sending emails to individual customers with all the information. The MVP approach helped in saving costs on software development and could help in getting the results from the idea (testing the product viability). It later became the most popular eCommerce platform serving global customers..

Twitter

Initially named “twittr”, was introduced as an SMS communication platform between employees of Odeo – a podcasting platform. For testing the product, the MVP software only had the feature of sending messages with no hashtags, replies, reposts, etc. Later the product evolved into, what we know today as “ Twitter”, a stand-alone social networking platform.

How can Appinventiv become your MVP Development Partner?

Being the fastest growing digital transformation company, Appinventiv can very well be your MVP development partner that will convert your product idea into reality. 

With past experiences and successful implementations, we have helped many businesses deliver successful results by taking a foolproof approach with MVP development services.

We take pride in being a custom software development company that partners with businesses through every stage of software development. Our team is enthusiastic and ready to take up every challenge to ensure the delivery of effective and elegant solutions to improve their daily business processes.

Share your business idea with Appinventiv and give a kick start to your dream project.

Final Thoughts!

MVP is all about analysis and strategy and not development. You test your theories and draw the relevance and demand of your product and end-users. Businesses then refine the idea based on their user base to create an efficient product that can later be improvised into a great product. MVP is the most viable approach to take for any startup or product company.

FAQs

Q. What do I start with when creating an MVP?

A. To start a business, only the idea or wish does not work. Knowing the right users and knowing whether they need your product/service or not is the first step. So, clearly, to proceed with MVP, you must:

  • Define your vision
  • Know your users/customers, and analyze the viability of the product through your users.

Q. What are the different types of MVP product templates?

A. There are many approaches to MVP product development. Some of them are listed below-

  • Wizard of MVP – Half manual, half functioning solution. This can be used for testing the solution with limited features.
  • Piecemeal MVP – New ideas can be tested with already existing services. Projects with tight budget benefit from this approach
  • Concierge MVP – Helpdesk where most of the solutions are provided by humans. This approach helps in knowing the market relevance of the service/product.
  • Single Feature MVP – Solve only one problem that has been the pain point for the target audience. This approach is useful for verifying the technical feasibility of an application.

Q. What is the best way to create an MVP?

A. MVP helps in testing your idea with a minimum feature that is functional, saves time and cost. Once the idea is accepted the end result will be a successful product/service. All this boils down to:

Build -> Measure -> Learn -> Iterate

THE AUTHOR
Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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