The MVP development in a software project has been gaining remarkable significance in recent times. Developers adopt the MVP approach to test the software’s performance, minimize errors in the final product, and reduce overall development cost. This is particularly true for startup businesses where the resources, budget, and technical skills are limited.
But what is MVP, and why is it important in software product development? Let’s understand why MVP software development is worth considering, especially for the startup companies.
What is MVP?
According to Techopedia, “A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users.”
The concept has come from Lean Startup that focuses on the importance of “validated learning” in new product development. As defined by Eric Ries of Agile Alliance, MVP 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.”
The critical idea behind MVP development is to develop a version of the software product that you can offer to the client to evaluate its features and performance. Once you get the feedback from your clients, the final product can be developed with improved features and functionality to meet end-user expectations.
What are the Advantages of Minimum Viable Product in Software Development?
Do you know 9 out of 10 startup businesses fail because they spend money too fast? The reasons are manifold: sophisticated design, poor development cost estimation, unreliable marketing approach, or too many improvements. Therefore, you need a Minimum Viable Product to help prevent failure.
There are several reasons why startup MVP development is essential:
- It is an early testing phase in software product development
- Identify early adopters for your product or solution and assess how it can add customer value
- Determine whether the software project meets your client’s expectations
- Avoid costly mistakes or bottlenecks in the later stage of product development by identifying the loopholes in an early phase
- Can be used to gather feedback for user intelligence
- Save time and money
The key benefit of MVP software development is to understand whether the client has an interest in the product or does it fulfill their business objective without developing the software altogether. Gaining validated learning about the product’s features, and functionality from early adopters will help identify the limitations or errors at an initial phase, saving the cost and time of revisions once the software has been finally developed.
MVP development helps in building a cohesive vision of the final software solution and allows developers to complete the project faster and within budget.
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What is MVP Development Process?
It is essential to understand that MVP in software product development is not similar to building mockups or prototypes. Simultaneously, developing a set of features without validating their viability to the client is baseless.
Here are the steps that your development team should follow to build and test your minimum viable product in a successful way.
1. Market Research and Analysis
One of the fundamental reasons why startups fail is a lack of market research and a vague understanding of what your clients expect from the software project. Ideating a great product is not enough; it must add value to the customers. Therefore, thorough market research is crucial for any software development project. It should answer the question – what problem will the software solution address?
2. Map the Users Journey
This allows you to identify the user’s journey through the product, i.e., how they will use the software, the key procedures, types of dissatisfaction, etc. This is an important step of MVP development because it helps you monitor, track, and measure users through the entire product lifecycle. Once the user journey is determined, it will help develop features around the same.
3. Brainstorm Software Product Features
For startup MVP development, it is vital to develop software with minimum features to evaluate acceptance with early adopters. Therefore, you need to perform in-depth research and determine your value proposition to create a list of features you want the product to have. Make sure the components are appropriate for the first version of your software product.
4. Build Your MVP
When it comes to Minimum Viable Product, there is no one way of doing it. Investing more in MVP is not always the way to go. Qualified.io made their MVP in less than $1k, and today, they are earning millions of dollars more than the business that had probably spent $1 million or more in MVP built-up.
Remember, an MVP is not a Proof of Concept and is used to evaluate the software’s market viability. In most cases, it is displayed to the client for review. The objective is to get user feedback on the product’s initial features and performance and optimize it before building the whole project. Make sure it has the minimum elements that the client would like to have first.
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How to Perform MVP Estimation?
Just like estimating any software project, MVP estimation can help you understand how the procedure works. The estimate is based on the technology stack. However, it should include the time taken to develop the front-end part, back-end part, and the design part for each feature you have determined to include in the MVP.
Typically, there are two approaches to MVP estimation:
i) Estimation for agile software development: It involves approximate assessment of the software project based on the initial requirements. It is not the final estimate. This type of estimate’s advantage is that product requirements can be easily modified, and it can be provided even with the product concept. Since the estimate can be delivered quickly, it aids in the earlier start of software development.
ii) Estimation for fixed-price software development: Depending on the project’s detailed requirements, a more precise estimate is provided. Typically, the final cost does not vary majorly from the estimate. The advantage is that software requirements are specific, and every person involved in the project understands what the outcomes will be. As such, the costs and project deadlines are also known.
There are several critical steps to MVP estimation. Make sure your project manager or developer has thorough training utilizing each step to provide a reliable estimate.
MVP = Minimal Design + Maximum Value
The above expression indicates that the developers need to understand that MVP development is the process of achieving the perfect balance between minimal design and maximum value for your client.
Yes, building MVP ideally means including as little features as considered important to test market viability. But too much minimalism when developing a Minimum Viable Product may make the product unsuitable. Additionally, it can significantly harm your brand’s reputation.
Therefore, experts suggest adding only the MVP version’s key functions that you consider important as per client’s expectations and needs.
4 Facts About MVP Development You Should Know
There you go, the four facts that you should know about MVP development:
#1: MVP is not aimed to impress
The MVP version is designed to resolve client problems with its simple design and functionality. It should not be regarded as a “full-featured solution” at the initial stage of software design and development. It is not the final iteration but includes only essential features that strike a balance between efficiency and usability.
#2: MVP does not emphasize increasing the speed to market
Instead, it is more focused on client acceptance and gathering vital user data that can help improve the product’s overall quality and functionality. Faster delivery to the market is undoubtedly hyped about MVP.
#3: MVP is not the end product
MVP defines the user journey of a software product, involving only the key features that your client needs or you think is important for the initial version. It is designed only to understand the user’s review and get feedback for product improvements. It is not the end solution.
#4: MVP is not just for startups
Indeed, it helps save more time and money for startups who have limited resources and budgets. But the business of any size and complexity can benefit from MVP software development.
Knowing the importance of MVP in software development and having an estimate is important for any business. It helps determine whether or not the software project is lucrative and how you can add value to the end-user. Radixweb offers a plethora of professional software product development services to create MVP and enhance your project’s value while minimizing risks.