Anybody who is entering a new product development for the first time naturally come to the question of what is MVP and how it can be used as a part of smart business strategy. Here we give an all-encompassing answer to this question and illustrate how successful companies leverage MVPs to active their goals.
List of the contents:
- What is MVP
- How to develop an MVP
- How tech companies use minimum viable product approach
- MVP process for startups and enterprises
- MVP development cost on mobile app example
- In conclusion
MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT EXPLANATION
So what does MVP mean? MVP stands for a minimum viable product. In short, this is the basic product version that usually covers the fundamental components. Thus it includes features what target the main needs of the users. The minimum viable product facilities the overall development process. It helps to design, test and deliver the final product. Any additional features will be an advancement based on user experience and feedback. When your company is planning to build a new product, there are different ways to validate the ideas and understand users’ preferences. MVP project will be a great choice to find the solution handling both aspects. It has already worked successfully for plenty of companies.
Moreover, the minimum viable product provides businesses with an opportunity of the immediate benefits. The company receives a valuable and quick result whereas minimizing expenses. The MVP project lets the company test its product as well as helps to plan the next steps thoughtfully. In this business practice, interactions with the potential users and their feedback are used to outline the final product features. The development team works with a complete understanding of what the users actually want. This leads to fewer edits and iterations, thus the work will be less time and money consuming.
A lot of enterprises have started and reached their success with the MVP project development. It is clear that this approach doesn’t need recommendations, it has spoken for itself. Here is just a few of them:
It was initially started as an online bookstore in 1994. The developers focused on an MVP app with simple web design. Their main focus was on selling low price books. They empathized and supported the fundamental features to enter the market and later developed into the top 3 multinational technology company.
It appeared as the internal use product of Odeo. It was an SMS-based platform for employees who were not only testing but also using for social interactions. Twitter was presented to the public in 2006, and now it is known as one of the popular social platforms.
Andrew Mason had an idea to create a website that could bring people together for public meetings and activities. However he failed his initial target, he continued with the idea of sharing. He tried to share various deals daily by sending the discounts and vouchers manually to his subscribers. MVP product approach met all his expectations. It was launched in 2008 after successful testing, later Groupon created the backend and the voucher system.
The Swedish developers started with music streaming as their main product feature. They introduced the landing page in 2009 to check the needs of the market and if they could deal with all licensing concerns. Afterward, they were ready to enter not only the European music industry but become the world-known audio-streaming platform.
HOW DO YOU DEVELOP AN MVP AND WHERE CAN IT CAN BE APPLIED?
MVP development has become a popular approach among various companies.
Firstly, it is frequently chosen for startups. The company has the chance to test their product, engage with potential users and continue developing all the required features gradually while also looking for possible investors.
Secondly, large enterprises also adopt MVP product development quite often in order to improve the quality of services and be aware of the current customers’ preferences. The minimum viable product app can be a nice decision for them. It is a reasonable option for both new and well-established market players.
Startup go-to-market MVP strategy
The main reasons why startups develop MVPs – to show potential investors that they have the team that can work on something real, have achieved something viable, and have at least some user base that indicates demand for such product.
When the entrepreneurs come up with the idea of producing something new, it will be the perfect match to leverage the MVP process here. As we talk about startups, they require not only testing but resources as well. In most cases, the company has a limited budget to start. Thus they can focus on the initial idea and core functionalities. Later, when they present the MVP startup at the market they learn what direction they should move next. They start to work on improvement, adding new features or even change the initial ones if they do not get the positive feedback. At the same time, they have the opportunity to find new resources and investments if the first stage will be successful. Finally, they decrease the risks of failure to the minimum.
The main reasons why startups develop MVPs – to show potential investors that they have the team that can work on something real, that they have achieved something viable, and have at least some user base that indicates demand for such product.
Typical startup MVP strategy: Idea – Initial funding – the MVP launch – Market validation – More investment
Enterprise MVP software lifecycle
In opposite to startups, enterprises don’t seek for the funding, they use MVPs as a part of the advanced resources utilization strategy. They researching the viability of a new product for the mass market or internal use throughout building extra layers around the core idea, leveraging the feedback of actual users.
In order to have a well-established business, the company has to be always up-to-date, follow all innovations and improve the provided services. It is misleading that a minimum viable product only corresponds to startups, it has already been integrated into the software development lifecycle. This is a proven business strategy. After defining the production priorities the developers are able to start the minimum viable product creation. As soon as you launch the product, you will receive feedback for implementing the changes and improvement before investing too much time and resources into features that may be redundant.
MVP product lifecycle: Product definition – Priority identification – Implementation – the MVP launch – Feedback – Improvement
Despite the fact that the MVP development lifecycle is the same for both startups and enterprises, they chase the very different goals
HOW TECH COMPANIES USE MVPS AND WHAT BENEFITS THEY GET WITH THIS APPROACH
One of the most important business and marketing rules in particular – users come first. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a glossy application even with a brilliant idea at its core to see that it is used only by a thousand people around the globe. The task of any business is to get maximum exposure at a minimum cost. Right, a startup can’t gain the user base without having at least some app. In this context, the MVP process is the perfect balance between reasonable resources utilization and gaining the attention of potential customers, investors, media, etc.
Many businesses apply the minimum viable product as it helps to simplify the development process and reach the final purpose. It goes without saying that every company wants to create a successful product. It can be only fulfilled when its production has constantly increasing popularity among users. Therefore launching the new project, companies should be able to clearly see the product from the customer’s perspective. As long as you combine your ideas with the preferences of the users, you will get the expected results. Both tech and non-tech companies apply MVPs for their software products and apps connected to their services. This approach is appropriate in different business spheres as everyone will benefit from it.
The benefits of an MVP
Only needed functionality
When you start the MVP project, attention should be concentrated on finding and implementing the core function of the product. You get the chance to test your idea, collect feedbacks, present your product quicker at the market, and cut down the costs.
The company has the opportunity to check the basic version via the MVP product. You are not dealing with the feature-heavy expansion without careful consideration at first.
The MVP process includes learning the user opinions and considering their conception of the final result. Sometimes you might even change your intentions to meet the customers’ needs and avoid adding unnecessary developing steps.
The MVP startup acknowledges that your offer is targeted at the chosen market. In addition, the developers should differentiate it from similar projects by focusing on developing special MVP features which they want to present to the public.
Minimum viable product development includes the core functionalities, therefore the company is concentrated only on creating outlined steps. The production launch appears to be faster. The following task is to gather feedback, continue improvement and be ready to release the updates in a short time.
Starting MVP development is the most reasonable approach for your budget. You get the chance to investigate the market needs to make sure that your product is attractive. Depending on users’ feedback, you will know exactly what will be the next features that deserve the resources. As for another benefit, you will have fewer expenses, because overall development time is considerably shorter.
Challenges related to MVP development
The clear idea
The companies might face the challenges of determining their core function and purposes. Defining the minimum does not seem so easy, as we always want to add more and more features. It will be wiser to deliver something simple rather than spending resources on the unnecessary functions customers are not using. Actually, it is the first benefit that businesses should not forget that the minimum viable product is all about testing and learning from it.
An attractive offer
When we want to add attractiveness we might think about the excellent design that will catch the eye of the users. It is really true but then they wait for the functionality. Creating an MVP startup, make sure more time is spent on functionality, and only then extra features and complex design.
As mentioned above, we mostly focus on the final goals, dealing with an MVPs the developers should follow the step-by-step developing process. The company should accept that for example the MVP app will not be created as the complex app including all possible and expected features. It is the basic version that still needs improvement and resources but the most important thing it provides you with the perfect foundation for your project.
It does not matter if you are a newcomer or well-known market player, the development process will be quite similar. The main purpose is to receive the MVP that helps you to identify, develop and provide the features that meet the customers’ expectations and needs. In order to enter the market with a new proposition, it is worth spending time on testing, learning, and improvement. So how to create a minimum viable product? The main point here is to follow the step-by-step approach. The development process includes the following stages:
MVP process scheme
This is a common thing when the company gets the project idea and wants it to become a reality. The idea is an inevitable part of any product, but what’s more its purpose should be concerned first of all. Product definition includes the understanding of your business as well as market needs. You need to identify your users and analyze offers of your competitors in order to present a reasonable, attractive and unique offer.
You have to learn to get your priorities straight. It is not the easiest but really important stage of the MVP process. You need to step into the user’s shoes and learn what they expect from your product. The list of requirements will definitely help you to identify the core functionality. Just remember, all features cannot be implemented at once, this influences the development process and the user experience. The main functionalities must be only connected to the overall purpose.
As long as you clarify your priorities, start the development of the minimum viable product itself. To make it clear, we are not only giving a try for our idea, but we also develop its core version. Features are dependable, so also try to think ahead what else you would like to add on other stages. Therefore, the core version has to be capable of future innovations but specifically-oriented at the beginning.
The MVP launch
When the company focuses on launching the MVP project to the market, it can even be done in different ways. The company usually orientates the minimum viable product towards potential users. The well-established companies might even include advertising, whereas the startups are usually presented for possible investors. However, both of them are looking for the same things – feedback and appreciation.
Customers’ feedback helps to review and evaluate your previous work. Collecting and learning the comments on your MVP project, you will find out what is missing and what features are not necessary. The users’ reaction determines your abilities and whether your product is suitable for the market.
Applying the MVP process, you move in the right direction as all improvements are made only after careful considerations. You can always adjust the process as necessary. Improvement stage concentrates on testing and learning the quality to reach the initial goal. The company will be ready to direct resources on successful products and be satisfied with the final results.
EXAMPLE: MOBILE APP MVP DEVELOPMENT COST
Now let’s explore hot the aforementioned MVP process can be applied on practice and what is more important – how much the MVP development would cost.
For example, we’ll take on of the mobile application recently developed by our company Existek and use the Product Definition – Priority Identification framework to see what features should be delivered for the minimum viable product application ready to be published in App Store and Google Play.
In our case – the product is a mobile CRM application for the easy storage and management of the contacts obtained during the business meetings, events and just a regular everyday work of a sales rep.
Below is the list of the features that are planned to be implemented in the full version of the application:
- Login via email
- Login via social networks
- Creation of the user account
- Manual creation and editing of the new contact
- Automated creation of the contact via OCR business card scanning
- Location of other app users in the same area
- Integration with most popular CRMs such as MS Dynamics, Salesforce, etc.
From the product definition, we learned that this is the mobile customer relationships management system. Let’s define the features CRM can not work without. Those are the creation of your own account to sync the data with the cloud to make sure that your contacts will be available from any device and ability to create, store and manage the contacts data.
Creation of your own account and being able to create and manage your contacts – those are the features necessary for the CRM application MVP development.
At the same time, features like automated OCR creation of the new contacts, geolocation of other app users near you and integrations with other CRM systems are redundant, because the app can perform its main task (contacts storage and management) without introducing those functions at the launch.
Let’s see how those screens should look like. Later, this will help us to explain the MVP development cost.
Login screen which provides the user with the options to login to his account or create new account
Sign up screen has the standard fields needed to make a new account
Login page allows you to use your existing credentials. At the bottom of the screen, you can see other options for authorization like via Facebook or LinkedIn. This is the perfect example of the features that take extra time and affords to implement and are not necessary at the launch. Old fashioned email login would be enough.
This is the screen where the user can manage his personal information, add new contact details to his own digital business card, etc.
On this screen, the user can manually create or edit the contact, add email, photo, phone, address, organization, and other details.
This is how the contact card looks like within the application. Taping on the specific contact details user can initiate the call, launch email client or opens the link in the browser.
Also, for this CRM application we have created the contextual aware machine learning ORC feature, that scans the business cards, recognizes the text in the fields and also understand the type of the field. It can automatically distinguish field with the name and, for example, the field with the position and input that data to the contact card thus saving a lot of user’s time and efforts.
The last screen is the perfect instance of the feature that will be “too much” for the minimum viable product development. Basically, the short answer to the question “what is MVP” will be that this is the version of the application that can serve its primary goal without too many bells and whistles.
This screenshot is here just for example and won’t be accounted in our further cost calculation, because normally it wouldn’t be included in the MVP product.
So, how much such mobile application MVP will cost?
This application development process can be split into a few stages: concept design, backend service development, frontend development for both iOS and Android, testing, and, finally, launch.
- Fine UI and UX design for the 6 screens would cost approximately $2 000 and take up to 4 weeks to complete with all iterations
- Backend with the cloud-based database of the users and their contacts would cost about $ 3000. This also includes APIs and services ready to be connected with the features planned for future and integrations with other CRM systems and social platforms.
- Google Play ready native android application development, testing, and connecting to the backend would cost approximately $5 000
- Native iOS application, ready for publishing to the App Store, would cost approximately $6 000
- QA for two platforms will cost $1 000
As a result of this simple calculation, we have the final cost of approximately $17 000 for the native Android and iOS MVP applications. Although such an MVP product can be developed at a lower cost, this very version of the application perfectly corresponds with the goals of any startup.
It is build using the native framework for each platform, which provides users with the stability, best performance, and trendy design thus ensures high user retention and attractiveness for potential investors.
Such MVP application could cost up to $17 000
Under the hood, it has powerful backed that is ready for implementation of the new features, which means that new updates will be quick and easy to introduce.
All of those factors are very important for startups, especially those who work using the founding rounds model because they have to be extremely agile while still limited in time and resources.
We hope that you have found this article helpful and had the chance to find out what is MVP in software development or any other business strategy. We would like to stress the following points. The MVP project is the basic version of the product that includes core features. The presentation for the users before the launch gives you the chance to gather their feedback, analyze and learn it. The next stages of development and improvement will be explained and supported by the users’ needs. As a result, you will be sure that your company is developing and investing resources in something workable and it has the market demand.
In short, giving the correct answer to the question “what is MVP” helps us fully realize its purposes and benefits. Another thing to mention is the step-by-step MVP development process. You just need to implement each stage for reaching the final result. This strategy has been proven by a lot of successful projects in different companies. Both new and well-established businesses prefer the MVP process for its numerous benefits.
If you plan to build something new, you should definitely consider this approach. Don’t forget to have a professional consultation first, the qualified team will be a great decision here. If you have some ideas and need the assistance, you are welcome to contact Existek. We are an outsourcing company with great expertise in MVP as well as other business approaches. Feel free to contact us, use the contact form or the website chat widget to start the discussion. Our company is always glad to consult you and help to find your workable solution.