The most distinctive feature of every start-up life: short time to market. The shorter the better. At the same time, a start-up must offer a product the market wants, needs, and – the most crucial – is willing to buy.
This is the exact situation in which MVP development suits best.
What? Why? How? Read what an MVP is, why it suits start-ups best and how to create one.
Minimum viable product (MVP) stands for a ready-to-use product with only core features on-board. The aim is to get into the market as soon as possible, test customer interest and get relevant feedback.
MVP solutions differ from other testing products. Unlike a prototype or a beta app, it is ready to use by its audience. And, unlike a fully customised product, an MVP has only the main features the majority of its audience wants.
When start-up founders get to the implementation stage of their idea, they have a set of assumptions they need to test then decide whether or not they meet the market needs.
An MVP helps validate those assumptions and determines what the market values. Using the MVP development strategy, start-ups introduce only the most essential features earlier than their competitors.
At the same time, MVP development saves time and investment. Thus, it is the least risky strategy in case the product gets less-than-expected attention.
But when the product wins market share, it becomes easier to introduce new functionality, improve drawbacks and continuously polish existing features.
Step 1. Market study
Foremost, start-ups analyse who their target market is, how the new solution fits in with the market’s needs, potential users’ habits or workflow, and how it differs from the start-up’s competitors. It is also possible that prospective competitors do not have the same or similar feature simply because it is offbeat or too few people showed any interest in it.
Step 2. Feature list and prioritisation
After the market study, start-ups determine which features the future MVP could have and divide them into three categories: must-have, nice-to-have, for-the-next-release. They then determine how much time and resource the must-have list requires – or they can ask a development company for a free quote. This helps focus on the core and release it on time.
Step 3. Process design
When there is a feature list, start-up founders determine the scope of work together with the development team (usually, with BA or PM when start-ups do not have their own team and hire one):
- How will users interact with the digital solutions?
- What steps do users need to reach their goal?
- Do users need all the steps?
The result is the development plan divided into milestones with the number of team members needed to deliver the MPV on time.
Step 4. Product development
The MVP is being developed. The developers work on the front-end and back-end parts, then test the software and launch it.
Step 5. Feedback analysis and measurement
After users have tried the MVP, it is time to measure user satisfaction, gather opinions on the product, analyse it, and create an improvement plan.
Also, be prepared for major changes. This happens when the product has market interest but has not yet met market demands with its initial feature list.
As already mentioned above, the life of a start-up does not centre solely on the MVP development process. Start-ups focus on their target audience, a sound monetisation strategy, product presentations, networking and myriad other time-consuming, but unavoidable, small and big tasks. At the same time, someone must develop and polish the MVP: the software must have the look and feel of a finished product. It cannot be half-baked. Start-ups get no second chance or simply run out of money while still in the redevelopment stage
This is why start-ups hire a reliable development team: to help design and build the software and get the source code done on time, while they [start-ups] focus on more important, business-oriented tasks.