How to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Our approach, Start up

MVP development guide

According to a study by CB Insights, 42% of startup failures are due to a lack of market demand. In almost half of the cases, entrepreneurs spend months or even years of work only to realize that the hypothesis was wrong and no one is interested in their product.

The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) concept is designed to minimize the risk of such a situation. It applies to creating any product, but it is more often used for the development of software and digital services.

We've compiled a list of best practices to help you build your MVP.

What is an MVP?

MVP sounds like a minimum viable product. A minimum viable product is a product in its minimal design shown to buyers/investors to test demand.

There is more accurate decoding that characterizes MVP is the prototype of your future product.

The term itself was coined back in 2001 by business consultant Frank Robinson, co-founder, and president of the consulting firm SyncDev. Robinson defines MVP as the result of "synchronous development" - the simultaneous development of a product and research of the target audience, its reaction to the product. MVP is a version of a future project that allows you to collect as much useful data as possible about how customers interact with it at a minimum cost.

Later it was included in the “customer development” methodology. It is when an idea or a prototype of a product is created in a minimal configuration and tested on potential consumers.

A minimum viable product is not created for testing technologies but to test in practice whether such a product is needed, whether the hypotheses underlying the business model are correct. The main task is to minimize the time and effort spent on testing the market for an idea.

MVP advantages

Thus, the minimum viable product allows:

  1. confirm the viability of the idea and test hypotheses about the product using real data;

  2. identify trends that can be used when developing the full version of the work;

  3. reduce the risk of financial losses in the event of an unsuccessful product release;

  4. Increase value by prioritizing and developing unclaimed features

  5. speed up the search for errors and internal testing of the product;

  6. collect user base before the full-scale launch;

  7. use your niche market and attract investors before your competitors.

MVP types

The main task of the MVP is to test the future product on a live audience. Consequently, the quality and accuracy of test results can affect the development process’s efficiency and speed. Therefore, the types of Minimum Viable Product are divided into two groups: high confidence and low. They can be combined and used in parallel.

High-Fidelity

MVPs with high confidence require more training, resources, and analytical work. They are used to:

  1. defining and optimizing marketing strategy;

  2. testing value proposition, communication channels, CTA;

  3. finding potential growth strategies;

  4. finding primary buyers and niches in the market;

  5. analysis of information about the demand for the product being developed.

Types of High-Fidelity MVP:

  1. The “Concierge” MVP. Developers manually guide and control the customer within the product instead of using automated algorithms. Suitable for development in the field of artificial intelligence.

  2. The “Wizard of Oz” MVP is similar to the Concierge type but more advanced in quality. The product is also managed by human labor, but the product itself looks and feels like a real solution.

  3. Pre-order MVP is a demo that a developer sells before the full product is released. It allows people to become the first users of the product and the developers to test the idea’s profitability.

  4. Single-Feature MVP focuses on a single problem. It is a simplistic literal solution that addresses only one specific client pain. In the future, development and evolution into a more complex product are possible.

Low-Fidelity

The next group of MVPs is characterized by low confidence and simplified data collection methods. They do not require careful programming and massive financial investments and lead to less accurate results. Their main tasks:

  1. study the practical value of the product;

  2. find the most effective and popular solutions to the problem;

  3. help identify and understand the client's needs;

  4. analyze the niche and know if the game is worth the candle.

Types of Low-Fidelity MVP:

  1. Blogs

  2. Forums/communities

  3. Polls / questionnaires

  4. Landing page

  5. Video instructions

  6. Advertising campaign

  7. Presentation / layout

  8. Crowdfunding campaign

  9. Services for reviewing new ideas

MVP development: a step-by-step guide

The Sannacode team helps to design profit center products for their clients. Today we decided to share a step by step algorithm for setting up a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

1. Formulate value for users

Each product is created to solve a particular problem, and it's not about making a profit. It requires a customer-centric approach. Why does a user need a product?

By clearly formulating the answer, you will get an idea of ​​the product's objective and its value to the user. 

2. Choose a narrow audience

Focusing on the needs of a wider audience when designing an MVP is a flawed strategy. Narrowing down the target audience allows you to target the future product more accurately. To do this, you need to formulate a portrait of an “ideal” user, a person who will buy your solution without hesitation and will be satisfied with its capabilities.

3. Analyze your competitors

Even if you develop something genuinely new, some companies are already active in your chosen industry. Their experiences, advantages, and disadvantages are worth studying carefully. Find out what their market share is, why customers come to them, and what makes them unique. You can check user reviews of your competitors and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Use this information to refine your product concept.

4. Think over the final product

The word “minimum” in the term “minimum viable product” suggests that you have a vision for the final product as a whole.

You need to define a “complete” product in the form of a long list of User Stories - this will be your product backlog.

Feasibility, cost, or other constraints should not be taken into account at this stage. We advise you to describe everything - even the most unrealistic and expensive functionality, and you can set priorities later.

Add them to your backlog at a lower priority to stay visible and useful in the right context.

Review and refine User Stories until your product is fully described. Your “complete” product backlog should include all the functionality you can think of, reflecting the needs of all the user classes you define. And all of this should be in the form of cohesive User Stories.

5. Define the main feature for the MVP

At this point, you need to build the best minimum feature set based on your full product backlog.

The minimum set of functions should solve the main problem and completely cover the user's needs.

To pick out the main features, you need to put together a team and brainstorm. Prioritize the backlog based on the value and effort of each part.

Next, make a list of the essential features. Prioritize the list of features again and select less important ones. Repeat this until you have 1-3 features left on your list.

6. Determine the indicators of success

Before embarking on profit center development, you should define success criteria and metrics. Define KPIs and their underlying data, define and document KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that will reflect your product’s performance over time and other measurements.

You will likely need a conversion rate funnel and a dedicated dashboard as a single, reliable benchmark for your product's performance.

7. MVP test

MVP requires regular testing throughout development. Alpha testing is done internally by testers, but beta testing will need outside help. It's okay if these are people from among future users. Those wishing to participate in the test can be found on BetaList, ProductHunt, Reddit, Quora, or recruited through their communication channels: social networks, blogs, and email newsletters.

The main task of testing will be the technical improvement of the MVP. Before release, the product must work without errors so that technical problems do not prevent users from evaluating its functionality.

8. Launching the MVP and getting feedback

Getting user feedback is one of the most challenging tasks. Epp store ratings and reviews will tell you something, but your goal is to get as in-depth feedbacks as possible. It is essential always to be available to your audience - create accounts on social networks, monitor forums where your target audience is located, add your contact information to the profit center and let users know that you will always be glad to hear their opinions and comments.

Keep in mind that people tend to talk more about what they don't like than about what they want. So just because you get more negative reviews than positive reviews doesn't mean your product is terrible.

Statistics, rather than user reviews, determine product viability. You can use special tools to track the activity of your users.

The hardest part here is to correctly interpret the results obtained and, based on this data, continue to develop your product.

Conclusion

So, you've developed everything and launched everything. Perhaps the most crucial advice is that if something went wrong, then maybe you should decide that this idea does not make sense to develop further. It is one of the most challenging decisions a developer can make. Still, sometimes it happens, and it is better to abandon your idea early in its development than after many months of labor. In any case, thanks to the MVP of your product and the reaction of your audience, you will learn a lot of useful information that will be useful to you in the future.

If you have a great idea and want to validate it, fill out the form below, and the Sannacode team will help you with the MVP development.

 

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