What is MVP and why is it necessary?
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Anna Chebanova
Media manager
APPROACH
Jul 04 2016

What is MVP and why is it necessary?

MVP development for websites and mobile applications is a common practice in today’s IT industry. This type of development is especially useful in the planning phase of an entrepreneur’s project or startup.

What is MVP?

MVP stands for minimum viable product. An MVP product has a bare bones design which is then tested on the market to see whether or not it has the potential to succeed.

To perform this initial testing, the product only needs the most essential functions; anything beyond minor functionality is not added. The MVP version of the product is the most reasonable tool, in terms of both time and money, to help determine the product’s potential. The MVP method can be used to develop any product, including mobile apps and websites.

Why is MVP necessary?

MVP is needed to get the early data that confirms user interest in a product. Positive results at the MVP stage give the green light to begin developing the full version of the product.

Those that create and test a minimum viable product can:

  1. Save time and resources by making sure they are investing in a project which is likely to be successful;
  2. Check whether the project is appealing to potential users;
  3. Find out which trend will be optimal for full product development, with the help of integrations;
  4. Aсquire a potential client base and find the product’s early adopters;
  5. Save time and money in end product development by not needing to conduct expensive market research;
  6. Attract investors earlier.

Here is an example of how MVP works:

End product development takes 6-8 months with a budget of $200 000. As a result, you get a final product that you put on the market and then you wait for user reactions - they either like it or not. In the case that your product does not appeal to users, the time and money spent on developing it becomes a waste.

The MVP method allows you to speed up the product’s launch as only essential features are required before you can begin getting real feedback on the overall concept. MVP development usually only takes 1-1.5 months with budget of $10 000 - $15 000. See the difference?

MVP example

Apps and sites which grew from their initial MVP form:

Foursquare - The company’s MVP contained check-ins and awards for them in the form of badges. After assessing initial user reactions, the developers started to expand the product, adding recommendations and city-guides. Today, Foursquare unites 50 million people who have checked in over 8 billion times.

Instagram - Initially, the MVP was focused on photo filters only. Users could take pictures, apply one of the suggested filters, and save them in an album on their device. Users liked the application and it has since been updated to include videos, geolocation, tagging other users, adding hashtags, and integrating with other social networks.

Facebook, Snapchat, Spotify, Airbnb, Dropbox, and many other popular products were also developed as MVPs first.

Tips for MVP development

MVP development means finding the right balance between minimal design and maximum value. The MVP version should showcase a product’s most basic purpose and functionality. Development should be minimal, but should not deprive the product of its unique selling points.

Focusing too much on radical minimalism when creating an MVP may result in a product that is unsuitable for accurate market demand research. It may even do damage to a brand's image if the MVP version does not offer users an overall impression of the product.

We recommend starting MVP development by initially adding only the functions essential for the project. Parts of functionality should be added during the testing process, as user feedback comes in. By developing in this way, a product can be created and validated by early users. Further product development, based on user feedback, will ensure that components being added match what users want or expect of the product.

MVP version examples: not enough, optimal and too mach functionality

In the process of MVP development, here are some dos and don’ts to take into account:

DO:

  • Maintain minimal functionality at a high quality;
  • Be oriented towards big markets;
  • Keep a monetization model in mind;
  • Monitor and apply user behaviour;
  • Get into the market as soon as possible;
  • Study competitors;
  • Come up with a marketing plan and strategy that attracts a large number of users.

DON’T:

  • Add unnecessary functionality;
  • Delay market entry by trying to add features again and again;
  • Forget about the product’s overall viability;
  • Be afraid to start again if MVP results aren’t favourable.

Is your product viable?

Product viability is a key characteristic of MVP development. What a product does is much more important than how it does it. A viable product meets user demands by performing one main function properly.

Research shows that 60% of product or app features are not used at all by users. These features are an unnecessary waste of development time and resources.

In essence, MVP development should look like this:

Right MVP development

Need help developing an MVP for your idea?

SteelKiwi Inc. has developed MVPs for all sorts of projects, websites, and applications.

We highly recommend considering an MVP to save yourself time, money, and resources when entering the market with a new idea.

Our expert team offers full consultations for minimum viable product development. Get in touch with us via e-mail at hello@steelkiwi.com or on Skype, username: steelkiwisales.

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