Entrepreneurs frequently contact us with ideas for their ground-breaking app, web-service, or web application. A software product that has the potential to create a new market or perhaps disrupt an existing one. Market research completed, business plan ready, financial backing sorted. They want to start. Everyone wants to get their product to the market as quickly as possible – which is when we introduce the concept of an MVP or Minimum Viable Product.
Just what is a Minimum Viable Product?
Who doesn’t want to see their idea in the market as soon as possible? A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the quickest and best way to achieve this goal.
An MVP is the minimal version of your product that allows you to provide value to your users, satisfy them, and gain their loyalty. Building a well-functioning MVP ensures that you can go live and do business as soon as possible. And you can immediately start collecting feedback and learn from your users.
An MVP makes all this possible. It also constrains the budget needed for a first release. And who doesn’t want to save money?
Misconceptions surrounding the term MVP: What it’s not
The idea behind an MVP is simple. Yet, there are many misconceptions about the concept:
- It’s not a prototype but a “real-world” production-ready release that’s easy to develop further.
- It’s not a proof of concept; it is a validated product, delivering value and ready for further growth.
What defines a good MVP?
A good MVP is highly focused and designed to solve a clearly defined problem. Or to deliver a commercially viable service that is easy to use and provides measurable benefits. A good MVP offers the opportunity to collect user feedback and measure how users are using your software, returning valuable information to guide later product iterations.
What about a poor MVP?
Conversely, a poor MVP lacks focus or fails to meet the actual needs of the potential users. Trying to deliver too many features will make it costly, and it will be difficult to classify and measure the feedback you receive from early adopters. Poorly designed interfaces will confuse users and will require many redesigns. And too many concessions will result in an MPV with no real raison d’être.
What can an MVP do for you?
- An MVP attracts investors – An MVP builds confidence in a product and shows possible investors that your product is catching on and delivering value. Experienced investors do not invest in an unproven idea or make assumptions. An MVP provides proof that they are making a good investment.
- An MVP builds confidence in your idea – We expect people to challenge your MVP. They will dissect it, discuss its pros and cons, criticize its novelty and question its usefulness. And that’s fine. That’s precisely what needs to happen. Feedback is essential for the continued growth of your product. You incorporate constructive feedback into each iteration, and in this way, improve your offering. If this process is followed, it will appeal to more and more users, increasing your market.
- An MVP illustrates the usefulness of your idea – You can believe that your idea solves a problem, but seeing is believing. Your MVP will demonstrate the potential of your product to potential users.
Based on all of the above, we suggest a couple of essential tips to bring your product to the market as quickly as possible. And for the lowest cost!
- Limit yourself to a minimum number of features – An MVP should effortlessly perform the most crucial tasks you want to offer your users. It’s advisable to start by listing the features needed to satisfy the first users of your product. Once you have listed these features, prioritize them. From this, you can identify the must-have features -those that will help you validate your product idea. Ideally, these features will be in the scope of your MVP.
- Keep the scope, and your costs, low – Your MVP should encompass essential product features only, so avoid feature creep. The development cost will depend almost entirely on the project’s scope, complexity, and scale. An MVP is substantially less costly when done well than working on a complex product with many (perhaps unnecessary) features using the traditional waterfall method.
- Be agile – Build a product that has immediate value for your customers at a minimal investment. There will be several iterations, and so you can spread your risk over multiple releases. Your investment is more gradual and intelligent since you only start investing in features when needed. The fixed price model only works for relatively small projects with clearly defined requirements that don’t change. In most cases, this is a pipe dream. In contrast, an agile model is the best choice for new products and services. And make no mistake: as you learn from your customers and users, requirements will change faster than you may expect. An agile team of software developers delivers results in short sprints, so you have the insights needed to adjust your development plans.
Get in touch
BSL has a track record of working on new product developments and can guide you on every aspect of product development – including the use of an MVP. Why not get in touch to discuss your web application, service, or app. We’ll help you keep your costs low and get your product to market as quickly as possible.