Product Development

3 Easy steps to build a successful Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

How to build an MVP that validates your startup idea? What is the process of MVP development? And, how can it help you make a splash in your industry with less time and costs?

If you’re searching for answers to the questions above, you landed on the right page!

Table of content:

  1. Identify Your MVP’s Core Features
  2. User Testing
  3. Release and Keep Iterating

It may look like apps like Airbnb and Uber have rushed into our lives at full tilt and immediately gained global recognition with millions of users. However, only a few people would remember that these apps didn’t start as polished as they are today. The businesses that they have grown out to be today,  it’s almost difficult to imagine that once they were undeveloped apps too. And it is even more difficult to imagine how succeeded exactly due to gradual growth.

If you’ve read about Eric Ries’  ‘Lean Startup’ methodology, you must know how widely it is used all over the world. It is aimed towards shortening the development cycle and building startups according to the needs of the early customers in the international to reduce risks and outlays.

In today’s IT industry, developing an MVP is a basic practice. It is considered to be useful in the planning and building of a product. So if you’re planning to launch your own product, here’s how to build an MVP to quickly test and validate your idea!

What is an MVP?

Before we list down the benefits of an MVP and how you can build one for your startup, let’s first understand what exactly it is.

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an initial product with a minimum set of features that solves a definite problem of the users. The basic set of features are enough to attract early-adopter customers and validate your value proposition.

Eric Reis, the person who introduced the concept, says:

minimum viable product

A startup may decide to develop and release an MVP because they want to:

  • Introduce the product as quickly as possible;
  • Test if their target market is actually ready to adopt the product or not;
  • Learn about their target market through feedback.

Also Read: From Idea to Product: A comprehensive guide to the product design process

Benefits of Building an MVP

In today’s competitive business landscape, an MVP can help you provide immediate value to your customers while also minimizing development costs. By gathering data and feedback, businesses can then improve future iterations of the product.

Below are 5 major reasons how building an MVP can benefit you:

  • User-Focused Design Approach

An MVP is developed to solve a user’s key problem and is constantly iterated as per the user’s needs. It gathers valuable feedback constantly to provide an improved version of the product at each iteration.

  • Immediate Testing

By offering the core set of features rather than a fully developed product, organizations can easily establish if their product’s concept resonates with their target audience or not. Based on the findings, it further provides an opportunity to make changes. An MVP also helps businesses identify which social group, in their target audience, are the most active users and how they interact with the product.

  • Developing Early Relationship With Customers

The immediate goal of a business is to build trust with their existing customers while also connecting with the new ones. It’s no secret that timing plays an important role in developing that relationship. An MVP helps in engaging early adopters and stakeholders during the initial stage of the development process. These early users will then spread the word about your product and also give valuable feedback. All this nurtures the relationship between a business and its customers.

  • Protects Credibility

An MVP is the true image of your product shown to the public. You build an MVP to explore the market and your target audience before making the actual commitment to investing a fortune into it. So even if it fails, it will fail quickly – without you spending too much money. This is a better business idea than pouring in a big amount of your budget into a project that fails within a year – and trust us, you won’t like that.

How to build an MVP in 3 easy steps:

1. Identify Your MVP’s Core Features

The first step to MVP development is finding out what features you want to include in your early product? These are the core features that are going to be the identity of your product. This is how you’re going to make a mark in the market. Start off by answering the following questions:

  • What are the problems of your users that you’re trying to solve with your product?
  • How are they dealing with the existing problem today?
  • How does your feature help them tackle the problem in an easier way?
  • Which of your product’s features are ‘needed’ and which of them are ‘wanted’?

There is a big difference between a product needing the feature and wanting it. Features that are ‘needed’ are the ones a product cannot exist without. For example, Uber’s location tracking feature. Without it, a user won’t be able to provide their exact location to be picked up, hence the app will be of no use.

On the other hand, features that are ‘wanted’ are unique and are able to convince users to try out your product. A user able to change their location or able or see the contact details and past history of a driver who is picking them up are useful features that can help your MVP stand out from others in the market. If you’re unsure about if a feature will be used or how often it is going to be used, it is likely to be a want and not a need.

In order to make a great MVP, you do not only cover all the needs but also a good number of wants to validate your product idea. It highly depends on your business and your product to identify what is the right amount of features they want to target.

2. User Testing

Now that you have your MVP’s core features listed, it’s time to identify and find out if they are worth to be included in your final product. How do you find out if the user really ‘wants’ or ‘needs’ that feature? How do you know which features are worth investing in or which are not? That is why we recommend user testing using as many mediums as you can. While doing user testing, don’t forget to include the core features you want to test. Don’t fully invest in these features yet, Instead, create a dummy project and see how many users are interested in it.

dropbox how to build an mvp

This is how Dropbox’s founders got the answer to the simple question – “Will anybody use this?”

3. Release and Keep Iterating

The whole idea behind an MVP is to release early and keep adapting to users’ feedback. As soon as you release your MVP, keep iterating by including features as per users’ needs. You’re likely to iterate for quite some time before it is fully ready to go to the market.  Find those crucial features that are tested, validated, and loved by your target audience and make them the main focus of your product. You may need a couple of MVP’s combined before you release your final product in the market. The moment at which you’re ready to launch the final product is called the Minimum Marketable Product (MMP).

In essence, an MVP aims to allow a business to quickly release its product out in the market with just the essential features and minimal investment. As you constantly iterate and build multiple MVPs to create an MMP, you’ll be able to build a product that is validated and thoroughly tested.

To Conclude

A good MVP is like a pilot that doesn’t sacrifice the overall vision of a product. Stripping down a product to its core features allows you to see how your audience will perceive it in the market. An MVP allows you to develop flexible business models according to customers’ needs.

This easy step-by-step guide on how to build an MVP will help you maximize your project’s value in front of your customers. All you need to do is plan out your core features and understand your target audience.

Need any help in building an MVP for your next project? Reach out to us here.