19-Step Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Checklist [With PDF]

Amit Manchanda
Amit Manchanda
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Are you looking to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to validate your software product idea and gather feedback from your target audience? An MVP checklist can help clarify your goals and guide you at every step.

We’ve outlined 19 key steps to take an MVP from ideation to launch (and beyond). Read about each item on the list in this post, and download our free PDF checklist to ensure you don’t miss any of these vital steps!

1. Establish Business Needs

Step 1 is about understanding the big “why” that’s driving your new product idea.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to build an exciting new digital product or a team at a large enterprise looking to address an internal challenge—it’s vital to clarify your business needs.

It’s also important to determine how you’ll measure success and what constitutes a solid product-market fit. If your core features don’t help your target market solve a pressing problem, you’ll need to scrap the idea or pivot.

Tasks to complete:

  • Identify the market gap and the problem that the product addresses
  • State why you are building this product
  • Determine the success parameters for analyzing product performance

2. Ensure Team Collaboration

Now it’s time to establish your team and get everyone on the same page in terms of methodologies, roles, and responsibilities. This is a foundational step because it will impact every stage of your design, development, and launch process.

Tasks to complete:

  • Identify the development model—preferably Agile
  • State roles and expectations for team members
  • Clarify each member’s role

3. Initiate Market Research

Conducting market research helps you identify a pain point that impacts potential customers and gaps in the current market—where existing solutions fall short in a meaningful way. Explore your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, along with their marketing strategies, to figure out how to differentiate yourself.

What if your product is so revolutionary that you currently have no competitors? Think broader! Even if you’re launching the world’s first commercially viable flying car, you’re competing with all other modes of transportation, along with other flying cars that will launch in the near future.

Tasks to complete:

  • Identify the competition—existing or potential
  • Study the competition workflow, strengths, weaknesses, and marketing strategies
  • Strategize to differentiate yourself

4. Identify Your Target Users

Now it’s time to get inside the heads of your potential customers, and there are plenty of tools to help you do this.

Based on your market research, build user personas, which are fictional examples of what your ideal user might look like. Although user personas are fictional, you’ll base them on data from interviews, surveys, and perhaps even focus groups if you have the budget to conduct them.

Tasks to complete:

  • Identify your product users
  • Use templates to create user personas
  • Ensure team empathy with user goals, needs, behaviors, etc.

5. Add Value

What core functionality do you plan to offer that will help you stand out in the market and ensure that customers have a seamless and enjoyable User Experience (UX)?

One tool for helping you add value is to create user journeys that map out the step-by-step path that each user takes from the time they access your desktop or mobile app, to the time they complete their mission.

You’ll want to identify what success looks like for different users and understand that journey in great detail.

Tasks to complete:

  • Create user journeys to document steps a user will take to perform various tasks
  • Identify success criteria for these tasks
  • Elucidate user stories, listing their actions and experiences in relatable language

6. Create Your Product Backlog

The product backlog is the single source of truth that identifies user needs, planned features, possible future features, competitive analyses, and (eventually) user feedback. This document clarifies the product vision and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Tasks to complete:

  • Combine all user journeys and tasks into a single reference
  • Add new ideas/suggestions to the list
  • Update the lists to sync them with customer feedback and competitive analysis
  • Create a supporting, documented product vision with short-term and long-term goals listed

7. Choose Your MVP Features

Now it’s time to prioritize features for your future product based on your user journeys. This list of features will help you determine what core functionality you want to include in this initial MVP launch, and which new features you’ll put in the product roadmap for possible future development.

Remember, your goal is to include just enough features to deliver on your value proposition and validate your business model. Scope creep will increase MVP development costs, slow down time to market, and defeat the purpose of building an MVP. That’s why feature prioritization is so important.

Tasks to complete:

  • Prioritize listed tasks to build MVP features
  • Identify the minimum possible critical tasks for the product to add value
  • List the user journeys and user stories that describe those critical tasks
  • Double-check to ensure you have not added “nice to have” tasks to your list

8. Create Your Development Team

Now it’s time to put together an experienced development team that has the skill set to deliver on your minimum viable product. Whether you’re recruiting internally or going with a software development outsourcing team, your team members can make or break the project.

Tasks to complete:

  • Select an experienced team
  • Confirm that they use mature, industry-standard processes
  • Ensure that they use an Agile development methodology, preferably with DevOps
  • Confirm their expertise in the required technologies
  • Build a flexible structure with a sound management system to ensure continuity

9. Decide on Your Tech Stack

This step involves thoughtful, in-depth discussions with your tech team to determine the best technology to support your product—not just as it exists today, but as it scales. You’ll weigh costs with benefits when building your technology stack.

Tasks to complete:

  • Discuss your tech stack with the development team and decide on a tech stack
  • Ensure that the chosen tech stack provides a reliable and cost-effective path to produce the MVP and the final product

10. Confirm Your Budget

Take a realistic look at the costs involved in designing, building, launching, and improving your MVP over time. Running out of money before you take the product to market will likely sink the entire endeavor, so plan carefully and make sure everyone signs off on the funds required and allocated.

Tasks to complete:

  • Plan spending for the build and post-launch activities
  • Make sure the development team signs off on the allocated funds

11. Validate Your Information Architecture

In this step, you’ll need to validate your Information Architecture (IA), ensuring that it’s sufficient to fulfill all the tasks and features involved in the user journey. You’ll also want to ensure that your IA is scalable without creating too much additional work for your team.

Tasks to complete:

  • Validate the IA of your MVP before starting work
  • Ensure the IA of the MVP represents all chosen user stories/journeys
  • Confirm that the architecture is scalable without too much rework

12. Build Wireframes and Prototypes

Wireframing allows you to envision the user flow and the journey customers take while using your product, and prototyping allows you to test different layouts to design a functional UI and UX. Consistency and predictability are key since they produce an intuitive product that people instantly understand.

Tasks to complete:

  • Wireframes ensure your user stories and journeys are structured
  • Prototypes allow you to string them together for validation and iterative improvement of critical user journeys by using personas and actual people
  • Confirm the interface is consistent, predictable, and accessible (usable by people with disabilities)

13. Establish Your MVP’s Brand Guidelines

Even though an MVP is simpler than a full-fledged product, it should still adhere to a look, feel, and branding that makes your product distinct and memorable. Work with your designer to create a unique brand, and create style guidelines for everyone to follow.

Tasks to complete:

  • Create your product’s distinct visual identity
  • Ensure the design team follows branding and style guidelines accordingly
  • Work on integrating the MVP development with the stated branding and style guidelines

14. Ensure Compliance and Security

Regulations abound, and you need to make sure your MVP adheres to important laws. These laws will vary from one region to the next and from one industry to another. For example, if you have European clients, you’ll have to think about GDPR rules related to collecting and retaining data. And if you’re serving healthcare clients in the U.S., HIPAA will come into play when handling patient data.

Tasks to complete:

  • Identify compliance requirements
  • Design a security framework for the product
  • Work with the development team to ensure the MVP architecture integrates compliance and security from the beginning

15. Stay Involved During Development

Even if you outsource every phase of your MVP design, development, and launch to an outsourcing partner, you still need to stay on top of their progress. Develop systems for consistent communication and progress reports.

Tasks to complete:

  • Ensure regular progress reports from the development team
  • Conduct discussions and reorientation meetings at every stage of product development

16. Launch Your MVP

Whatever your approach to getting that first round of users (landing pages, social media posts, etc.), it’s important to select an audience for your product launch that perfectly matches your target market. The right early adopters will form your initial user base and play a critical role in your product’s success by providing thoughtful feedback.

Tasks to complete:

  • Identify your initial audience: Target select users or make it open to all
  • Invite/alert your early adopters to start using your MVP

17. Track Your MVP’s Performance

Tracking behavior and feedback from real users is key to a successful product launch, especially when it comes to MVPs. Identify a list of important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and track them.

Tasks to complete:

  • Decide and list relevant metrics to assess the MVP, such as: Traffic, engagement, active user count, Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC), churn rate, customer satisfaction levels, etc.
  • Track these metrics and monitor them actively

18. Get Feedback

Testing your MVP and gathering feedback are among the most important goals of an MVP launch, up there with validating the product idea itself. There are many MVP tools you can use to gather and analyze feedback, and taking a systematic approach will help you make good use of that feedback.

Tasks to complete:

  • Take customer feedback at the end of critical user journeys
  • Make it easy for the customer to reach out with feedback
  • Collate data into insightful reports for further action

19. Implement Feedback & Test

You obviously won’t act on all the feedback you gather—that would be impossible. However, you’ll want to take the best ideas, prioritize those feature requests (as you did in step 7), and get to work improving your product.

Tasks to complete:

  • Iterate your MVP based on user feedback and metrics learnings
  • Test how the changes affect the metrics and user feedback

Need Help Bringing Your MVP to Life?

Building a successful MVP from scratch is no simple task, and hiring a team of experienced designers, developers, and marketers can greatly increase your odds of success.

Net Solutions has designed, developed, and launched countless software products over the past 20+ years, working with everyone from established names like the Harvard Business Review and IMG to scrappy, ambitious startups.

Learn more about our MVP development services through the case studies we wrote about our engagements with startups like Soaq, Avance, and Scoff.

We can manage your entire project starting with ideation and market research, or you can hire us to handle individual components—up to you!

Amit Manchanda
Written by

Amit Manchanda

Amit Manchanda is a seasoned Project Lead with a passion for technology and a knack for delivering successful software projects. With expertise in ASP, Adobe Flex, and Android development, he has established himself as a proficient developer and leader in the industry.

When he's not immersed in coding or leading development teams, Amit indulges in his love for cricket. He finds solace in watching cricket. The game is a source of inspiration for his work, reminding him of the importance of strategy, adaptability, and teamwork.

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