Up to 80% of the new products fail in the technology industry.
In today’s technology & experience-driven Darwinian digital era, speed is one of the predominant factors that draw a line between digital predators and digital prey. To outsmart the competition, savvy businesses need to be first to the market with new but effective products and services.
Therefore, businesses must rethink their processes for designing, building, and growing new digital products to cut down the design cycle time and time to market. Businesses need to move with the shifting paradigm — moving away from slow legacy approaches to digital product development.
There are a number of approaches that any business can adopt to validate their products and services for secure, faster, and successful delivery. One such proven approach to improve your digital product’s speed to market and odds of success is adopting the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Development methodology.
What is MVP Development?
Agile has been a part of software development methodology and mainstream thinking for quite a while. Still, its importance and application to the business strategy came into limelight with the instigation and popularization of the Lean Startup movement by Steve Blank and Eric Ries. The idea was to start small with a bare-bones design and then tested on the market to analyze the products’ potential to succeed.
A minimum viable product is a product built and launched with minimum investment and enough features (which may be just a landing page) to attract the eyeballs of early-adopter customers with a single aim — to validate the product idea and get feedback early in the software development life cycle.
5 Ms: MVP Product Development Benefits
In the digital economy, businesses that have the potential to deliver high-value products the fastest, survive, and thrive — Speed is supreme. However, delivering a new product that delights your customers demands a transformation — elimination of waste and embracing processes that could accelerate product delivery.
Delivering a product better and faster at the same time, demands a different way of thinking — a lean MVP way of thinking. The MVP approach focuses on the ideology of a lean startup, implying a product built with a minimal budget in a given time.
1. More Focus on Building the Core
Rather than coming up with a feature-heavy product, offering the core set of features help businesses to verify their product concept — whether it resonates with their target audience or not.
2. Meteoric (Speedy) Product Development
Speedy means designing, building, and releasing the basic application quickly, iterating fastly, and validating along the way.
3. Market Validation
MVP software development is all about testing and analyzing what works and what does not. The purpose of an MVP is to get acquainted with the market demand and sell that product to customers that they will love.
4. Minimizing the Product Development Cost
An MVP approach helps avoid mediocre end-user satisfaction, schedule slippage, and cost overruns by not letting you spend your entire production budget on all the features right away.
5. More Feedback = Improved Product
A feedback from the right audience at the early stage of product development helps to design a better customer experience, which drives continuous improvement.
How to Build an MVP in S.I.M.P.L.E. Steps?
The MVP development process is a top-down, iterative, and test-driven approach that focuses on the customer at every stage of the MVP process. The purpose of a minimum viable product is a quick release, quick iteration, and continuous validation to make the final product launch easier and successful at the later stage.
Understanding the MVP development process and steps involved in it is vital to its and product’s success. The following are the necessary S.I.M.P.L.E. steps required to build an MVP.
1. Start with Market Research
I have an idea, bingo. Alas, not all ideas are worth bringing to the market — maybe your idea does not fit the customers and market needs. To evaluate, it is vital to set up market research and conduct surveys to gain more insights before embarking upon an MVP Development process.
42% of startups failed because their idea had no market need.
2. Ideate on Value Addition
You cannot sell an MVP of an air conditioner in Antarctica. No matter how good your idea is, it will fail if you are unable to answer the following questions:
- What value does your idea add to its target user base?
- How could your idea benefit them?
- What will make them buy your idea?
3. Map Out User Flow
It’s almost impossible to build a car without referring to its visual design. Impatiently jumping to the MVP development process without highlighting the design and user flow leads to a ‘Failed MVP.’ Keep the future product and target audience in mind to design a user flow, which is convenient for users.
Design Thinking + Lean UX + Agile = Successful MVP
4. Prioritize MVP Features
List down all the features (major & minor) that you want in your product before building the minimum viable product. While shortlisting the features, follow the MoSCoW approach.
- M — Must have features
- S — Should have features
- C — Could have features
- W — Won’t need features
5. Launch MVP
Once you have gained insights into the market needs and have shortlisted the features based upon the MoSCoW approach to MVP, start building your MVP. While the ‘launch & build’ process of an MVP, remember that although it is not a final product, it should be built with top-most quality that fulfills your customer’s needs.
6. Exercise ‘B.M.L.’ — Build, Measure, Learn
The Build-Measure-Learn (B.M.L.) is one of the most important steps of building an MVP. It deals with measuring the acceptance of the built MVP and its enhancement as needed. Based on the customer need hypothesis, keep iterating the product in relatively small increments.
Note: Don’t be embarrassed by your first MVPs’ results. As Reid Hoffman said, “If you are not embarrassed by your first product, you launched too late.” It often takes 3-4 MVPs, with regular iterations, before the product is set for full deployment.
Step by Step Guide to Build a MVP
5 Key MVP Development Mistakes
Talking to budding entrepreneurs about launching a business, most of them have massive dreams of starting a big, successful company that would be the next Facebook or Instagram or Amazon.
Maybe it will be, maybe not.
The best way to test the worth of a product without constant outflow of money or time is MVP Development. However, for its success, it is critical to understand and avoid a few major MVP Development mistakes that can result in a fiasco.
1. Choosing the Wrong Problem to Solve
Analyzing the pain-point on which your MVP will be built is important for its success, else building a beautiful key is useless if it can’t perform a job to open the right door.
2. Skipping the Prototyping Phase
A prototype acts as a bridge between the idea and a full-fledged product. Skipping to think prototypically implies shifting the focus from the ‘how’ part of the product, which can result in an MVP failure.
3. Targeting the Wrong Set of Persona
‘Everyone’ is not your targeted audience when it comes to validating your MVP prototype. So, it’s not worth asking your friends and relatives for feedback if they are not your intended audience. You need to target the right market and get the right feedback.
4. Inappropriate Development Method
About 90% of startups fail. Directly heading towards the lean MVP development process without choosing the accurate development method — Agile, Waterfall, or DevOps — is one of the reasons projects end up their life in the middle.
5. Confusion between Qualitative and Quantitative Feedback
There are two approaches to collect data from the right audience: Qualitative and Quantitative feedback. You cannot just rely on one and neglect other type; there should be an ideal balance of two before making any conclusion.
10 Ways to Validate Your MVP Product
You have built an MVP product and launched it, but the MVP approach does not end there – testing and validating it is equally important. You can never be sure whether your product meets the customer’s needs until the MVP test is run. The following are a few validating techniques that can help you gain reliable data from your target users.
It is one of the popular ways to validate and test whether your product is worth launching in the market or not. Websites like IndieGoGo or Kickstarter are some of the best platforms where you can test your MVP and raise funds from interested people.
2. Pre-Order Pages
You can validate your MVP by offering your product directly to your potential audience through pre-order pages. If users like your MVP, they can pay for your product prior to launch — what could be more validating than this?
3. Customer Interviews
It is one of the most common ways to test your MVP — conduct interviews with your target audience and get direct feedback. You can also ask about the improvements and future expectations of the product.
4. Piecemeal MVPs
It is one of the smartest ways to validate your MVP business by investing no to the minimum amount of money in a product and introducing it to the target audience by using existing services, platforms, and tools.
5. Landing Pages
Building a landing page that explains your product’s features is a perfect marketing opportunity to test your MVP, where you analyze your target audience’s interest by the way they interact and behave on the page. Use tools like Hotjar and Google Analytics to track visitor’s analytics.
6. Explainer Videos
A story-driven video explaining your product’s features is an excellent way to test your MVP and increase the number of signups. The video helps demonstrate the ways their product or service will resolve the target customer’s pain points.
Leveraging video to market your product increases revenue 49% faster than those who do not.
7. Ad Campaigns
Ad campaigns pave the way for user engagement even before the product is launched. Platforms like Facebook and Google can help you run the ad campaigns for your built MVP to analyze the engagement, impressions, and clicks.
8. Social media Surveys
Once you have segmented your target audience thoroughly, you can use social media surveys to obtain quick, effective, and honest feedback from potential customers.
9. A/B Testing
A/B Testing is a perfect way to check the effectiveness of various versions of landing pages, email campaigns, apps, newsletters, blogs, and so on. Tools like Hubspot and Google Analytics can be used to gain insights from the data collected.
A/B testing your landing pages can help you generate up to 40% more leads for your business.
10. New Signups
Reaching out to the right audience with a good quality MVP motivates the user’s interest, eventually leading to signing up for your product. With each user signing up, the validation of your MVP becomes more strong. Mailchimp is one of the tools you can leverage to send newsletters to your target audience and ask them for free signups.
10 Ways to Validate Your Minimum Viable Product
How Much does an MVP Cost?
Undoubtedly, an MVP costs much less than the entire product. Still, it’s imperative to consider and analyze the MVP cost before starting the MVP development process.
Whether you are developing a mobile app or a website, the MVP cost development varies, depending on different factors, like the idea, design, features, technology stack, and time taken to build an MVP.
1. Initial Budget to Build an MVP
You can follow different approaches to build an MVP for your business — hiring a product development company, freelancers, or managing the development inhouse. Choose any option — it needs an investment of money and time.
2. Time Required to Build an MVP
The time consumed to build the MVP’s first version should not exceed more than two weeks. The first version contains basic features of an MVP like Empathy Map, Prioritised MVP Backlog, Ecosystem Map, User Journey Map, and Stakeholder Map. The cost ranges from $15 to $75 per hour, which can vary depending on the project’s complexity.
3. MVP Cost of Design
The MVP cost also depends on the design complexity. The best approach is to evaluate the User Interface (UI) to analyze the MVP cost of design. A seamless User Experience (UX) relies upon a simple, easily understandable, and navigational UI. Main components that decide the MVP cost of design are:
- Interactions within the Page
4. Number of Features and Complexity
Prioritization of features and its complexity are the two most important factors that define the cost to build an MVP. It’s not easy to list down and prioritize the features for your next MVP, follow the following two approaches to segregate the right and much-needed features for your MVP:
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- MoSCoW Method
5. Technology Stack
For an MVP; it is vital to identify the estimated technology stack for the MVP development to ensure the optimum project quality. There are a few tailored, but not the only, solutions that can be easily coordinated:
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- MoSCoW Method
10 Ways to Validate Your Minimum Viable Product
5 Minimum Viable Product Examples for Your Digital Business
Working at breakneck speed and launching the products faster to the market has become a basic necessity in today’s highly competitive world. MVP development is one of the best ways to accelerate the time to market for digital products with the right set of features that add value to the target customer’s life.
Here are these top minimum viable product examples of successful MVPs, focusing on their key feature set.
The facebook avoided spending too much on development and came up with an MVP that connected students of colleges and schools by letting them post messages on their boards. The idea gained a lot of traction, and this MVP example further turned out to be the dominant social networking platform.
An idea to build an SMS based messaging platform for internal use took birth in one of the hackathons held by Odeo, a podcasting platform. However, its employees started spending a lot of money from their pockets to post messages on the platform. Finally, Twitter was released as a final product in 2006.
Amazon is one of the best MVP examples that started with selling books online through low-priced and straightforward web design. It was a winning idea, which later established into a brand that today rules the entire eCommerce landscape.
Using a simple WordPress website and PDFs mailed to subscribers, Groupon started to share and socialize vouchers and discounts. Their idea turned successful, and they gradually built their backend and voucher system. The initial website of Groupon is one of the best MVP examples for startups.
Dropbox didn’t launch any product. They decided to build an MVP using an explainer video that demonstrated the usage of the application. Their idea clicked, and they gained 70k+ email addresses from their target audience in a single day.
4 Steps to Move from MVP to Full-Scale Product
For most of the business, the MVP development process ends once the MVP is launched into the market. After analyzing the result, businesses then launch a stable and final product, which fails — 90% of such projects fail.
What went wrong? They failed to understand that MVP is not a product to be worked upon for 2-3 months and then hit the market. MVP development is an iterative, virtuous cycle of building, measuring, and learning, which ends when the right product finds its right market
1. Collect Feedback
By gaining real user feedback, you can analyze which of your assumptions went wrong. Quickly learn from your failures and act upon them to get constantly better.
2. Prepare to Scale
After the launch of an MVP, a startup should be prepared to handle a flood of new users. Most startups get overwhelmed with the new user acquisition when an MVP is released, but they get baffled when managing them.
3. Get Your Pricing Right
Test various monetization approaches — introduce premium features on top of the basic free version or go with ads, once you see a little spark in your MVP.
4. Market Your Product
When it comes to MVP, marketing is not about finding customers to buy your product with a limited number of features. Instead, it is all about pitching to potential customers by generating awareness and gaining feedback to drive the development of the MVP jointly.
Digital product development businesses are at a crossroads, where they need to deliver their products and services at lightning-fast speed to hone their competitive edge. Delivering digital products quickly enough to meet market demands requires a change in processes, methodologies, and behaviors.
Traditional waterfall development methodologies do not fit in the current business environment and are too slow to keep pace with the ever-evolving digital economy. To keep a laser-like focus on satisfying the changing customer’s desires, changes and updates are to be delivered iteratively, with new features launched as an MVP, getting fine-tuned over time.