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How Long Does It Take to Develop An MVP? Factors to Consider

Dec 06, 2022



How Long Does It Take to Develop An MVP? Factors to Consider

How Long Will It Take to Develop your Product’s MVP

If you’re interested in MVP (Minimum Viable Product), you probably have a digital product in your brain and are planning your go-to-market strategy with a limited budget or time.

If you’re skeptical about going full-fledged with your idea, you’re not the only one. Almost every reasonable entrepreneur is curious about the potential of their product. They seek answers to whether there is a demand for their product. Will customers prefer their competitors over them? And other such questions.

And it’s mindful of being skeptical, considering 35% of the startups fail as there is no market need for their product, and 20% get out-competed.

So, what’s the way out? How can you make sure that your product has the potential to thrive in the market? How do you identify the improvements your product needs before going out in the market?

The modern-word answer to such questions is – to build a minimum viable product, aka MVP.

But you’re not here to get this simple advice, are you? You want to know how much resources and time it would require to build an MVP.

How Long Will It Take to Build an MVP?

It is difficult to be specific because you may have a couple of basic functions in mind or require a lot for your MVP.

If a rough number is all you want, here is your answer – Generally, it takes 3-4 months to build an MVP. But as with everything else in life – “it depends.”

It depends on your product scope, complexity, and customer profile. It depends on the size of the development team you have. It depends on several other factors that are part of an MVP development lifecycle.

So, to help you come to a concrete number, we need to discuss several things related to MVP development. Before we jump on that, here is a chart with specific project types and times:

Product/Niche/Industry Est. Time to Build the MVP
MedTech Platform 9 Months
Risk Management Tool 9 Months
Lead Generation Software 8 Months
B2B SaaS Platform 8 Months
Digital Workplace 7.5 Months
P2P Marketplace 6 Months
Travel Insurance App/Website 6 Months
Business Loan Fintech Platform 6 Months
Fraud Prevention Platform 6 Months
Entertainment Software 6 Months
Digital Lending SaaS Platform 5.5 Months
Automation Services 5 Months
Sales SaaS 4.5 Months
Web Design Tool 4.5 Months
Home Insurance Platform 4 Months
Onboarding Software 4 Months
Aerospace Marketplace 4 Months
Telecommunication Platform 3 Months
Consumer Electronics 3 Months
Marketing Automation Tool 3 Months
Virtual Office Platform 3 Months
Smart Kitchen Tools 2.5 Months
Real Estate API 2 Months
AI Video Platform 1.5 Months
Virtual Office Platform 1 Month
OS Live Chat Tool 0.5 Month
Email Prospecting Tool 0.5 Month
Job Board for the Space Industry 0.5 Month

7 Key Factors That Determine Time it Takes to Build MVP

1. Depends on the Development Team Size

Depends on the Required Feature List

Build an MVP - Depends on the Development Team Size Source

Although the MVP development time is a result of the number of developers on the team, it isn’t advised to have a large team for this purpose. Designers, testers, and other experts all contribute to the cost, and you don’t want the cost of building MVP to skyrocket.

The best foot forward is to pick the right size of the development team for your MVP.

Many software engineering managers believe the magical sweet spot for MVP development is seven team members. However, according to Agile, team sizes should range from three to nine people, and this includes a project manager, a business analyst, developers, designers, QA specialists, and potentially DevOps, among others.

2. Depends on the Required Feature List

Build an MVP - Depends on the Required Feature List


The more the number of features and functionalities you’d keep in your MVP, the more it will take to build it. The functionalities your MVP needs can only be determined by you.

Here is how you can decide on the right features for your MVP:

3. Find Out Your Users’ Biggest Issues

Build an MVP - Find Out Your Users’ Biggest Issues


When people require solutions to their problems or challenges, they use software products. Hence, you should start by knowing your target audience’s issues and discomfort points. Consider what your potential customers might have problems with in their everyday lives or at work.

You may discover your target audience’s issues by interviewing them, conducting surveys, or roleplaying. Expert opinions, in addition to interviewing and surveying, are effective methods to discover your target audience’s concerns.

4. Define How Your Product Will Solve the Issues

Find a Unique Value Proposition
Define How Your Product Will Solve the Issues


What problems does your product solve for your target audience? How can your product address their needs and pain points? Here, the more efficiently your product solves problems, the more valuable it is. For example, if your prospects’ pain points are primarily financial, you might highlight the attributes of your product in relation to a cheaper monthly subscription plan.

5. Research on Your Competitors

How Product Will Solve the Issues - Research on Your Competitors


Next, you should look into the comparable solutions that companies offer your target audience and analyze their products to figure out what you can incorporate into your MVP to deliver a superior solution.

For example, Spotify and YouTube Music are current music streaming applications that compete with one another. While Spotify enables users to listen to free music with the smartphone screen off and save battery power, YouTube Music does not. This may be one of the minor details that helps them triumph over their competition.

6. Find a Unique Value Proposition

How Product Will Solve the Issues - Find a Unique Value Proposition


Your MVP should have distinct features to distinguish itself from other comparable solutions. You can select the optimal functions to create a one-of-a-kind item by prioritizing them.

Customers will have a reason to choose your product if you do this. For example, this strategy enabled Uber to complete 14 million trips each day, thanks to their ‘one-tap taxi without phone calls’ feature.

7. Lastly, Use MoSCow Matrix to Prioritize Your Features

Among all the feature prioritization techniques, MoSCow is the most simple one and can help you list the required features with no hassle.

This prioritization technique consists of ‘must have, should have, could have, and won’t have this time,’ which can be used to section all MVP features into four categories.

The must-have group consists of mandatory components. Functionalities in the should-have category are not required but are still crucial. Nice-to-have functions belong to the could-have category. Lastly, components that are not currently a priority but may be in the future are included in the won’t have this time category.

How do you build a custom MVP?

Building a minimum viable product (MVP) is essential for any startup or business that wants to validate its idea before investing significant resources in development. But how do you build a custom MVP that fits your specific needs? There are three primary options to consider:

  • Hiring a freelancer or team
  • Employing an in-house development team
  • Finding a software consultancy

Each has pros and cons, and choosing the right option depends on your budget, timeline, and desired level of control.

Hire a Freelancer or Team

Hiring a freelancer or team is often the most cost-effective option for building an MVP. Freelancers and small groups are typically more affordable than larger agencies and may be more flexible regarding project scope and timelines.

However, working with a freelancer or small team also comes with risks. Freelancers may have different expertise or resources than a more central agency, and their availability may be limited if they work on multiple projects simultaneously. Communication can also be challenging if you’re not in the same exact location or time zone.

To make the most of this option, you must do your due diligence when selecting a freelancer or team. Look for individuals or groups with a strong portfolio and positive reviews from past clients. Ensure they have the skills and experience to deliver on your project requirements. Be clear about your budget and timeline expectations, and establish a clear communication plan upfront to avoid any misunderstandings.

Employ an In-House Development Team

Employing an in-house development team is the most expensive option for building an MVP, but it offers the most control over the development process. With an in-house team, you can manage the development process directly and have more control over timelines and project scope. Additionally, you have a dedicated team working solely on your project, which can lead to faster development times and a higher-quality product.

However, employing an in-house team also comes with high costs. You’ll need to pay salaries and benefits and invest in hardware, software, and other infrastructure. Additionally, recruitment and hiring can be time-consuming, and you may need help finding the right talent for your project.

Find a Software Consultancy

Finding a software consultancy is an excellent option to balance cost, control, and expertise. Software consultancies specialize in building custom software solutions and often have experience working with startups and businesses in your industry. They can offer various services, from consulting and planning to development and ongoing support.

Challenges You Might Face While Building an MVP

Building an MVP as quickly as possible is the goal of every business and product development team, but certain hurdles may stand in the way.

Here are some:

Going Scope Creep

A company can easily become a victim of scope expansion. Many times, you become attached to a disruptive concept after you’ve thought of it. It’s hard to reduce the scope down to the bare minimum because you want to present it in all its magnificence to investors and the world in general.

Not to mention the fact that the greater you consider conquering the market, the more likely you are to generate new functions. However, employing this approach may result in delivery delays, put a burden on your budget, and, ultimately, jeopardize the survival of your product MVP.

Hard to Define Minimum Value Proposition

When a business wants to launch a new product MVP, they are often so focused on keeping the initial version simple that they neglect to include important capabilities. While not as typical as scope creep, this drawback is still prevalent – typically as a result of initiatives that don’t concentrate adequately on what makes their target market unique.

Although we’ve seen it a dozen times, it still makes our point. It is not beneficial for consumers to receive a one-wheeled vehicle; rather, a scooter is a better choice. MVP in software development operates in the same manner.

Hard to Define Minimum Value Proposition - MVP Development

Image Source: Interaction Design Foundation

Inexperienced or Inefficient Team

Even if you believe yourself to be a one-man army, building an MVP is an unrealistic task for you as an entrepreneur on your own. Hence, it’s crucial for you to work with a dependable IT partner who can offer not only a lean strategy and competence but also have experience with fast digital product launches. For starters, the team composition they recommend will match your evolving demands.

The vendor’s expertise in working with companies in various industries is an important factor you should consider when selecting your technology partner.

Moreover, the installation cost and time, future scalability, and community support are all significant in the development of a Minimum Viable Product. Of course, it’s tempting to want the latest and greatest, but hype-driven development can sometimes do more harm than good to your project. We’ve already discussed how you can prioritize your feature list; you should confirm the development time for each one from your technology partner. This will allow you to prioritize even better.

In a Nutshell

Prior to beginning the creation of your digital product’s MVP, you must define the scope of your MVP. Having a thorough understanding of the product development life cycle is just as important as visualizing the project in its various phases. Here, be as specific as possible when describing the scope, and clear up any doubts as soon as they arise.

MVPs serve as airbags, allowing you to estimate a product’s economic and technological potential as well as implement it. You can make commercial and technological decisions based on evidence rather than speculation, thanks to MVPs.

If you’re looking for a development partner to help you with the MVP development process, Innovify is among the best choices.

We can guide you through the MVP development process and help you with problem definition, market research, prototyping, and feedback collection.

We have years of experience in building software prototypes and MVPs before we roll them out to success.

Let's discuss your project today