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What is MVP? How and Why to Build MVP? Examples & More

Jun 27, 2022

Maulik

Innovify

As a product manager or CTO, you know the challenges of bringing a new product to market. From the initial ideation to the final launch, there are endless decisions to be made and unknowns you need to address.

One key question that often arises is: how much do we need to build before we can confidently say our product is ready for release? This is where the concept of an MVP, or minimum viable product, comes into play. And one needs to be careful about the mistakes that can be made while buidling MVP for startups.

An MVP is a product with just enough features to allow users to experience its core functionality and provide valuable feedback for further development. It is a way to test and validate a product idea quickly and efficiently without investing significant time and resources into building the entire product.

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of MVP in-depth, including how to build an MVP, the benefits of using an MVP, and a real-world example of an MVP in action.

Minimum Viable Product: An overview

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to allow it to be deployed. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users.

An MVP has a few key characteristics that set it apart from other product development approaches:

  • It focuses on the core value of the product and eliminates unnecessary features. It allows for early validation of the product idea with real users.
  • It helps to save time and resources by avoiding the build-out of unnecessary features.
  • It allows for flexible and iterative development based on user feedback MVP can be applied to a wide range of industries, including software, hardware, and service-based businesses.

Some examples of MVP in action include:

  • A software company releases a basic version of its project management tool with core features such as task assignment and deadline tracking. They gather feedback from early adopters and use it to build out additional features in future iterations.
  • A hardware startup releases a limited run of their smart home device with basic functionality such as remote control of lights and appliances. They gather feedback and use it to improve the design and add new features in the full version.
  • A service-based business launches an MVP website offering basic information about its services and a contact form for potential clients. They gather feedback and use it to build out a more comprehensive website with additional features and information.

What is the need for developing a minimum viable product?

There are several reasons why developing a minimum viable product (MVP) can be beneficial:

  • MVP allows for early validation of the product idea with real users, reducing the risk of building out a full product that may fail to be successful.
  • MVP helps to save time and resources by avoiding the build-out of unnecessary features.
  • MVP allows for flexible and iterative development based on user feedback.

According to Standish Group’s report, only 20% of features in a product are used regularly, while the rest are rarely or never used. This highlights the importance of focusing on the product’s core value and eliminating unnecessary features.

Steps to Build an MVP

1. Market research

Conducting market research helps to ensure that the product idea is viable and has the potential to meet the needs and preferences of the target market.

To conduct market research, consider the following steps:

  • Define your target market: Who is the product intended for? What are their needs, preferences, and behaviours?
  • Research the competition: What similar products are already on the market? How does the product idea compare to these competitors in terms of features and value proposition?
  • Gather customer insights: Talk to potential customers to learn more about their needs and preferences. This can be done through focus groups, interviews, surveys, or other methods of gathering feedback.
  • Analyze the data: Review the data gathered from market research to identify trends and patterns. Use this information to inform the development of the MVP and ensure that it meets the needs and preferences of the target market.

2. Identify the core value of the product

Identifying the core value of your product is important because it will differentiate you from your competitors. If you don’t understand what makes your product unique, then how can you expect others to?

For example, if you wanted to build a marketplace for selling computers, it would be easy to get lost in the sea of other marketplaces out there. However, if you focus on providing an easy way for people to sell their used laptops, you can differentiate yourself by offering a better solution than other marketplaces.

3. Prioritize features and user flow

This step in MVP development involves determining which features are essential for the MVP and creating a user flow that guides users through the product’s core functionality.

To prioritize features, consider the following questions:

  • What is the core value of the product?
  • What features are necessary to deliver that value to users?
  • What features are essential for the MVP to be functional?
  • What features can be added later, after the MVP has been released?

It’s essential to be selective when determining which features to include in the MVP. The goal is to create a product with just enough features to allow users to experience its core functionality and provide valuable feedback.

Once you have determined which features are necessary for the MVP, it’s important to consider the user flow. A user flow is a path a user takes through the product, from start to finish. It’s essential to create a clear and intuitive user flow that guides users through the product’s core functionality and helps them achieve their goals.

4. Choose the right development approach (e.g., lean, agile)

After finalizing the features and user flow, it’s time to choose the right development approach. A few different approaches can be used when developing an MVP, including lean, agile, and the build-measure-learn loop.

  • Lean development is a process of continuous iteration and improvement based on customer feedback. It emphasizes the importance of building a minimum viable product as quickly as possible and gathering feedback from early adopters to inform future development.
  • Agile development is a flexible and iterative approach that emphasizes rapid prototyping and continuous delivery. It involves regularly reassessing and adjusting the product development plan based on user feedback and changing market conditions.
  • The build-measure-learn loop is a continuous iteration and improvement process based on user feedback. It involves building a basic version of the product, measuring its performance, and using the data gathered to inform future development.

Which approach is right for your MVP will depend on your product and team’s specific needs and goals. Choosing an approach that fits your product and team and allows for flexibility and iteration based on user feedback is important.

5. Launch MVP

After a business has decided which features to prioritize and researched the necessary market needs, it can create its MVP. Remember that an MVP is not of lower quality than a final product. It is expected to fulfil customers’ needs – which means it still needs to be accessible, engaging, and suitable for its users.

Once the MVP is built, it’s time to test it with a group of early adopters. You can do this through focus groups, beta testing, or other methods of gathering feedback. Pay close attention to the feedback you receive, as it will help you improve the MVP and inform the development of the final product.

Example of Building an MVP

Innovify built Influencer Marketing Platform for that puts influencers at the centre of everything.

The Problem

The platform had issues with outdated product architecture, bottlenecks, and difficulties pushing new features due to poor code structure. The client also wanted to use the latest technology for the front-end experience but needed a CTO and more documentation.

Key Objectives

Innovify’s key objectives for the project were to migrate development from the previous team, refactor the code to improve product and code quality, re-architect the application using serverless microservices, and establish a consistent, agile scrum process.

The solution

The solution Innovify implemented was to create basic, functional documentation to understand the user flow and set up a CI/CD process for the project. They also conducted an impact analysis to focus on features that would improve the overall quality and follow best coding practices. They deployed Scrum teams that worked in an agile manner and delivered sprints every week.

Result

As a result, Innovify was able to eliminate the tech debt within three months, improve the overall performance, and allow for easy integration of new features. They continue to work with the client on a managed team basis, taking their project to the next stage in their journey.

Conclusion

In conclusion, developing a minimum viable product (MVP) is a crucial step in the product development. It allows for the validation of critical assumptions and the gathering of valuable feedback from early adopters.

By focusing on the core features and functionality, the MVP can help identify and prioritize future enhancements while reducing overall development time and costs. By launching an MVP, companies can test the market, gather feedback, and iterate on their product before investing too many resources in a full-fledged product.

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Prakash Pilley, Client Services Director
Prakash Pilley

Client Services Director