How to validate your business idea with MVP

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Perhaps, you’ve already heard of MVP—minimum viable product—that seems to be a miracle drug to plenty of business challenges associated with building software. MVP development is widely used for various goals, for example, for startup launch, attracting investment, testing the product idea, collecting the user base, and more.

How to validate your business idea with MVP

Perhaps, you’ve already heard of MVP—minimum viable product—that seems to be a miracle drug to plenty of business challenges associated with building software. MVP development is widely used for various goals, for example, for startup launch, attracting investment, testing the product idea, collecting the user base, and more. 

This approach will perfectly suit you if you want to quickly deliver a working solution and reduce costs. By the way, giants such as Uber, TechCrunch, Quora, Dropbox, and PayPal started their way to success from MVP. However, what does MVP actually mean? How does it help create great software that meets the needs and preferences of your audience? And more importantly, fill a niche on the market? 

Providing custom mobile development services, we’ve delivered dozens of MVPs and will be glad to share our knowledge with you. So, learn the answers in this post!

Overview of MVP roots

The MVP’s roots go back to the Lean Startup development philosophy that enables businesses to release their software products much faster while taking into account user feedback. An MVP approach gained popularity after Eric Ries described it in his famous book “The Lean Startup”. 

Being also the author of the blog “Startup Lessons Learned”, he defined an MVP as “that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

Agile Alliance described an MVP definition in software engineering as “the smallest set of features or requirements to deliver value to stakeholders and satisfy early adopters in the shortest time possible. It focuses on core features sufficient to deploy and deliver stakeholder value and no more.”

One should note that the smallest doesn’t necessarily mean the simplest as different systems imply different levels of complexity. The same goes with “valuable”: MVP isn’t only about providing users with value, it is also about showcasing this value to stakeholders and future customers.

Explaining MVP in two words 

MVP creation means that you implement only the key functionality that allows you to solve the top-priority task of the product. Typically, it’s one or two (maximum three) features and that’s all. No too complex elements, no heaviness, no thousands of hours for design and development. 

The main task here is to quickly get a software solution and test the hypothesis (or several hypotheses). Compared to the general engineering process, it requires less time and fewer efforts. What’s important, MVP can be referred not to the entire app or website but also to services and even separate features. 

Build, measure, learn is the principle that underlies the MVP concept. Say, you have a simple application. You release it or just attract users to check it out. Then, their feedback is collected which can be made with the help of polls, surveys, messages, comments, reviews, and so on. Once this is done, you measure the user reaction and learn from it. With a clear understanding of what should be changed, improved, and added, you continue working on your solution. 

Therefore, the biggest advantage of MVP is that you make the product that meets expectations, fills the niche while the dev time and costs are reduced. Just an ideal way to check the app/website in action and demonstrate it to investors. 

Now, let’s consider how do you create an MVP on the example of the MVP development process in Smartym Pro software development company.

Prior to product creation

As in any other project, we start MVP development by identifying the problem that the future product has to solve. Our experts (a business analyst, project manager, and a technical specialist if required) work together with the customer to define the main requirements using a Vision and Scope document. This enables both us and the client to be on the same wavelength and form the same project vision.

When all the business requirements are clarified, we think through user requirements and create wireframes and design sketches to visualize how the app or website will look like. These design elements are added to the product’s description. When the results of this stage are shown to the client (and stakeholders if needed) and approved, we move to the next step. 

As mentioned above, MVP generally has one killer feature and one-two additional features that complement the system and add true value to users. And here the principal challenge is to understand what functions are really irreplaceable and what can be integrated later. 

We help our customers formulate the list of features taking into account the project goal, target audience, and ideas that are planned to be tested. Then, we make prioritization with the help of MoSCoW, ranking, and other techniques and formulate the scope of work. 

MVP development

Once the feature prioritization is made and the scope is formed, our team moves to the product creation. This process usually takes about two months including the preparation for the release. Depending on the used methodology, a software engineering firm can include change requests during the first project stage or implement some enhancement if necessary.

Release and measurement of user reaction

After an MVP is launched, you can test actual user scenarios and check hypotheses by collecting and analyzing user reaction. Since direct user feedback isn’t always a panacea for understanding user needs and preferences, you should take a deeper look at their behavior.

To this end, analytics tools can be integrated into the app or connected to the website. There is a wide range of them to choose: AppsFlyer, Localytics, Flurry, Mixpanel, etc. for mobile applications. Google Analytics is one of the best choices for websites. Furthermore, you can view comments and create polls in social media, for instance, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and so on. You can also use such platforms as Product Hunt. 

Continuous improvement

The idea behind MVP development is “Build, measure,  learn, and improve”, we continue working with a software solution after launch. Our customers receive updates that are made according to the collected user feedback every two-four weeks. 

The analysis of user reaction also allows us to understand what they enjoy in the product the most and put the accent on it. All adjustments are implemented on time and soon the client has a new version of the app or website.

Time savings & Risk minimization

The creation of a full solution, especially of a complex system, can take a lot of months and be not accepted by the end-users. As a consequence, the product may bring no profit. 

At the same time, an MVP approach enables to save time and costs. MVP will let you build fast and extend the product according to user expectations and find a perfect match. Providing your audience with amazing user experience and solving their problems, you will definitely win their love. Besides, by starting with MVP, business risks will be significantly minimized. 

Closing thoughts

To sum up, MVP development is about speed and risk minimization which is truly helpful in terms of anxiety and uncertainty. That’s why this is the best way to build a startup and test the product concept. By using an MVP approach, you will get the ability to create the app/website faster than competitors, make changes listening to users, and release faster.

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