Since the beginning of time, there have been products, teams of people creating them, and companies that have wrestled with issues such as performance, efficiency, performance, and competition. Today, every startup that exists must deal with identifying the most appropriate problem to tackle and the best market to offer it. It is imperative that they accomplish this quickly and effectively. In the past, up to a decade ago, they could do it using a heavy focus on production management and an upward as well as a waterfall strategy. These kinds of objectives are better met with an MVP method.
An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is not an entirely defined product, backed by a waterfall style in product administration, and may let founders be free of having to build the entire product before determining if customers require it, are able to access it, or will pay for it. However, it isn’t difficult to develop. Knowing what it is and the purpose it is supposed to fulfill will allow you to avoid common mistakes or misperceptions about the best direction to follow when developing it.
What’s an MVP? And why should you use it?
The history of technology suggests that chief Frank Robinson coined the term in 2001, arguing that research with customers, as well as the creation of products, must occur in tandem in order for a product to be successful.
Eric Ries described the term in 2011 in the book ” The Lean Startup”. An MVP, also known as a Minimum Viable Product, is a stand-alone product. It can be built with the smallest number of features and solve the most crucial issue for the clients it’s meant to serve. However, it should do it right and without creating other issues during the process.
As per Eric Ries, an MVP is the version of a brand-new product that allows the team to gather the highest amount of validated information about their customers with minimum effort.
That’s why it’s not intended to make money. It’s there to aid in understanding how to create a procedure also known as an SOP that will help you make money.
Why a Minimum Viable Product?
In general, startups tend to seek out funding to pay for the expenses of creating their product. First, they must test their concept and their assumptions regarding the things their target market wants and what is most popular with their target audience. The most efficient way to do this is to design a simple product that requires the minimum amount of work and little budget.
Of course, this isn’t an effect of the process however, by design it gives a start-up company the opportunity to introduce the product (a variation that is) for sale very quickly. It could even give them the advantage of being the first company to be able to access an exclusive market or kind. But, this kind of benefit can be, in many cases expensive. In essence, it is contingent on the product and the business model.
The primary goal of the Minimum Viable product is to gather knowledge and verify assumptions within your business plan. Information is the primary currency that the company’s entire staff will use until they have the knowledge they require in order to create a viable business model. That’s the goal in the end; having an efficient, sustainable business.
Another option is to create a minimum product that the public will be able to. As Sam Altman from Y Combinator states:
It’s better to create something that only a few users like instead of something that many users love.
What are the benefits Of MVP For a Startup
The primary advantage of having an MVP is the ability to determine if consumers really require or desire this product. It is possible to gauge customer desire to purchase the product. The sooner we know if the product is appealing to consumers, the lower the chance of spending time and money in developing something that fails in the marketplace. In the end, An MVP can help to focus attention on the product’s benefits and improve efficiency without being the final product.
The MVP should be able to convince users to able to solve the issue, or it must include the real capabilities to solve the problem. Initial and rapid iterations will test what’s actually more than a proof of concept, but it’s not a fully commercially viable product in the market for which it’s being created.
Lean Canvas or the Business Model Canvas is comprised of nine distinct elements. The majority of the time, startups at the very least are filled with beliefs and leaps of faith. Each one needs to be thoroughly examined for its reliability. It is possible to use the MVP as a great tool to test and verify some or all of these theories; providing a more reliable Business Model, at the same as ensuring that the business model is a good fit for its customers.
2. Iterative process
Iterations, at any stage, are enablers. They help the product team to gather feedback from users and get to know them far better than they would be using a waterfall-based management approach. However, they’re not “means to an end” in the strict sense. Moving from feature to feature leaving them in a weak condition creates a mediocre experience for customers. The customers will not be able to stay with the product. However, the product must perform well.
3. Customer feedback
The early feedback possible will provide indications about the market suitability. This way, the development team will be able to take the correct direction in the release of useful features that address the needs of customers.
The team is in danger of being too obsessed with taking each aspect of feedback for granted and ignoring the real signals coming from the market. This can lead to the resolution of single problems with customers instead of working towards achieving product-market suitability. Feedback from customers should be utilized in a series, obtaining market signals and not used as a single point of actionable information.
4. First to identify potential market
An MVP can enable a startup to gain traction as the initial entry point into the market ahead of rivals. It’s a positive idea, as it gives them the majority of the market.
But it is also detrimental, especially when the product is creative or innovative and the potential customers aren’t aware of its benefits at this point. In the event that no appropriate solution is provided to address the issue, it is likely that competition will triumph as consumers become more knowledgeable about the product and its worth and the market develops naturally.
5. Growth that scales
The market can be quite accommodating to small startups in their infancy. A mistake could appear to be an unintentional bump on the way. The fewer customers you have and the fewer excuses have to be issued in the event of a mistake. There are a lot of variables when it comes to expanding.
In a business that is growing, it’s very easy to get off track and it’s a real challenge to get the ship back in the right direction. This is to be expected because product and personnel management is becoming more challenging. In addition, the customer base has been from early fans to the mainstream, changing the market twice over. There’s a catch: when dealing with mainstream customers the product has to be durable and reliable. It won’t be “Minimum”. In order to remain “viable”, at this moment, it must be totally marketable, with everything considered, including competition. If the elements of a satisfying customer experience are being considered, the likelihood of sustainable long-term growth is becoming less likely.
6. Manageable investment
There is something totally contrary to sensible investment. The less time and resources are given to understand and adjust to the demands that the marketplace demands decreases the chance of failing for startups. That’s the entire reason to start with an MVP.
The first thought that will be conceived is that a modest investment won’t be enough to create an item that addresses the customer’s problem efficiently or even the statistics prove the contrary, in a fascinating way.
A smaller budget can bring more focus to the entire process. If people are aware of their spending and are able to find ways of making enough money to cover the resources they have, they’ll eventually simplify their requirements, have objectives that are clear, and recognize that they’re in this to be able to. Contrary to that, spending more money could ultimately cause irreparable harm. Having the money to set up massive departments for sales, marketing, and customer care, before you understand why someone needs them and what they want to function, is simply a way of wasting capital investment; and could place them in the condition of a zombie or cause them to be stuck in the downward spiral.
There’s an intriguing concept that is referred to as the MVIF. It is a term that means the minimum Viable Investment Framework. It should clarify the reasons why less money is better than more.
What are the things you’ll need to know prior to MVP Development?
There are some prerequisites for starting an MVP, provided that it is needed. Sometimes, a reputable company might be able to showcase a new product using an easy pitch deck. However, in other situations products could be so complicated that an MVP will not be able to solve any issue. A gif-animated demonstration or an interactive mockup incorporating Dummy data may work before work is in progress. In any event, proper preparation is crucial for its success.
A group isn’t one if they do not follow the same flag. When discussions on Proof of Concept begin, the team will brainstorm ideas, record them, and place them on canvas (e.g. Lean Canvases) to determine how they fit into the larger picture of their proposed concept of a business. In this stage, the team will be discussing which assumptions might be the weakest and when every concept should be tested as well as when it will be the ideal time to test it to succeed. This is the time to decide on the style of presentation that the MVP will use is determined, along with the type of presentation.
The process, however long it is, is among the most important steps of the process. It gives the necessary direction and focuses for the group, making sure that there is sufficient alignment toward the same objectives. It also assists in building solid relationships among team members.
2. Staffing for development
Making anything more complicated than a Proof of Concept can prove very difficult if executed in the correct manner. Making an MVP is a process that requires the right skills and expertise. If this is the best option then the team must expand and include the addition of a few developers. At a minimum, one who has knowledge of back-end technology and another who is knowledgeable of front-end technology will be needed.
3. Prototyping and Architecture
Many tech startups need an item that can be scaled according to the demand. This is the way they grow their business and gain an even greater amount of success too. The design of the information architecture is crucial for the durability, reliability, and ability to scale that the software will provide. This should be kept in mind while transitioning between a proof-of-concept idea, and then the MVP. In other words, the process of developing a product must gradually incorporate the consideration of the capacity for the item to scale without sacrificing the quality. This is the point at which the process begins.
4. Building the MVP
The MVP is currently in development. We’ve incorporated all the expertise and knowledge that we’ve gained from speaking to people who are interested and first users as well as from the type of visionaries that we refer to as early users of our product who are also known in the industry as “early evangelists”. The majority of the experiments have been conducted to validate different aspects of our business model. They are, at present built on the assumption that:
- Segments of the target market and customer segment (and potential early adopters)
- Issues that our segments of customers face which are worth addressing (and the possibility of solutions already available)
- The product and its distinctive value offer (and the possibility of a high-level concept)
- Faith in the proposed solution(s)
- Communication and distribution channels
- Revenue streams — even future prospects
- Cost structure – every aspect of business
- The most important metrics to measure successful business (initially it’s about the knowledge, later, it’s about the retention of business or business that is new)
- “Unfair” competitive advantage (something which is hard or nearly impossible to duplicate)
This type of experimentation has led to a specific direction in the development of our products opening the way toward helping our first customer segment that could or ought to represent our High-Speed segment.
Types of Minimum Viable Products
There are various approaches to an MVP. That is, there is more than one method to define minimum and sustainable. For a bit of food for thought it is possible to review the most well-known examples.
1. Landing page
Most of the time, either because of the inherent difficulties in creating the product, even at a minimum, or because of the lack of time, it’s just a brief description of the product does and what it’s expected to provide, an explanation of advantages and what it is supposed to differ from other products on the market will likely suffice.
The entire information could be placed on an online landing page. It will be given only a small portion of the budget to increase the image of the item. A value-based proposition can be the most effective tool a founder has to identify the emotional reactions that are on the customer on their side.
A landing page does more than just validate at the very least some of the ideas mentioned earlier. It could be the segment of the client, the challenge worth solving, the value proposition, or any variety of communication channels the team will benefit from knowing what to do next. This kind of knowledge is power.
2. Animation or Video
A clear video or animated sequence may be able to convey the advantages of the product and identify the emotional reactions of customers. All that is required is a few variations of the message prior to the video beginning and an appeal to action after the video is played back. The experimentation will provide clarity and help to provide guidance.
One great example could be “DropBox”, where it was extremely difficult to come up with an MVP that worked. A cartoon was utilized instead, in which Drew Houston explained how the application would function. The app became popular almost immediately and identified a large number of potential users.
Campaigns via email, despite being they are among the oldest methods of disseminating information are largely ineffective. At present, they have conversion rates that far overshadow those of other methods.
Many times founders are in a position to send one email with an offer. This gives them the possibility to determine if the response is positive from the recipient or not. This method does require the list of contacts, which represents the first customer segment however, it is still simpler and quicker than every other method.
A fragmented approach can show that an MVP can be a small product that is still feasible. The idea is to present encapsulated features or a demonstration of the item. The development team could use the tools available on the shelf to create it. Incorporating just a tiny bit of business-savvy innovation it is possible to launch the product on the market and begin taking user responses, which will help determine the reasons for them to purchase; hopefully, receiving a clue as to their purchasing power.
The approach of a piecemeal method requires that certain stages of the process are performed manually. That’s acceptable, as it could take a while for momentum to develop prior to the time when the team requires the entire process to be automated to allow for self-service.
A concierge method is a great method to test an idea by using manual operation before turning it into a finished product. It’s not even an automated one. The idea is that each customer receives the best possible service by having a conversation with real people in a discussion about and finding out -the services they require. The process is reviewed, every time to establish a point, and to improve the business model until it is at a level that is able to support an automated system.
6. Illusion or Wizard of Oz
This strategy is best when the goal is to market products that are made by other companies. A platform for e-commerce is the perfect example. It is to say that the business has no stock amounts of the goods they plan to sell. However, they have presentation pages for each item. When a product is purchased the product development team will go to the retailer, purchase the item and then deliver the product to the customer and handle the logistics.
Related Article: How Much Does It Cost for MVP Software Development?
Steps to create your MVP for a Startup
It’s hard to strike the right balance between what’s truly an MVP and what’s not. There’s a concept known called “not enough”, and there’s a concept known called “too much” when it is producing an MVP that fulfills its objective. The best description of it takes time. There are four steps to follow to make sure everything is in order.
1. Find a problem that is worth solving
It’s a matter of asking the right questions. For instance:
- What’s the problem?
- What’s the problem that’s not being addressed; or perhaps not being resolved effectively?
- Who is responsible for the issue?
- Are they aware of this issue?
- Have they attempted to resolve the issue?
- Do they know the amount of cash or hours they’re losing as a result of it?
- Are there any other solutions they’re currently employing?
- Do they appreciate these solutions? If yes, what is the reason? If not, ask why?
- What amount are they willing to pay for this solution?
The answers to these questions will give the team more clarity on what the market looks like and what people who are in it require, and how they see their challenges and solutions.
2. Perform a competitive analysis
Understanding the competitive landscape is crucial to understand what has worked in your target market and the reasons. This is the way we determine what qualifies as an essential component of any solution, and what’s not. This is a fantastic opportunity to improve the performance of any solutions your clients might currently use. This is because you could possibly be able to avoid any or even all mistakes encountered by the older players in this sector.
3. The MVP feature set must be defined.
Determining what features will be offered in the MVP is a matter of knowing the user’s journey or flow of the user. Labeling every step a user goes through throughout the process can assist in identifying which features will assist during each step. Each step can be referred to as we call it in Agile Development, “epic”. While an epic may possibly encompass several teams and projects, it’s the best way to begin making a plan for everything. If there’s anything else, it’s a good option to get it done.
After this is completed the feature can be represented in the form of a “user story”; a kind of task that defines what the user wants to know, when, and how. This could be divided into a variety of tasks, and sub-tasks that are divided among different developers. Each user story could have multiple features; this is fine.
All users’ stories and epics will be prepared to be prioritized based on their urgency and importance. They will then be naturally, put in a schedule in accordance with the order they’ll be constructed in. It all is determined by what provides the most value for business first, which feature requires to be already developed in order to allow future enhancements, and which step of the process we could or should not miss.
4. Test, develop, and release
The scope of work has been properly described and defined. It is a Lean method — Agile development also recommends that any items planned to be developed immediately, must be thoroughly described. On the other hand, items that are to be constructed in the near future must be described prior to when they are needed, using the most current and complete data available. This makes sense since it’s a great method to keep from making assumptions and common mistakes.
Testing is crucial.
The MVP should be tested frequently to ensure that new features add to the functions. The MVP is the only method to decrease technical debt and add greater sturdiness to the application. To achieve this there are three distinct stages. Beta testing, Alpha testing, and feedback testing.
- Alpha testing is conducted by the employees within the company who work on the product.
- Beta testing is carried out by employees who aren’t working on the product, or maybe it is even some early users who we are able to trust and maintain a positive relationship with. Startups that are incubated or accelerated could also benefit from other employees of tech startups through the accelerator or incubator.
- Feedback testing is performed through an outside auditor, possibly a specialized product testing firm. The product works. It’s fairly safe to suggest that a different method to approach is to introduce the product in the market in a way that is manageable by starting with a handful of confirmed early adopters to iron out any bugs that are minor and minor specifics.
Feedback testing is crucial and acts as a reality check of kinds. It’s a great way to check that:
- The product does indeed solve real issues
- It’s better, quicker, more efficient, and at a lower cost than competitors do.
- The majority of people are prepared to purchase it and to suggest it to others (referrals)
Testing is an ongoing process. It should be a part of any significant change made to the product. Every time, the new improvement in function must prove it is able to help customers move just one more step towards their objectives.
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The importance of the use of an MVP has been demonstrated repeatedly when it comes to creating a durable, solid, reliable, and scalable product. In a highly-speedy market, it’s extremely helpful to know how markets work as well as what it requires and how they should be described.
If you are a startup firm and looking for the right partner to develop your MVP, there is no better choice than iTechnolabs. We have the best team and offer the best services that will make your brand reach undisputed market heights.