As much as 95% of all new products fail. And when we say all, we really mean it. Physical or digital, the product failure rate is high.
Premature scaling, poor knowledge of target market, inability to meet target audience needs, poor product quality - these are just some of the leading causes that leave startups wondering if there was anything they could have done to prevent the doom.
The most important question to ask at this point is the one posed by Eric Rise, the author of The Lean Startup:
"How can we learn more quickly what works and discard what doesn’t?"
One of the answers he offers is MVP development: the creation of a minimum viable product that will help you learn and detect issues with a product before it is too late.
What is MVP?
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product developed to contain only the minimum set of features of the final software version. These core features are carefully selected to represent the essence of the product and in that way test the it’s market viability. In other words, the idea behind MVP is to collect user feedback to fix the existing software features and implement new ones.
MVP is a viable solution for any type of product development. However, this approach is particularly beneficial for startup app development as they are mostly based on an idea which market compatibility is yet to be determined.
5 reasons to build an MPV
By developing a minimum viable product, you are creating a safety cushion that helps you build an adequate product that meets market demands. By focusing on MVP prior to stretching your efforts on a more complex software idea, you get the chance to:
- Test the idea and get feedback
You can build the greatest product in the world, but if there isn’t a single person out there who will find value in it, you’re not going to love the outcome. Your product has to be unique, compelling and should respond to market needs - so how do you know if it meets the criteria?
You roll out an MVP.
An MVP allows you to test your hypothesis without wasting too many resources on production and marketing. It aids you in building an early user base that can help you collect relevant feedback. Your customers can let you know how they feel about the product and its features, the good and bad, tell you what they feel is lacking and what they would change to make it better suit their needs. Hopefully, all this intel will give you an idea of how to rebuild and improve the product so that the final version is a true success.
The better you respond to feedback, the more likely it is that the early adopters will stick with you through the development process and become your biggest advocates.
- Attract clients and investors early on
In addition to building a solid user base, an MVP helps showcase your idea to potential investors. If you get them to like it, you could be looking at greater financial support for all future development updates.
- Improve focus & minimize development time
An MVP is also a great way to boost your focus and development efficiency. On the one hand, the feedback you collect will reduce distractions that are often caused by too many ideas. By knowing exactly what your target audience responds to and which features need an overhaul, you get to expedite the division-making process and develop the product in the most optimal way.
- Build the most adequate product with minimum waste
As we are talking about the minimum viable product, we are talking about minimum investment. Less guessing means fewer resources wasted on developing and testing (although an MVP also needs pre-launch testing and UAT testing is a good way to go). By defining the necessary features and recognizing the ones with low utility early on, you could turn your idea into a successful product on a shoestring budget. Furthermore, you will be in a position to modify your marketing campaign to target the biggest pain points and easily communicate your product benefits.
- Reduce time-to-market
By rolling out an MVP, it is possible to build, measure, and learn about the viability of your product quickly. It is a chance to analyze your target market reactions to the product and understand whether to maintain the course or pivot. Ultimately, the final software version that hits the market will be a well-polished one that meets the requirements of both your users and investors.
The 4 don’ts of MVP development
- Don’t waste too many resources on an MVP
Yes, you want your product to dazzle, even though it’s just an MVP. But wasting too much time, energy, and money on building just the first version is a huge gamble. What if it’s a complete miss? What if it requires a significant redesign to meet market demands? You’ll need those resources back to address the issues and relaunch a better product.
- Don’t oversimplify
Be sure to find a fine line between a minimum version of your product and one that is just too basic. Oversimplification can stand in your way when it comes to communicating the benefits to your consumers and not as a result not give them the information they need to understand what the product is all about. MVP development is all about balancing what is absolutely necessary and what should wait in the backlog for the next iteration.
- Don’t do a superficial job
Bear in mind that minimum product still requires maximum effort. Don’t rush through the planning phase just so you could release anything as soon as possible. Start small, but start smart. Organize your ideas and prioritize so that you can introduce the audience to the MVP that best describes your idea and delivers valuable feedback.
- Don’t disregard user feedback
Criticism can hurt, especially after you invest all you’ve got into the product you are so proud of. But don’t forget that its success is dependent on the satisfaction of your customers. Listen to their comments, make note of all of their demands, and see how to approach a redesign so that you stay true to yourself and still meet their requirements.
Industry giants who started with an MVP
At first, Dropbox rolled out a visualization MVP, meaning they demonstrated the functionalities of their product through a demo video. Luckily for them, it went viral. They managed to reach out to the right audiences, showcase their idea, and turn Dropbox into one of the most successful cloud storage solutions of today.
Spotify, too, first went with a visualization MVP: they built a landing page that contained the most important information about the product. After that, they moved on to an MLP (Mobile Location Protocol) so users could actually experience the perks of Spotify.
Did you know that Airbnb services, which are now fully automated, were once performed by their employees? That’s right - Airbnb’s MVP version required a ton of manpower that was used to demonstrate what the software will be capable of once the final product rolls out.
By now we all know that this social media giant started out as a Harvard-only social network. But what not many are aware of is that the very first version of Facebook was nothing more than a simple MVP: a mockup profile page that featured a messaging system.
At first, all you could do with Uber was connect with the driver and pay for your ride. Luckily for all of us today, the demand for this kind of service was so great that it didn’t take them long to grow from an iPhone-exclusive MVP to a global transportation solution.
The best MVP development strategy: outsourcing
Evidently, MVP can serve as a practical solution for a range of businesses and diverse product development projects. By building an MVP, you get to do great things with low expenses.
But what if you don’t have the team to do it?
Hiring in-house talent can be a hefty investment, and quite quickly your minimum viable product can leave a huge dent in your budget. For this reason, MVP development is often outsourced to experienced teams that have already worked on similar projects.
Fortunately for you, we here at Inviggo have delivered several successful MVP development projects. Our team has a proven process in place that we adapt based on our clients’ unique needs. Together with you and your team, the Inviggo MVP professionals will go through market research notes, analyze competitors and user needs, define user flow, and select the most important features for the MVP.
After gathering the info, we’ll move on to MVP development and remain focused on perfecting your solution until the end. And by that we don’t mean the launch date: we’ll wait for the feedback and implement the necessary changes.