Ask the average start-up (limited by tight deadlines, haunted by slashed budgets, and up to their neck with urgent deliverables) whether they are planning a minimum viable product (MVP).
They will most likely give you attitude with a: ‘nuh uh! No way, Jose. No chance.’
Pretty certain that this is exactly how you must have behaved when your mom nagged you to work-out regularly.
Much like regular visits to the gym, planning a minimum viable product is great for you. But who has the time for either anyway? And then one day when you have turned into a fat blob of a couch potato, with an app that no one seems to care about – you wish you had listened.
But it’s never too late. And we are here to help you understand the concept of an MVP and how to build one.
*Bonus: Keep reading to score a free MVP template!
The Definition of MVP
Minimum Viable Product or MVP is the most basic version of the product which the brand wants to launch. This could be a food item, a household appliance or an app (in our case). The response from prospective buyers, when exposed to this basic version of the product, gives companies enough insight into the type of iterations the app could need.
When planning a Minimum Viable Product here are some of the key characteristics you need to be aware of:
- Functionality : Has enough features for consumers to purchase the product (it becomes easier for the company to market it). The MVP needs to give a great user experience, even with minimum functionality (this means fantastic page loading time & no bugs)
- Design: An MVP should be easy to navigate through/use and also pleasing to the eye
- Feedback: Has some sort of a feedback mechanism wherein users would be able to send their feedback about the product.
- Future benefits: Has enough future benefits for consumers who to adopt the product first
Now that the MVP definition has been presented to you, we will try to simplify it by delving into real-world examples.
People don’t know the answer to ‘What do you want?’ but they can surely try something and tell you if they like it or not. That’s where an MVP comes to helping you give them a taste of what’s to come. Based on the users’ feedback, you can build a full-featured product that intrigues and excites.
An MVP helps you guess less and know more. This also helps solve the niggling doubt of ‘Will my target audience (TG) really like the product?’
Many a time, you are so passionate about the product idea that you lose track of reality – about whether the product will be of any real value to the customer. This is where planning a minimum viable product (MVP) can save you from yourself.
Maybe you are a music director looking for the next big tune. Then you think of making a unique lounge-mix featuring mewling kittens.
You think you’ve struck gold, in terms of insight because you know your TG loves music. They want some new and clutter-creaking, but also familiar and likeable. And well, who doesn’t love kitties?
The idea seems perfect to you, except what if it’s not.
Anyway, you go all out and buy a set of kittens, train their vocal cords to perfection, rent out a studio, record the tune, burn it out on to a million CDs and then initiate marketing spends on the copies.
Alternately, you could coax Felix, your housecat, to record a melodic single on your smartphone. And there you have it – your very own MVP. Then have a few people listen to it. If they like it – you know it’s a good idea to spend money on developing the final product. If they don’t like it – you can find out how it could be made better or, worst case – ditch the idea.
Especially for cash-strapped start-ups, an MVP could be the difference between boom and bust.
The MVP Development Process
Based on the Lean Start-up’s ideology of build-measure-learn feedback loop, is the MVP development process.
It takes time to develop a full app, from design, testing, fixing to market release and it demands fat investments and a mountain of effort. An MVP is an experiential prototype the business uses to test the product’s resonance with the TG and make iterations based on the feedback. This helps organizations save on unnecessary investments, until the MVP is considered fit for further development.
*Bonus: Click here to download a detailed MVP template
Here is how brands can plan for their MVP:
- Set a hypothesis in place: Focus on the end-customer and use that to map out your mobile app’s fundamental parts, such as main features and resources, benefit to customers, revenue streams, etc. Here you are basing the success of the idea on a gut-instinct about what the customer wants.
- Choose your basic functionalities wisely: It’s difficult to limit the features of your app, but doing so is critical to the creation of an MVP. Use a prioritization matrix (or similar method) to narrow down of the top 2-3 features that need to be available in the MVP.
- Choose the right partner to build your MVP: Just hit up the team ta Builder to give you guaranteed timelines and budgets to build you an app MVP. Our excellent app and human team work together to will deliver the best possible MVP in record time.
- Test & Measure Audience Response: Release the MVP to a select section of the target group and record their observations of the product.
- Analyse the feedback: Use the data captured to make informed decisions. Think of it as a chance to make a better or different product that will be loved.
- Revise hypothesis and improve: It’s not easy to do this. But once you have the collated feedback on the app, decide if it’s worthwhile to take the idea forward at all. If the answer is yes, then keep some time aside to make edits to your MVP.
This is followed by the cyclical process of idea generation, creating a prototype, presentation, data collection, analysis and learning. This process will continue until a desirable product is obtained, or until the product is deemed not-viable.
This way, your app building exercise will involve so much less risk and is a cheaper way to discover critical issues and market needs.
So the next time you have an app idea, make sure you add “Planning a Minimum Viable Product” to your list of things to do. We promise – you won’t regret it.