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How to Build a Minimum Viable Product In 2021: Essential Benefits and Challenges Explained

06 Aug 2021

17 Min

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The modern IT industry constantly grows, providing releases every day. Though, only the strongest will live: due to lack of investments, marketing demand, or public indifference, many startups collapse, and we know only the most successful ones. So, how can you join them?

To understand what the customers need the most from your final product, primarily you should develop a minimum viable product. MVP costs less than a full-fledged solution, helping you investigate the market environment with minimum financial and time losses. Such a method has led to the success of well-known companies like Dropbox and Amazon, and it is worth considering.

A minimum viable product creation is a procedure of building a solution with a set of features enough for path-breakers to use. MVP can also help the developers to improve the product due to the customers' feedback analysis.

This very particular post will shed some more light on the process of minimum viable product software development. I’ll also give some examples of successful MVP, so stay tuned.

The Purpose of a Minimum Viable Product

An MVP building is a development process of a new product having a minimum of crucial features. It should help to identify the viability of the entire system and conduct an audience response testing.

So, how to build MVP app and why should you do it? First of all, you should create your future app version with only the most critical features to meet the customers’ pains. Then, the other options can be included after obtaining a client’s review.

There’s a common deception that companies build MVP solutions to speed up time to market. But it’s more common that companies develop MVP to verify the economic viability. So, development speed can be a priority only when it comes to faster market analysis and MVP testing.

According to industry estimates, about 20% of startups fail in the first year of their existence. Moreover, 2/3 of startups never bring positive incomes due to various reasons. But if you come to MVP building wisely, you can avoid such failures and increase your profitability, like the globally famous companies that started their businesses by building a minimum viable product. For example, Statista notes that the annual revenue of Amazon constantly grows, amounting to $386.06 billion in 2020. Likewise, Facebook’s profit also increased to $86 billion in 2020. Thus, the numbers speak for themselves and prove the necessity of MVP builds for every business.

MVP Basic Goals

In a nutshell, MVP is mainly focused on:

  • Testing a product’s viability at low costs.
  • Spending less money on product development.
  • Faster delivery of a product that solves one user’s problem leastwise.

Anyway, when hiring a custom software development services, you should have a clear goal of your project.

Basic principles of MVP

How to build an MVP app — 3 essential principles

MVP Benefits for Businesses

MVP development is a shield and sword of any application. It can help you both spark the interest of users, or prevent your business from suffering damage. But, let’s get through each MVP advantage one at a time.

To put it short, then we build an MVP app, we can achieve the following advantages:

  • Initial customer research
  • Testing stage
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Possibility to attract investors
  • Reducing the development costs of the final product

We'll discuss each of them in detail below.

  1. Initial Consumer Research

The sooner the product reaches end-users, the faster you’ll get to obtain and investigate their opinions. This way, you can study the market environment and create your MVP due to the data obtained. It is easy to do that because the MVP codebase is little.

On the other hand, it should be mentioned that if people get involved in your project, you’ll be certainly sure that the created features satisfy users’ needs, and they strive for more updates. If something’s wrong, you can scrap the project for damage reduction.

  1. Testing Stage

Another essential benefit of a minimum viable product software is that it lets you test the whole concept of your project. If you launch the app having a lot of features, it’ll be much harder to tailor it according to the needs of a particular audience. Moreover, you’ll have to get rid of the unnecessary product features you’ve paid for.

Developing an MVP version, you work just at the small range of features. If these features are well-received by your consumers, you can offer them new ones addressing their preferences.

Learn more about testing - we prepared 5 best iOS testing frameworks.

  1. Cost-Effectiveness

Cross-functional apps usually need lots of time and money during the development process. Though, if you build an MVP app, it may cost much less due to the incremental development. Moreover, after obtaining profit, you can reinvest money for additional features building.

  1. Attracting Investors

Finally, if your company depends on external investments, you should catch your investors’ interest. It’s important because the parties concerned don’t have to await the issue for too long. People often avoid ideas that are perfect on paper but have miserable implementation. Therefore, if you make MVP, it would be the best solution in this case, and the investors would trust it.

  1. Reducing the Development Costs of the Final Product

Building MVP can help you prioritize features and functions, necessary for your future product and plan your finances for the building process. Thanks to that, you can draw in expenses needed to create the full-fledged product.

MVP advantages

How to build MVP wisely and what benefits to use

How to Build an MVP

Despite the fact MVP has a limited set of features, planning actions before development is necessary. The question is: how to create minimum viable product and where to start? So, let’s find out all the details of the MVP development process.

When you’re creating a minimum viable product, you should pass through the following steps:

  • Market Research
  • Get a Clear Idea
  • Define the Feature List
  • Build and Launch
  • Analyze the feedback

And now we’ll talk more about the listed points.

Market Research

Market research is the fundamental point of any prosperous project. If you don’t want to end up broke — analyze. Make sure that your minimum viable product will be interesting and helpful for users. There are a lot of additional platforms that conduct paid surveys, like SwagBucks, Onepoll, Toluna, etc. They will assist you in making up your customer’s detailed portrait. Moreover, watch out for your competitors and thoroughly investigate how they make a minimum viable product.

Get a Clear Idea

To understand how to build an MVP, every business proprietor should analyze their project, replying to the following questions:

  • What problems can my platform solve?
  • Can it be useful for the end-consumer, and how?
  • Why would they use this solution?

If all the replies are found, you’ll have a clear idea as to the principal product qualities. After defining the problems and the pain points (and their solutions), you can start making it MVP version of your future product.

Define the Feature List

While building up an MVP for a startup you definitely have to provide a software development company that will assist you, with a list of features. So write down all the desired components of your upcoming app.

Discover how to draw up a business plan, pick features, and estimate the budget in this guide.

Then, leave only the features that will be essential for creating a minimum viable product concept. MVP means that you don’t have to implement the complicated frameworks and the fancy design at once. So, take one step at a time.

Build and Launch

After all the criterias’ arrangement, you can start building your MVP. So, how to create a minimum viable product that will be prosperous and attractive both for users and investors? Remember: you should strike a happy medium to receive a professional and concise product.

Your MVP shouldn’t be functionally overloaded. At the same time, it should be qualitative, with every bug fixed at its proper time to avoid failure from the very beginning. Moreover, it must attract the customers by its ease and solve their fundamental problems.

Analyze the Feedback

How to do MVP in such a way as to obtain positive feedback? It is essential in the process of MVP development. Using it, you can draw your own conclusions about the other features to develop or a bug search. Thus, the early users will serve both as idea creators and testers for your MVP.

How to build MVP

5 steps to build an MVP

Building an MVP, remember the most important rule: you should develop a well-balanced product according to your customers’ desires.

Unsure about a start point?

Obtain a project evaluation and professional consultation for free.

The Price of MVP Solution

So, we studied how to build your MVP solution. And now it’s time to define the prices for the minimum viable product development as well as its timing. Cleveroad provides app development services in different spheres, and travel and hospitality is one of them. Thus, we’ll discuss minimum viable product costs on the example of a hotel booking app.

Bear in mind: cost and time estimation is rough, depending on the uniqueness of every app, even in the case of features similarity. To get more accurate information, contact us for free.

Firstly, we estimated the development time of MVP essential features for both Android and iOS. The results of such evaluations are presented below.

The Main MVP Characteristics for Both Android and iOS

ModuleEssential MVP featuresFrontend (iOS&Android)Backend

Login screen

Login through Facebook

Login through email (+ password)

Logout

Forgot password?

70h

22h

Register screen

Terms and Policy screen

Registration via email+password

26h

5h

Favorites screen

List of rooms

30h

10h

Search screen

Search and offerings

Date settings

The number of visitors

List of rooms

260h

88h

Profile screen

Settings

Payments

Feedback

Profile editing

136h

49h

Message screen

List of messages received

Message archive

Dialogue details

264h

89h

Trips screen

Future trips list

42h

15h

Order screen

Card payment

76h

27h

Proprietor features

Ads screen building

Query management

322h

85h

GPS location

GPS

40h

-

Push notifications

Notifications

28h

16h

Total development timing

1294h

406h

Moreover, all the hotel booking apps should have a thoroughly developed admin panel to comfort run the application. So the timing for build it is the following:

Time Estimations for Admin Panel Development

ModuleEssential MVP featuresFrontendBackend

Authorization screen

Sign up/sign out

4h

3h

Rooms management

Managing rooms

38h

35h

Visitors management

Managing visitors

41h

38h

Reports management

Managing reports

15h

20h

Categories management

Managing categories

16h

10h

Total time for development

114h

106h

So, we listed the approximate MVP features timing necessary to develop a minimum viable product for the hotel booking platform. In common, the programmers need about 1920 hours to make an MVP app version both for iOS and Android.

If we divide this time into sprints, we’ll have 9 development iterations. However, keep in mind that the programmers are not the only ones that would participate in your project. Your team should also contain frontend and backend developers, QA engineers, designers, business analysts, project managers, DevOps specialists, and team lead. This way, the questions on how to make minimum viable product and how to design MVP will be fully solved.

Thus, regarding the workflow details and team composition, the rough price will be $159,175 for such a complex product. Rendering development services, we can also guarantee on-time delivery of the built products if all the specialists are necessary for the creation process.

MVP Examples

This section will provide you with prominent MVP examples. These well-known startups founders that turned their companies into famous ones worldwide can teach business proprietors a lot. They definitely know how to make an MVP app and turn it into a successful business.

Airbnb

This history dates back to 2007 when two San-Francisco men wanted to establish their business, being on a tight budget. Once, there was a design conference in their town, so they decided to rent out the top floor of their apartment to visitors with no rooms at the hotels.

How to develop a minimum viable product in this situation? They made up a basic landing page with their housing pictures on it. Three primary clients came first and rented the rooms during the conference.

Brian Chesky

Brian Chesky

Airbnb, Inc. CEO

I'm not saying the whole world will work this way, but with Airbnb, people are sleeping in other people's homes and other people's beds. So there's a level of trust necessary to participate that's different from an eBay or Facebook.

Focused on hospitality and travel? A guide on concierge app development will help you stay on top of e-travel trends. Look through it!

The entrepreneurs defined their target audience and confirmed their concept viability thanks to communication with guests and the MVP marketplace. As a result, the Airbnb platform for short-term housing rent appeared.

airbnb first landing

The very first design of airbnb.com

Today Airbnb is a commercially successful project that earned $887 million profit in the first quarter of 2021. Visitors reserved 64.4 million nights and experiences, which is 13% more than last year.

Buffer

Wasting time for useless products that the target audience wouldn’t accept? That’s what Joel Gascoigne thought about when he developed Buffer. Instead of product development, he prepared a webpage containing a product description and some plans for subscription.

Joel Gascoigne

Joel Gascoigne

Co-founder and CEO of Buffer

It starts with the company’s purpose and values, which serve to attract and inspire the right team members. This leads to innovation and superior customer service, which then leads to improved market share and higher revenues, profits, and eventually shareholder value.

After efforts to subscribe, the customers obtained an email stating about the product unavailability and offered to monitor the building process. This way, the question of how to create MVP obtained a wise solution. The subscription page assisted Joel in setting up a connection with the target users and making a base of subscribers for the upcoming product. Moreover, he understood the share of traffic that is ready to pay.

buffer first ui/ux

Example of MVP by Buffer

From the MVP version, Buffer changed into a solution for social network management that entered 2021 with over $21 million of revenue thanks to ​​29,632 customers invested in it.

Twitter

After being defeated on the audio/video marketplace due to the concurrency with iTunes, Odeo had to launch a completely new product. It was a microblogging solution, which was named “twttr”.

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey

Twitter Inc. CEO

Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.

In the beginning, the platform served as an inside service for Odeo employees. It also enjoyed team acclaim, and they decided to make it open to the public. Though, a future social network didn’t gain popularity at once. New followers joined the project after the SXSW conference in 2007. And nowadays, Twitter is one of the most successful projects on the social web, with $1,190 million in revenue.

twitter first landing

The very first design of twitter.com

Pebble

Pebble is known for the launch of smart-watch ancestors — e-paper watches.

Company founder, Eric Migicovksky, established the most efficient Kickstarter campaign of all time. The total investment amount was up to $10,000,000. Eric attracted the audience with a video demonstrating an MVP version of his upcoming project. This way, he asked for funds. In a 2 hours period, $1 million was gathered. By the end of the first week, there was $600,000 on a project’s bank account. At the end of the investment round, the total amount figured up to $10,200,000. Unfortunately, this project was out of business and then changed, joining Fitbit.

top-6 mvp examples

Additional MVP Examples

We gave you some well-known examples of when the founders knew how to create MVP websites or other products. Then, realizing the worthiness of their ideas, they could turn it into a full-fledged business project.

Reasons Why Some MVPs Fail

Building an MVP, you should clearly understand that you cannot rise your minimum viable product without understanding the hidden pitfalls. So, let’s discuss the widespread development mistakes.

Incorrect priorities

If you don't define the goals, focusing on the wrong problem solution, your product wouldn’t attract customers or even pass the concept testing.

Iteration lack

You defined a problem, and it’s great. However, you should also find solution alternatives. That’s why if you avoid communication with customers, sketching, brainstorming sessions, and so on, it will harm your product.

Lack of customers’ feedback

You can never understand the users’ needs and pain points without asking for their opinion and obtaining replies.

Features overload

Such excess can lead to poor UX or annoy the customers. If the functions are poorly created and have a controversial purpose, the data quality will suffer as well as the client feedback. So, consider engaging UI/UX design services.

Late start

Your product shouldn’t be launched too fast or too late; try to find a balance. The MVP development workflow usually takes from 1 to 5 months, depending on a solution's complexity.

MVP failures reasons

How not to make a MVP - reasons for failure

What to Know About MVP to Succeed

After all the stages on how to create MVP product have been investigated, let’s discuss proper dealing with it. We’ve prepared a set of advice that will help you during the development workflow.

  • The IT sphere is quite competitive because the marketplaces are refilled with new apps almost daily. That’s why you should pursue a market investigation and especially keep a close eye on your rivals to leave them far away. Learn their strategies of the product implementation, compare the information obtained. You need it to create your own exceptional experience and to give it proper embodiment for users’ needs fulfillment.
  • Create your buyer persona. It means you should take an opinion poll, ask the right people, and obtain information from them to create the portrait of your ideal consumer. It can contain personal information (gender, age, or marital status) as well as professional details (like position title or work issues/ways of their solutions). The buyer persona can help you create messaging and content that will be more precise for your target audience. As a result, the user’s interest in your MVP will grow.
  • In dependence on your business size, you can have several buyer personas. So you should do the market segmentation and target audience research to reveal groups unified by common interests to impact them by your MVP.
  • Make up a story map that will identify your aims and results, user stories, and tasks. This way, you’ll have a comfortable tool to analyze problems and achievements connected to the upcoming MVP.
  • The MVP launch is not the end of your workflow. You need to constantly check, learn and measure the internal MVP characteristics, which are key ones because they reflect the degree of your minimum viable product success.

Here are the essential attributes of MVP success:

  • Activations (the number of people who joined your product thanks to its UX),
  • Feedback (customers’ reviews),
  • The number of active users, etc.

Cleveroad Experience

Cleveroad is a software development company that helps startups and global businesses turn their ideas into powerful digital solutions. With over 10 years in software development, we have built up expertise in multiple domains, including e-commerce, retail, logistics, education, healthcare, and others.

We are well-acquainted with the question of how to make a minimum viable product. One of our last projects was Ayoo dance — a social net connecting dancers. We developed an MVP at first and checked users’ favorable feedback. Later this application turned into a full-fledged social network service, also available for iOS.

Ayoo dance is a global community for dancers that allows them to spend time joyfully and profitably. This way, the dancers chat with soulmates and learn new moves or styles. We utilized different technologies like Facebook SDK for integrating logging in via Facebook, Swift for iOS development, and Node.js for the backend. Learn more in our case study.

ayoo social net

The Ayoo application

Wrapping Up

MVP creation is more about the strategy and analysis rather than complicated product development. Remember, if you want to build a useful MVP, such stages as concept building, choice of an MVP development company, testing, and prototyping should be taken very seriously.

Let's build your MVP!

We can assist you. Get a pro technical consultation and project evaluation for free.

Frequently Asked Questions

To define your MVP development cost, you should be based on your business aims and project requirements.

You can find an MVP development stages below:

  • Do the market research
  • Conduct the requirement analysis
  • Get a clear idea of MVP
  • Define the feature list
  • Build and launch an app
  • Analyze the feedback on MVP and full-fledged app

Briefly, MVP is focused on the following:

  • Low-cost viability testing of a product.
  • Low-cost product development.
  • Faster delivery of a product that solves one customer’s problem leastwise.

A minimum viable product includes only the essential features that will solve the customers’ pains and problems. Everything else can be developed after analyzing customers’ reviews.

The vast majority of startups collapse because the market doesn’t need them. To completely understand what the customers need from your final product, you should develop a minimum viable product. MVP costs less than a full-fledged product and helps you investigate the market situation. Minimum viable product creation led such companies as Dropbox or Amazon to success.

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