How to Build a Minimum Viable Product In 2020: Benefits and Challenges Explained

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28 Feb 2020
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11 min
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Oleksandr Sh.
Technical writer

Startups are popping out like mushrooms in the rain. Due to survivorship bias, we only know successful startups. But what about those that failed and caused vital losses to investors?

The majority of startups collapse because the market doesn’t need them. To understand what customers need from your product, you should develop a minimum viable product. MVP costs less than a full-fledged solution and allows you to study the situation on the market. This approach got companies like Amazon and Dropbox all the way to where they are now.

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

The Purpose of a Minimum Viable Product

A minimum viable product includes only essential features that will solve the customers’ problems. Everything else can be developed after reviewing the user feedback.

There’s a common misbelief that companies build MVP solutions to accelerate 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.

MVP Goals

In a nutshell, MVP is focused on:

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

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

Basic principles of MVP

3 main principles of minimum viable product

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 bearing losses. But, let’s get through each MVP advantage one at a time.

1. Initial Consumer Research

The sooner the product reaches end-users, the faster you’ll be able to collect and analyze their feedback. It’s a huge advantage for you to understand the situation on the market. If MVP doesn’t find it’s customer, you have some room to reconsider features and overall conception as the codebase is relatively small.

On the other hand, if people get involved in your project, you’ll be sure that developed features are useful for users, so you can move forward. In the worst-case scenario, you can freeze the project to cut your losses.

2. Testing Stage

Another benefit of a minimum viable product software is that it lets you test the whole concept of your project. If you launch the app with a ton of features, it’ll be much harder to adjust it for a specific audience in the future. On top of that, you’ll have to kill useless product’s features that have already been paid for.

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Want to learn more about testing? We’ve outlined 5 best iOS testing frameworks. Check them out!

At the same time, when developing an MVP, you develop a small number of features. Later, if these features suit your users, you can improve them and develop new ones, based on user preferences.

3. Cost Efficiency

As you understand, feature-rich applications are years of hard work, and the price depends on the time spent by the software development team on the project. The MVP price is much less thanks to step-by-step development. Further, when your app brings some profit, you can reinvest it into the development of additional features.

4. Attracting Investors

At last, some companies rely heavily on outside investments. To attract investors you have to interest them in your product. MVP works best here. With a functioning product, even with MVP, you have more chances to gather funds. In addition, stakeholders don’t have to wait for months to see feedback. Usually, investors are afraid of projects that are perfect on paper but remain a dead letter, so MVP can inspire trust.

MVP advantages

Advantages of MVP for your business

How to Build an MVP

Even though an MVP has fewer features, you still have to take steps before the development. So, let’s find out all the details of the MVP development process.

Market Research

Market research is the fundamental point of any project. If you don’t want to end up broke — analyze. Make sure that your product will be interesting for users. There are a lot of platforms that conduct paid surveys, like SwagBucks, Onepoll, Toluna, and so on. Use their services to get a detailed portrait of your customer. Also, keep your rivals in sight — monitor their updates.

Get a Clear Idea

Here’s the challenge that requires every entrepreneur to think. You should find an answer to the following questions:

  • What problems can your product solve?
  • How useful can it be for the end-consumer?
  • Why would they use this solution?

At the end of this stage, you should have an accurate picture of the essential qualities of your product. Since these qualities should help users, you should first define the problems to solve, and then get down to MVP app development.

Define the Feature List

While building an MVP for a startup you have to provide a software development company with a list of features. So write down all the components you want to have in your app.

Further, leave only those features that are vital for the concept of the app. MVP means that you don’t have to implement complicated frameworks and fancy design at once. So, take one step at a time.

Build and Launch

After all the points are settled, you can begin the development of your MVP. A common mistake here is to launch a product of poor quality hoping to fix it in future updates (and never fixing it). Building an MVP doesn’t give you the right to launch a bad product. It has to satisfy customers and investors, or it’ll be a failure from the first minutes. Nevertheless, it has to be laconic, easy to use, and match user needs.

Analyze the Feedback

After collecting user responses, you should make a conclusion based on them. User feedback can help you a lot. Early users will be both your testers and idea generators. They will offer you features to add next and find bugs.

How to build an MVP

5 steps to build an MVP

Just remember, while building MVP, don’t overload it with features. Develop your application in accordance with the wishes of users. That’s the main goal of MVP.

Don’t know where to start with?
We’ll be glad to help you with the planning phase. Get a free consultation and project estimate.

MVP Examples

Now, I’m going to outline some notable minimum viable product examples. These startups are well-known cases that have much to teach a lot of entrepreneurs

Airbnb

In 2007 two guys from San-Francisco wanted to start a business, but they didn’t have money even for the living. Once, there was a design conference in town, so they decided to rent out the upper floor of their housing to visitors who didn’t get rooms in hotels.

They designed a simple landing page and posted photos of their apartment. Soon, they had three clients who rented accommodation during the conference.

Brian Chesky
“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.”
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Interested in travel and hospitality? Go through this guide on concierge app development to stay on top of e-travel trends.

MVP-marketplace and communication with guests allowed businessmen to indicate the target audience and approve the viability of their idea. As a result, they created Airbnb — the platform for short-term accommodation renting.

Airbnb first landing

The very first design of airbnb.com

Buffer

Why bother spending time on products that may be useless to the audience? That’s what Joel Gascoigne thought when he developed Buffer. Instead of building a product, he launched a webpage with a description of his product and several subscription plans.

Joel Gascoigne
“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.”

When users tried to make a subscription, they received a message that offered to follow the development process and stated that the product is not yet available.

Thanks to the subscribers base, Joel established a connection with the target audience. While the subscription page allowed him to understand the share of traffic that is ready to pay.

Buffer first landing

Example of MVP by Buffer

Twitter

Odeo was competing with iTunes in the field of audio and video services. After Odeo’s solution was driven off the market, they had to think over the new product. One of the ideas was a platform for microblogging with a codename “twttr”.

Jack Dorsey
“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.”

At first, the prototype was used as an internal service for Odeo’s employees. The team loved the project, so they decided to make it publicly available. However, Twitter didn’t become popular instantly and grew up only after the SXSW conference in 2007. As for today, Twitter is one of the top favorite social networks in the world with $3.46 billion in revenue.

Twitter first landing

The very first design of twitter.com

Pebble

Pebble founded the manufacturing of watches made of e-paper, which are considered to be the ancestors of smart-watches.

Eric Migicovksky, the founder of Pebble, launched the most successful Kickstarter campaign of all time. Total investments amounted to $10,000,000.

Eric used a demonstration video of a prototype as an MVP. Thus, he asked for investments. The required sum ($100,000) was gathered in two hours. By the end of the week, there was $600,000 on a project’s bank account. At the end of the investment round, overall fundings amounted to $10,200,000. Unfortunately, this project went bankrupt and was assimilated with Fitbit.

Top 6 MVP Examples

Additional MVP Examples

These are some outstanding examples of how minimum viable product development helped founders to understand their ideas are worthy.

Reasons Why Some MVPs Fail

In this article, we’ve talked about how to make your MVP rise. However, it’s hard to rise when you don’t know where you can fall. So, it’s time to talk about the common mistakes in MVP development.

  • Misplaced priorities. This means the team doesn’t determine the product goal before development, or you’re focused on solving the wrong problem. Anyway, the product either won’t be in demand or won’t pass the concept testing.

  • Miscommunication with users. Without asking the right questions and getting proper feedback, you can’t find out what your users actually need.

  • Lack of iteration. Even if you spot the right problem, you still have to consider the alternatives that can be a better solution. The absence of brainstorming sessions, sketching, maintaining contact with your customers, low-quality prototyping will negatively affect the product.

  • Launching late. As I mentioned earlier, speed shouldn’t be a priority of the MVP process. So, you have to find a balance in a development tempo. On average, the MVP software development process takes from 1 to 5 months. But it depends on it's complexity.

  • Excess of features. A good solution with a lot of unnecessary features can either irritate users or make the UX poor. If features are poorly designed and their purpose is unclear, the client’s feedback becomes fragmented, and the data quality deteriorates. So, consider engaging UI/UX design services.

Why MVP software can fail

Points to watch out while developing an MVP

Cleveroad Experience

Lately, we were working on Ayoo dance — the social network for dancers. Although it was an MVP at first, reviews from users were highly positive. So, later this app grew from an MVP to a full-featured social network.

The application is available for iOS.

Ayoo dance is a worldwide dancer community that serves both for entertainment and education. Dancers can learn new styles, moves, and find like-minded people via the app.

We used various technologies like Swift for iOS development, Node.js for backend, and Facebook SDK for integrating logging in via Facebook. Find out more in our case study.

Ayoo social network

The Ayoo app

Wrapping Up

MVP creation is more about the strategy and analysis rather than complicated development. Remember, if you want to build a successful MVP, details like concept developing, prototyping, testing, and choice of MVP development company should be taken very seriously.

Let’s build your MVP!
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