Even though many new ideas sound brilliant in theory, there are no success guarantees in reality. The success of a launch depends on many factors, including... luck. However, blaming bad luck for failure is immature. The reasons can be slightly more complicated, as nearly 90% of all startups fail.
So, as a business, you have an idea of a solution for a problem and you can’t wait to make it real with a custom application. To estimate its chances to survive in a crowded market, you should test the waters first. At this point, iterative development is what can help. The best option is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Table of Contents
- What Is MVP in Software Development
- Why Business Ideas are Failing
- How Can Business Benefit From MVP App
- What is not MVP
- How to Build an MVP App
- How Anadea Can Help With MVP Development
What Is MVP in Software Development?
Minimum Viable Product is a version of an app with functionality just enough for early customers to solve their problem. Developing an MVP is the right solution for you if:
- You need to test the demand for your original idea.
- You don’t want to waste money and development resources.
- You want to attract first customers to your app.
- You want to minimize possible risks.
MVP Letter by Letter
In the MVP abbreviation, M stands for Minimum. Minimum everything: the number of functions that form a core of an app and, as a result, minimum development cost and duration. Having only core functions isn’t that bad, considering that about 80% of most features are never used. Keep in mind we are talking not about the final product but some kind of draft. You surely have a full set of features thought out: try to select those making your idea useful.
V for Viable means that despite the app’s small set of functions, it’s ready to use and can operate the way it’s supposed to. Under viability, we mean not impressing users but solving a real problem MVP states.
Finally, P for Product sums up the above. The whole of functions results in an MVP ready to fulfill its purpose. Even though you get the simplest version of an app, it’s still a product.
Why Business Ideas are Failing
No Market Demand
When the timing isn’t right, there’s hardly anything to do. The market might not yet be ready for the product offered, no matter how good it is. That’s why it’s so important to conduct a market analysis before launching: evaluate the demand and market growth, research competitors, analyze consumer behavior. Understanding what the market needs at the moment will help avoid big misfortune.
The opposite to the previous reason is getting beaten by competitors. The demand for a specific type of product can be so high that the niche is long occupied by larger brand names alike. Meeting the competition requires much effort and money - definitely more than MVP development needs. Offering your customers something that others don’t can be the way out. Still, no guarantees indeed.
Lack of Funding
Many projects shut down for this exact reason. A competent entrepreneur’s task is to manage their budget wisely, successfully achieving milestones in development one by one with proper funding. And competent specialists from a software development company help with it. We at Anadea use an iterative approach to development, charging a small initial investment when shaking hands, which practically excludes customers’ financial issues. We decide on the composition of the first and consecutive releases and propose ways to enter the market.
Not the Right Team
Sometimes it just doesn’t work out when you and the team are not on the same wavelength. You just don’t stick together. Listening isn't enough - you have to hear each other. Be very attentive when choosing a team and make sure communication goes well before assigning it to the project.
Besides, there is something just as harmful as poor communication when working on a product. Poor management is way more serious as it greatly affects the productivity of team members. And it will affect you too - problematic management almost excludes meeting deadlines, timely bug fixes, and other aspects that in the end can cause serious problems with the product, which results in the following reason on the list.
Poor Product Quality
In the case of low-quality products, the market being not ready to open its doors for a fresh startup is a good excuse for failure (mind reason 1). However, sometimes it’s just the quality of an app that ruins everything. Investing in development is not enough: as a business, you need to be engaged in the development process and regularly ask the team for demos.
The saddest thing is, people may truly like the idea, but no user will stick to a bugged app that constantly pulls errors.
For us, Test-Driven Development, Agile methodology, and timely reports ensuring product quality are holy grails. Customers we’ve been working with for 10+ years can attest to it.
How Can Business Benefit From MVP App
Enough with this pessimistic listing. As we have described the MVP concept, the next step is focusing on the ways it’s good for business.
The idea of MVP involves the product’s high responsiveness to changes. A Minimum Viable Product is open to changes anytime even in its core functionalities.
Once a great idea hits you, you don’t want to wait - you want it realized right here, right now. Saying that an MVP can be developed in days would be a lie - it still takes from 6 weeks to create a Minimum Viable Product. Still, you can get a fully functioning mobile or web solution in a relatively short time and attract your first users.
Developing custom software is usually a costly affair. The MVP method makes it affordable even for businesses on a budget, which is due to the shorter development duration.
Validating market demand
While full-fledged apps are supposed to cover business needs, MVPs are more about understanding those of the market, whether users are interested in the product or not. At the MVP stage, you can still rethink and rework the solution to better fit the fast-paced market.
So many businesses are investing in mobile applications, and still creating a truly engaging and usable product is quite a challenge. With an MVP, you will be able to estimate the app users’ retention that is way more important than the number of downloads. By analyzing data on how fast the users get engaged in the product and how they understand the app flow you can draw the right conclusions and make useful updates.
Helps develop relationships with customers
At the early stages of being out in the market, every user is precious. In business, customer relationships play a significant role. Better start working on them from the very beginning of your online journey - MVP is here to help.
Defining monetization strategy
Better not rest hopes on an MVP in terms of gaining profit. However, don’t underestimate how useful MVP can be in defining monetization strategy. Analyzing user behavior may unveil sources of income you never noticed before. Collect your observations and assumptions carefully to make use of them in the future.
Can Non-Startups Make Use of MVP?
Despite the common opinion that only startups need MVP, larger businesses also benefit from MVP software development. When there’s a new feature to be implemented into the existing product, a basic version of a product with this feature should be proposed for testing to a dedicated group of users. While the application of MVP is different with businesses, the purpose stays the same: to collect feedback from users and improve the feature based on their feedback.
What is not MVP
Sometimes clients and project managers are getting so enthusiastic about what was supposed to be MVP that they keep upgrading it with more and more features added. This contradicts the whole idea of what is a Minimum Viable Product which UI should not be cluttered with secondary functions. The more features the app has, the more difficult it is to make changes to the app’s main functionality. It kills a good half of the benefits from the above.
An MVP is not supposed to be an end product. In fact, what you get at an MVP stage and what the final product will look like can differ by times. And that’s fine, as it means you make progress.
How to Build an MVP App
Choose the Solution Type First
What kind of solution do you want, precisely? See the three common types.
Examples: web versions of Twitter, Google Docs, Trello.
Native applications are those built exclusively for a specific platform, Android or iOS, using relevant languages (Java/Kotlin for Android, Objective-C/Swift for iOS). Unlike web apps, they are installed on your smartphone so that there’s always an icon on your screen. Native apps are the most costly and longest to build, however, they are beyond competition in terms of speed and performance. Some can even run with no internet connection.
Examples: Instagram, Pinterest, Bloomberg.
Examples: Gmail, Uber, Evernote.
Research the Market & Competition
Define target audience with a clear user persona in mind. Which particular problem is your product designed to solve? Are users’ needs satisfied with what’s already in the market or you can offer them a fresh, filling-all-needs solution? It’s important to look out for competitors and their ways to implement the idea you’re up to. Go through feedback from similar apps’ users and make notes of their comments.
Build a User Flow Diagram
Build a graphic diagram displaying the path of a user of your app. It should reflect the entire user experience in the application, from the first entry to the final action. For an MVP, the path has to be concise and logical, with no extra steps to take. Building a clear user flow diagram will later help understand which steps are extra and which are essential. We use Miro.com for this purpose.
Think Over Your MVP Features
Reminder: people always come to an app for one thing, so learn to prioritize. Based on a user flow diagram, draw a list of functions you’d like to see in your MVP. Using any prioritization technique you like (consider the MoSCoW - must, should, could, won’t have - method), get this list down to a minimum. The version you get should only contain basic features that comprise the user flow.
Develop an MVP
The easiest way to develop an MVP is to outsource. Turn to a software development company so that a team of specialists can guide you through each type of MVP solutions, the features and flow of your product, as well as work on design concepts.
Get Feedback, Analyze & Move Ahead
Never deprive your users of the opportunity to leave feedback. After your MVP release, go through all the comments carefully. They will help you improve the app - and perhaps grow it to a complex solution.
How Anadea Can Help With MVP Development
- Since 2000, we deliver professional web development and mobile development services - see case studies here.
- We listen to your ideas carefully and try to find an optimal way to bring them to life.
- We use a proven tech stack to assure the competitive performance of your MVP.
- Our team of developers will make your MVP usable and crash-free.
- You can contact us anytime, anywhere to discuss your idea and get a free estimate.