MVP - Should I build an MVP? What are the advantages?
An MVP, short for Minimum Viable Product, is a well-known concept for startups and the tech industry. It's a key element of the Lean Startup methodology which says you should build an MVP and test it with users as soon as possible, so flaws can be detected sooner while it's cheaper to correct them.
What is an MVP?
It is a product with a minimum set of features to attract early users and validate the idea in the initial phase of product development. It tests the main and most basic features of a product with users so this data can be used to make smart business decisions. Building an MVP allows entrepreneurs to assess the viability of their product based on customer experience. In the end, it comes down to two possible alternatives for MVPs: to scale up based on the customers’ needs or to shut the project down at an early stage while investment is still low if the product doesn't appeal to its target audience.
The illustration above is famously used to explain what an MVP is. In the case of building an MVP of a car, for example. Instead of starting to build a car piece by piece and calling each part a stage of an MVP, an MVP would start with the most basic form of transportation on wheels, being a skateboard or a scooter. An MVP would evolve each step of the way, first by building a bicycle, then a motorcycle, all the way up to a fully functional car.
What is the difference between an MVP and a PoC?
Although a Minimum Viable Product and a Proof of Concept (PoC) might be similar in essence, as in a stripped-down version of a product, what they differ are in their purposes. While a PoC's addresses building and testing a product’s features to see if they are technically possible, an MVP has to have these features tested with the public. In simple terms, a PoC is about the drafting process and the idealization of an idea, and an MVP is about implementing that idea with the public.
When to build a PoC?
Building a PoC before an MVP is a good idea when you are unsure if your product is technically viable or about the competence of your developing team. That way if the project run into technical issues and the product cannot be completed as intended, it would not cause a big loss of investment considering PoC development takes about 2 weeks to be finished instead of 3 months like an MVP.
Why build an MVP?
- To release the product in the market sooner
- To test the concept with users before further investment
- To learn what’s resonating with the market (and what’s not)
- To minimize the resources and time that would be spent on developing a product that wouldn’t sell
- Partner at App Masters
An MVP is an essential step for validating a product idea with a possible investor. With an MVP, not only you can show investors your product work but can also demonstrate it has acceptance among the public.
Advantages of building an MVP
Building an MVP is an opportunity to begin to develop a customer base while at the same time learning from user usage data which is used to make strategic decisions. It is a way to reduce development costs while maximizing learning. Ultimately, it is a form to mature the product for the market by speeding up time to market, making adjustments based on rapid feedback, and anticipating market demand.
Generally, software development companies will charge a fixed price for development costs, that is because they are aware of each step of developing an MVP and can predict an estimate of work hours. Commonly, the development of an MVP shouldn’t take longer than 3 months, the reason why is anything much longer than that could mean many features and complexities are being considered in the project instead of stripping it down to the basics.
The ideal MVP development team
An MVP development team should have one or more of the following professionals: product manager, project manager, UI/UX designer, Frontend Developer, Backend Developer, and QA engineer.
The tasks of each MVP’s team member
A product manager will conduct extensive market research to define the target audience, the pain the product is trying to solve, and the best way to tackle this problem. This role is responsible for the business plan of the product. The project manager is the person who will assign tasks to the team and keep track of the project’s progress, deadlines and budgets. This is the person who is in direct contact with the clients and the developing team, centralizing all the information about the project. The UI/UX designer is the professional who will design the interface of the software with the user experience in mind. Frontend developers will take wireframes, sketches and mockups delivered by the UI/UX designer and turn them into high-quality code while ensuring quality, performance, and responsiveness. Backend developers are the experts responsible for server work, operational logic, and cloud storage. Lastly, a QA Engineer is responsible for testing the software for bugs, crashes and malfunctions throughout the whole process of development. It is the person responsible for the quality control of the software.
How can I build an MVP?
Do you have an idea for an MVP? We can help you develop it! Get in touch with us for an estimate of costs.
Vitor Ferraz is a content producer from Curitiba who graduated in Advertising from the Federal University of Parana. He has lived in the USA and Canada and is now App Masters' Head of Marketing. Loves technology and new ideas. Photographer as a hobby. Enjoys good music and good food. He aspires to be a filmmaker one day.