What is MVP ?
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product – a version of your app that consists of all the core functionalities and is used to test the market and gauge the reaction. An MVP validates the product idea in the market, allows you to assess the user experience and also make decisions on the audience that you would target. The mobile app development industry is risky – there are innumerable competitors and your product has to be bang on the money. If your app does not perform above expectation when released, you might as well shut shop and call it a day. This is where MVP plays an important role.
Why an MVP?
Focus on the major functions of the app
– These are usually related to the vision of the app and how it fits in the industry. An MVP will help you focus only on the major idea and develop it to the best possible extent.
Resonates with a lean startup
– A lean startup has a minimal budget and invests its resources in developing the most important features that will create the most value. An MVP helps anticipate that value and allows you to invest in tested ideas.
Market validation is vital
– Every app developer’s stress levels would be halved if you told them their final product would be validated by the market. Unfortunately, that sounds almost utopian. However, an MVP can take you really close to that fate by allowing your main idea some time in the industry. Market reactions to your product might be as good as gold for you
User opinions matter
– An MVP will give you the opportunity to gain insights on user opinions. After all, the success of your product will depend on their experience and opinions.
– One of the biggest advantages of an MVP is the fact that you don’t empty your pockets on one single idea and one single attempt. While that might work, you’re much better off with a basic investment to start, gain some insights on your product and invest the rest of your funds wisely to build on those insights.
How To Come Up With An MVP?
Build Around the Main Idea
– TIn order for you MVP to be effective, it must be based on the main idea. This idea will be the flagship of your product at all stages. The supporting framework should be designed around this idea. Building your MVP on this idea will allow you to assess the pure value of the idea itself. Additional features will add value over and above this main idea. Ask yourself questions that customers would ask themselves: “What do I need this product for?” “How will this product help me?” Answering these questions will aid you in making quite a few decisions such as the following.
Setting Your Target Audience
– The people that you hope will buy and use your product in the market is your target audience. Establish a direct link between this audience’s needs and your product’s offerings to create a seamless exchange. You can establish an audience within an already existing segment – like Uber initially did by offering premium black cars to underserved segments in the market (those who couldn’t afford one of the traditional premium black car services).
Identifying and Analysing Competitors
– Once you know the core idea and the audience, you will be able to identify those competitors that are trying to achieve the same results. Not only this, you will be able to analyze customer feedback on competing products and hopefully not make the same mistakes they did!
Determining The User Flow
– One of the main reasons why building around the main idea is imperative is to define the user flow. In order to come up with the ideal flow, you should have the primary goal set in place. This can happen only if your idea takes center stage and is supported with additional features. You supplement this with a user flow that allows users to focus on this idea. Once this is done, it is very easy to track back and identify the various steps that go into achieving this goal – these become the checkpoints that define your user flow!
– Based on the scrutiny and scope of your app, you might find it important to prioritize the main features and follow it up with those features that you might want to add. This distinction between want and need will go hand-in-hand with your user flow. This design will help you understand those features that you must include in your MVP and those that can be added in the future. The same is visible with many apps, like Uber with their fare splitting and cab choices being introduced much after the main feature of cab booking.
Scale from Proof of Concept
Your Proof of Concept will serve as a guide to help you come up with the MVP version. If your proof of concept is the idea in small scale and the full version is the idea in large scale, the MVP is the medium scale set for moderate complexity in an optimal timeframe. Going by this roadmap, you can scale your product to find the most effective MVP form which includes all the core functionalities.
Good knowledge about the market and user needs will always be reflected in a successful product. It might not be the other way around always. It is important to start by employing instruments that can collect user information and insights. Conduct surveys and ask the right questions. Also, make sure you define your user and the market you want to operate in. This will help you target a specific demographic and create a buzz in that market instead of being all over the place with your marketing plan.
Allocate Resources and Time
Once your concept is in place and you have gained considerable insights through market research and surveys, you can come up with a budget for the MVP while designing a roadmap for all departments involved. This would involve a logical breakdown of tasks based on time as well as available resources. It will provide the team with clarity and direction.
Assess and Measure
Before releasing your MVP, one of the final checks should be related to creating measurable variables with strategic indicators. The team should know the range of variables they are looking to measure along with the ways in which they will be measured. Make sure all the groundwork is up-to-date before releasing the MVP.
So there it is, the reason behind Uber launching their beta version in 2010 only to a small group of people in San Francisco; or why Dropbox just created a tutorial video that caught the attention of Steve Jobs. MVPs can be the reason behind your success and the safety net that stopped you from blowing a hole through your feet. MVPs can actually become the most valuable player in the development of your app if you play your cards right!