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Hackernoon logoMinimum Viable Product: a Crucial Stage of Development Process by@krzysztof

Minimum Viable Product: a Crucial Stage of Development Process

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@krzysztofKrzysztof

Member of itCraft Team

In software development, testing ideas, doing trials and continuously learning is the approach that leads to success. That’s why creating a minimum viable product (MVP) can be so beneficial for every business that wants to have their IT product done the right way.

The concept of minimum viable product was popularized by Eric Ries, a business owner and the author of The Lean Startup. In the book, Ries analyzes the mistakes that were made by startup owners and employees, as he had lots of experience with startup culture in the USA. He was confident about his conclusion - to build a successful enterprise, the idea needs to be researched, discussed with people and tested beforehand. 

What is a minimum viable product?

Simply put, MVP is a basic version of the product we want to develop. It has a set of features that are the most important ones for the potential user. The team of software designers and developers prepare a mobile app, or a web app that can be used and tested but doesn’t have all the functionalities assumed for the project.

MVP is an integral part of the software development process. It doesn’t require that much effort to be built, but at the same time, the outcome is so insightful and helpful. Making IT products without it would be much less efficient and the final result could be much more defective.

What is the purpose of a minimum viable product?

The main goal of MVP is to learn. Crafting a new product, even if it’s similar to the ones that are already there, is always a challenge. Collecting required information can be hard if we can’t present any sample to the customers. And this data is crucial to achieving results in the future.

The essential characteristic of a minimum viable product is the first word of the whole definition, which is “minimum”. That means we need to deliver the most basic app or website that is possible to get the desired feedback. The principle here is to share a small product with one, two, or three features instead of assumed ten.

Start with the vision of functionalities that will be most useful for the customers. If you own a business, you probably know them best. Building MVP based on your vision will make the whole development process more efficient.

Another purpose of MVP is to save the time and cost of the whole project. Testing the new product early in the process is the best way to avoid failures that can prolong it. Also, being able to eliminate a problem at this point is often protecting us from losing money and time.

Then we can invest it in building a product that will really be appreciated by the customers - instead of wandering in the dark, trying to guess what they will like.

What is the role of a minimum viable product in Agile?

Agile is a work methodology that likes to iterate and validate. It considers MVP as one of the crucial stages in software development. Before we even begin the first stage of production, we should determine if your idea is profitable to our business but also if the customer can appreciate it.

Agile will search for the answer. Its goal is to achieve the best result using available resources effectively. So wasting time is not an option when working this way. MVP may be one of the most successful tools to get people to talk about our product before it hits the market in its final form.

How do you create a minimum viable product?

At first, we need an idea. After initial discussions, workshops and arrangements with the software house of our choice, the process begins.

Target group

We need to remember that our MVP is dedicated to a specific group of people - our potential customers. So determining this group, its needs and desires would definitely help to find out which features should be included in the MVP.

At this point, it is worth remembering that people like products and services that solve their problems in a comfortable and positive way. Think about that when you evaluate your target audience. What do they want to do in their spare time? What are their main difficulties in life?

What kind of service are they looking for? Be aware of your potential clients’ desires, not just your business goals.

Data analysis

After running the minimum viable product for the first time, we get tons of data we need to process, analyze and draw conclusions from. At this point, it’s only the factors we can measure with internal tools that we implemented into the product.

This data will help us to find out if the target group we aimed for is actually the right one. Also, we can study the consumer paths and see if the usage of our product is compatible with our predictions.

Feedback from customers

Now we can read the reports on bugs, missing features, as well as unnecessary features and all the other insights from the people that used our MVP. Including the information from the previous step, we can learn what was done right and what needs improvements to reach the final stage.

Carefully familiarize yourself with the opinions, because they are the most critical information about our idea and the product itself. Maybe this research will determine that our initial concept isn’t as good as we thought. That’s not a reason to give up! MVP is great for situations like that because it gives us a chance to change the strategy and pursue some other project idea.

Product update

Based on all the collected feedback and conclusions we got from all the previous steps, we can now build another version of our product. If there’s a need for that - it can be another improved MVP to run even more tests. If not - an MVP becomes the actual product. After being updated with more functionalities and proper design, of course.

Should I invest in a minimum viable product?

Working on any type of business solution should be sufficient. Software development is not an exception here. Investing in MVP can bring so many benefits to the whole process. Investing in it is money well spent. Be sure to find out a reliable business partner - a company that will provide you with robust IT solutions tailor-made with your requirements in mind.

At itCraft, we always propose to build a minimum viable product before the actual production stage begins. We can use it to collect feedback, test each functionality and find out what else needs to be fixed. Our company wants to provide high-quality software that delivers business value to our clients’ end-customers. Building MVPs with React Native and other technologies we specialize in is the way to understand how our products might be perceived and what we can do better.

We also recommend downloading our ebook on Cross-Platform and Native development.

MVP can be helpful when determining which technology to use when building an app. With this ebook, you will get a lot of insightful knowledge and business case studies that justify the choice of one or another method. Hope it will help!

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