Creating an application is difficult and painstaking work. Statistics show that more than 90% of launched startups are closed in the first year.
We will not consider the reasons for such failures, but the bottom line is that before launching a project, it is worth launching a minimum viable product (MVP). It has limited functionality, but it is quite enough for the consumer to start using it.
In this article, we will tell you more about the minimum viable product and how to create it correctly.
What is MVP?
And so, MVP (minimum viable product) is a viable product, a demo version of an application or website that allows you to understand whether it is worth implementing certain functions and understand what exactly your user needs, etc.
MVP has one main task – to reduce costs. That is, to prevent the waste of time and resources. After all, you do not know for sure whether your project will work or not. Such a test version, let’s call it so, is a full-fledged product with key functions. It should convince the user of its effectiveness.
For the developer, such a product is a necessity, as he will be able to get real feedback from the consumer. If necessary, the application or site is finalized. This is an opportunity to test and improve the development and successfully enter the market.
But remember that the MVP must be of high quality and not hastily made. Otherwise, you will lose the trust of the user and will not start at full speed.
Why do you need to create an MVP?
We can say that such a product in practice tests working hypotheses, allows you to implement the idea, etc. Many developers spend many years implementing their product. Many startups are closed due to the lack of market demand. And to make sure that your product has a chance to become in demand, you need to create an MVP first.
The idea of creating a minimum viable product is that you essentially create a real product that you can offer to customers. Further, you just need to observe the reaction of people and refine, correct.
In addition, you will be able to identify and understand your audience. You need to determine whether people need your product and how they will use it. Let’s say, to test the future project.
The main goals of the MVP product
From the above, we can draw a small conclusion about the goals of this product:
- test the hypothesis based on real data and determine the viability of the idea;
- enter the market;
- collect the initial customer base;
- reduce the cost of development by eliminating unnecessary functions.
Obviously, if after launching the MVP you see that no one is interested in the product, then you can avoid financial losses.
Varieties of MVPs
We have already written that MVP is aimed at testing a hypothesis. There are several types of such a product.
In this case, customers are provided with a project that does not yet exist. This group of MVPs includes:
- “The Wizard of Oz” or Flintstone MVP. The consumer thinks that he is offered a product with automated processes. But it is not so. All that the user sees is an image of the product, where all maintenance is done manually. And if the test shows good results, the developers are engaged in its automation. Here is an interesting example. Zappos online store. Nick Swinmern, the founder of this network, decided to test his business idea before creating a store. To do this, he posted photos of shoes on the Web. If the goods were ordered, he went and bought the right model and sent it to the customer. Of course, the consumer himself did not know this and thought that the whole process was fully automated. Thus, Swinmern was convinced of the demand for his idea.
- Concierge. The essence, as in the case of the Wizard of Oz, but the difference is that there are no technologies and everything is done by the efforts of the team.
The name speaks for itself. MVP-product is provided through content. And what is most interesting is that the product may not exist in principle. There are several ways to tell about yourself:
- Explainer video. With the help of a beautiful and understandable video, the idea of the project is presented. The main task is to explain how the product will work. It is important to get feedback here.
- Landing page. Another good option to test your idea is to create a page of a non-existent product. The reaction of users will tell you about the feasibility of the idea.
- Social networks. Tell about the product (non-existent) in social networks. If there is a question – act.
A good option to test the hypothesis. To do this, simply raise funds for the creation of the product. Obviously, if the idea has received a response from the audience, then people will pay you for its implementation. There are also two options here:
Crowdfunding. There are special crowdfunding platforms where it is enough to publish your proposal and open a fundraiser.
Pre-sale. In this case, the developer describes a non-existent product, its properties, features. The consumer can make an advance payment by placing an order. Thus, he allegedly reserves a future product.
The purpose of such a product presentation is to demonstrate the main function for which users will be ready to buy/use this product.
Example: the creators of WhatsApp messenger aimed to create a mobile phone book that would show the status of a contact. For example, busy, online, in the gym, etc. When the user indicated his status, his contacts received a pop-up message. The founders of the messenger noticed that their software began to be used for communication. Of course, this could not be missed. Later, a version of WhatsApp was released, where the main function was sending messages.
Step-by-step guide to building an MVP
It is difficult to write step-by-step instructions for creating an MVP product because much depends on the project itself, the market situation, etc. In general, the steps to create a minimum viable product.
Step 1. Decide on the goal
If you remember the classic and his phrase: “Life suffocates without purpose”, it can be easily applied in our case. If there is no goal, there is no product. You must immediately determine why a potential customer needs your product and why he should buy it. As soon as you get the answer to these questions, it will immediately become clear what tasks the MVP should solve.
Step 2. Analyze the target audience
Many people make a typical mistake – they create an MVP for a wide audience. The fact is that having received a large amount of information from users, and the reviews will be contradictory, it will be difficult for you to think over the correct working model. Ideally, narrow down the target audience.
Think about who your ideal client is. It is important to describe it in as much detail as possible:
- income level;
- place of residence, etc.
You need to test the product with the target audience that best matches your ideal buyer.
Step 3. Study competitors
No one says that your idea is not unique, but we strongly recommend that you study your competitors. It is possible that there is already such an application or product somewhere. In this case, your task is to find out the following questions:
- what exactly does the competitor offer;
- what marketing tools he uses;
- what market share it occupies.
This way you can adjust your own decision.
Step 4. Describe the functionality
It is possible that your product will solve many problems at once, but at the testing stage you should not tell about everything. Thus, you will only confuse the consumer. It is important that he just caught the essence.
At this stage, you just need to highlight the main / main functions. It is enough to indicate 2-3 options. They should become the main MVP. All other features you will simply add after the full launch of the product.
Step 5. Conduct a SWOT analysis
This analysis allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the project. It is important to understand the threats, risks, opportunities and development vector.
When developing an MVP, absolutely everything should be taken into account. Do not think that the demo version of the project is a job for a couple of hours. It is not. If you want your project to be in demand, make an effort.
Your task is to focus on the strengths while minimizing the risks of threats and weaknesses of the project.
Step 6. Choose a methodology
There are several ways to develop an MVP. Choose the most suitable for your project and get to work:
- Lean – quick response to feedback (reviews). MVP is created – tested – user feedback is collected – changes are made – feedback is collected, etc. And so on until the launch of a full-fledged project.
- Scrum. This method is somewhat similar to the previous one, but it is broken down into cycles. That is, the project was launched, 2-3 weeks passed, feedback was collected, the product was updated, etc.
- Boar. Here tasks are solved as they arise. That is, as soon as we received feedback, we solved the problem. This method works perfectly after the launch of the first version of the minimum viable product.
- XP. This option is suitable only if we are talking about software. Bare code is created. Attention is not focused on design and details. It is important that the application just works.
Step 7. Test the product
Regular testing is required throughout the MVP development. There are two types of product testing: Alpha testing. Internal analysis of the program. It is conducted by the developers and product owners themselves.
The goal is to evaluate the application, identify the problem and fix it. Beta testing. Testing is carried out directly on real users. Access to the application is given for 1-2 weeks. The user fully uses it and then leaves feedback.
The main mistakes when creating MVP
The main mistake when creating such a test product is a frivolous attitude to the creation of the product. Like, why bother if it’s a demo version. But in fact, the minimum viable product is the seed from which the whole field will sprout. That is, approach the issue with the utmost seriousness
Consider typical mistakes when creating an MVP:
- The desire to become an ideal. You do not need to show everything in your head at once. It is important to focus on the main functions, show the user the benefits of this product.
- Ignoring feedback. The essence of MVP is to get feedback from users. It is important to listen to their opinion, draw conclusions and correct mistakes.
- Announcement. Many on all corners shout that a new application is coming out, note its uniqueness and exclusivity. Do not overestimate user expectations, as MVP may simply not work.
Examples of minimum viable product
Consider the most successful examples, let them inspire you.
Facebook. Probably, all social networks create MVP and Facebook is no exception. In 2004, the site had a minimum of information and united students of Harvard University. Subsequently, many features were introduced to help meet the needs of visitors. Now Facebook is one of the largest networks in the world.
Dropbox. Cloud storage, which is used by hundreds of thousands of people. The company’s capital is 12 billion dollars. The guys announced themselves with a short video, where they talked about the features of their product. The video quickly spread on the Web and in a short time 70,000 people subscribed to the company’s mailing list. The developers concluded that their idea could bring good results. As a result, we have successful projects that are in demand.