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Start your project with MVP - the best way for a successful software project
Developing a software product can be risky, time consuming and very costly. But there are ways to reduce these risks and ensure a successful delivery of your business and technical requirements within reasonable time. Start your project with MVP and continue expanding your product step by step. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day.
Definition of MVP
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. Basically that is a product which contains all must-have features that target users will need to meet their basic or most important needs. Usually in software projects it means development of one or two key features. If these are not interesting for the users then it is pointless to invest more in the idea. Hence the MVP is a perfect way to validate all hypotheses and assumptions regarding what the software user will really need with a small budget. After you have launched your MVP you will start collecting initial feedback and then add more relevant features and change existing ones.
Development of MVP
A word Minimum in the MVP definition can be very misleading and we recommend taking a structured approach when defining your MVP. It is not a rocket science process but if you follow the steps outlined below you should develop good MVP:
1. Need or Problem
This is the first step you should take in MVP definition. An example can be a translation mobile application that will enable only English speaking tourists to have basic communication with local people everywhere in the world. Also do not forget to define your target audience which in our example are English speaking tourists.
2. Market Research
After that it is advisable to find numbers and facts supporting your hypothesis (customer problem or need). You can do it either via desk research by analysing publicly available information. That will only cost you time but the outcome might not be so precise. Alternatively you can hire a market research agency that will conduct surveys with potential customers. It will cost you more but will give more reliable results.
3. User Flow
When you know the above facts ensure you anticipate the most convenient user flow in your application or system in order to achieve a business goal which can be for example a purchase or email sign up. To define a user flow you will need to define stages of the process with the focus on the most basic tasks such as finding or buying the product.
4. Features Prioritisation
Once you have defined your process and have a concept of the user flow it is time to prioritise product features of each process stage. In order to set the right priorities ask questions like: Do users want it? What is the user’s benefit? Ideally you write it all as so called user stories with each containing more detailed tasks to build a product backlog. Set simple priorities like high, medium, low.
5. Product Canvas
Now take your vision and visualise it on one page including product name, business goal of the project, size of the potential market, brief definition of target group for your app or system, user experience of your project and next steps and actionable items to reach goals. The summary will give anyone an easy way to quickly understand what you want to achieve.
Examples of MVP
Trust us, even the most recognisable digital brands went through MVP stage first before they got to what they are today.
1. FACEBOOK
When they launched for the very first time the site was only connecting students of schools and colleges via messaging in order to organise gatherings. The interface was poor and the platform was quite limited in its functionality.
2. TWITTER
Initially known as “twttr” and was a product for internal use only and a user had to send an SMS message to post it to the platform.
3. GROUPON
A very successful provider of vouchers and discounts was launched for the very first time using WordPress and regular PDF documents with offers were sent to subscribed users per email.
Benefits of MVP
There are several reasons for which companies decide to start with an MVP first and those who did it properly were able to scale the idea fast or significantly reduce the cost if the idea wasn’t the best fit.
Market Opportunity Testing
It is very reasonable to test the idea and its reception among potential customers from the beginning with a minimum offering rather than develop a large and costly product for a long period of time. In this scenario you do not need to invest the entire product budget.
User feedback
Starting with an MVP gives the company a great chance to collect potential users’ opinions and expectations regarding your idea. Thanks to that you reduce the risk of product’s failure at the same time.
User base
Those who tried your product and liked it may likely become your ambassadors and help to spread the news about your idea among their network and bring new highly-engaged users. You can offer special bonuses to your first users and motivate them to spread the word.
Budget Friendly
One of the most important arguments for MVP is finance. In this approach you can expect to spend less to test the idea instead of investing entire product budgets on things that might simply not work. An MVP-first approach increases the chances of your project becoming successful.
Cost of MVP
Yes, the MVP does not have to be expensive but it does not mean you can pay little and get away with it. The cost of MVP is indeed low if compared to the total budget needed to develop a feature-rich product that can take even years.
According to rough estimates the cost of Minimum Viable Product can vary from $15,000 to $50,000 subject to your specific requirements. You should also estimate the cost of MVP at about 20-30% of the fully-featured application or system.
Below are pieces of work that have to be carried out to build an MVP. Time estimates are a minimum workload that can vary from project to project.
Task Time Effort
Requirements analysis & design
From 40 hours
Development
From 160 hours
Development
From 40 hours
Q&A
From 40 hours
Project management
From 40 hours
Project documentation
From 40 hours
TOTAL
From 320 hours

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