How to Plan a Minimum Viable Product: a Step-By-Step Guide
Before getting into the details of building a Minimum Viable product, or MVP, let us briefly look at what a Minimum Viable Product is and how it can help your business? As the name suggests, a Minimum Viable Product involves building a product with only the bare minimum and most essential features that many companies launch in the marketplace as a testing tool. It’s purpose is to provide primary customers with a viable product and in future develop it further with enhanced features to attract more users. Most big companies start out with an MVP and then slowly gain influence. The advantages of a Minimum Viable Product are manifold. Not only is it an affordable alternative compared to a full-blown product, but it also demonstrates to the company whether or not they should invest more in their business idea. Additionally, it helps develop a thoughtful product step by step. A common mistake while coming up with an MVP is that companies sometimes build an extremely crude product that doesn’t serve its purpose. It’s important to keep in mind that your Minimum Viable Product should be complete in the sense that it allows for users to achieve what they are looking for with easy to use and basic steps.
Step by Step Guide to Build a Minimum Viable Product
An MVP is an observational tool. So the question you need to ask yourself is- how to gain maximum insight with minimum efforts?
Step 1: Observe the Market
In other words, indulge in market research. So you get an idea that you feel is excellent. You rush to execute it as you think that the sheer brilliance of your idea is enough to make it an instant success. Is that the right way to go about it? Probably not. No matter how good your idea is in theory, you need to get a practical insight. How? By indulging in market research. Hold surveys, look at market trends, observe your competitors. These activities will help provide the comprehensive outlook you need before investing in a Minimum Viable Product.
Step 2: Determine the Target Audience
A product can not serve everyone, neither can it be completely useless and have no users. In order to build your MVP, you need to decide the audience that is most inclined towards using the product that you intend to launch. Do not be in a rush to accumulate customers, instead, focus on adding value to the target audience.
Step 3: Establish Main Features
Let’s suppose your idea is to provide a grooming service booking facility online. You have determined your primary target audience (middle-aged daily workers that don’t get enough time to visit the salon). Now you need to establish the most essential features that your mobile/web app will provide. Focus on only the main feature (s) and try to design/map out a user flow that will help the audience use the service in a simple manner.
Step 4: Set a Success Threshold
Just like exams have a passing criteria and colleges come up with a merit list for new admissions, set a qualifying mark for your Minimum Viable Product. Sounds like a simple enough task but many companies overlook this step. Coming up with a mark that your MVP needs to cross in order for you to invest time and money in it is quite necessary. And once you have observed the market thoroughly, it is not that difficult to set a goal.
Step 5: Build your MVP
With the first three tasks fully accomplished, you’re ready to start developing your Minimum Viable Product/or have it developed by experts. If you feel like you have the manpower for execution of this task, go ahead and discuss it with your designers/developers. If not, find a reliable app development agency to build your MVP for you.
Common Mistakes & Myths about developing an MVP:
While the role of a Minimum Viable Product is undeniable with many businesses, there are certain misconceptions and common mistakes that companies have or make during the development of their MVP.
- MVP’s are the core of a lean startup- This idea is not true. Yes, most successful businesses fully developed their business with a simple, yet efficient MVP, it is not at the heart of any successful business. What gives shape to any business is an idea that fulfills an existing need.
- A minimum viable product should have all the best features- Nope. An MVP should have the most essential features, i.e., features that serve the purpose and provide the solution without being excessive.
- An unsuccessful MVP implies a failed product- Although MVP’s are sort of a testing tool, an unsuccessful MVP does not necessarily mean that your business idea is not good enough. It could also mean that your Minimum Viable Product was designed without proper planning. Therefore, you should always have an efficient team of developers or hire the expert professionals.
Common mistakes related to MVP development have been briefly outlined below.
- Not indulging in market research- The importance of this cannot be stressed enough, market research is the first step towards building a desirable MVP. DO NOT neglect it.
- Desiring excellence a little too fast- The lure of excellence can ruin and has ruined many MVP’s. Therefore, do not be greedy and try to incorporate all the features you feel would give your product a competitive edge or maybe an aesthetic appearance. Stay focused on building a minimum viable product, i.e., minimum resources, maximum viability.
- Ignoring user feedback- This stage comes later on, but is extremely crucial for any business. Customers and demand are the reason businesses flourish. Ignore your customer’s feedback and someone else will satisfy them. So, be smart, and always pay attention to user feedback.
Finally, the most common mistake is hiring inexperienced or unsuitable staff for building your MVP. The developers need to be aware of what they are doing and what your business idea is. Therefore, always hire a professional and reliable team of developers. If you feel like your on company cannot execute the task.
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