What is MVP and How to Shape It?


Minimum Viable Product Explained

Let’s say you are excited about a new business idea. But how do you know it is going to be commercially viable? Unless you have a way to test the feasibility of your idea, you can never be sure whether your plan will work or not. You can go ahead and develop your product, only to find out it’s a complete failure.

An MVP or a minimal viable product comes handy in such situations to test whether your product is marketable or not.

What is MVP?

MVP is the first working iteration of a product and has just the right features to attract early adopters. You can use an MVP to gather feedback from your potential customers with minimum efforts and resources and improve your next product version. The feedback helps you develop a final product which has higher chances to succeed.

An MVP needs to have three core characteristics:

  •    It should offer value to the potential consumers
  •    The core features should retain the early adopters
  •    It should provide a way to gather feedback for future product development.

Many startups such as Uber, Zappos, and Amazon used an MVP initially. For example, Amazon’s MVP was a simple website that focused on selling books at low prices. Now they sell almost anything under the sun with a huge network of buyers and sellers from all corners of the world.

An MVP allows you to-

  •    Market your product in the shortest time
  •    Gauge the demand for your product
  •    Understand what works and what doesn’t
  •    Get a picture of your consumer’s behaviors
  •    Cut back implementation costs
  •    Avoid failures and capital losses

Now that you have an idea of an MVP, let’s find out how you can shape it.

How to Create Your MVP?

Here is how you go about things:

1 Figure Out Your Goal and Target Audience

Every product or service is meant to solve a problem faced by customers. You should first put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself-

  • Why will I need this product/service?
  • How will it help me?

The answer to the above questions will reveal your goal so that you can offer the best solution to meet your future customer’s needs. For example, Facebook, in its early days, was launched to connect only students in colleges. Gradually they expanded to a full-fledged social network with so many bells and whistles! Once you have the primary goal of your product, you can think about developing its core functionalities.

2 Analyze the Competition

Competitor analysis is a must even if you think your product is too unique! Even if you don’t have any direct competitors, you should analyze the market for similar products. Let’s say you are trying to come up with a new e-commerce website to sell toys. You will need to investigate all your competitor websites in order to come up with an effective MVP. The analysis will include your competitor’s monthly traffic, ranking, location of users, and other metrics.

You should also consider the feedback left by your competitor’s customers. That way you can learn from their mistakes and adopt the best aspects to successfully develop your MVP.

3 Develop Your User Flow

Defining your user flow is crucial to develop the core features of your MVP. You should start by focusing on the primary goal of your product to determine how users will interact with your product.

Taking the above example forward, we can say that the primary goal of your toy website is to sell toys online. Now think of the process your consumers will follow to satisfy their need, i.e., buying toys. Basically, you need to focus on the basic tasks like “find toys,” “purchase toys,” “make a payment,” “manage orders” and so on.

You can start thinking about the features to include after all steps in the process have been defined.

Also, check out the difference between a mobile website and an app to see which one you should go for.

4 Create a List of Core Features and Rank Them

Once you figure out the steps in the process, you can develop features for each stage. In the beginning, you can include all the features you think will benefit your product and help your customers reach their goals.

After you have a list of the features, it’s your turn to prioritize them. You can develop the main feature based on the most crucial action you want your users to accomplish. Next, include all the features you want for each step of the process.

You can categorize the features under headings like “must-include,” “nice-to-have” and “not necessary.” The features in the “must-include” category are the ones you should include in your MVP. You can also add some of the “nice-to-have” features, but ensure they don’t ruin the essence of your MVP.

If you are dealing with an app or website, creating an MVP prototype is a big help.

For example, the core features for your toy website may include options to search for toys and make payments in the MVP. “Nice-to-have” features may include the ability to save items to wishlists, rate products, and so on.

5 Test and Improve

Begin your MVP development once the scope of work is defined. Then test your product for quality to prepare it for alpha or beta testing by real users. After the beta release, gather feedback from your customers and implement changes to enhance your product.

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Final Thoughts

An MVP allows you to test the viability of your business idea and aims to solve your customer’s core problems. Based on their feedback, you can expand and grow your product with the highest potential for marketability.

If you have an idea and would like to test it with an MVP, feel free to contact us.

Also, check out our blog post about the scrum framework main events to get a better insight into the project development structure and methodology.

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