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We all are familiar with Airbnb, aren’t we? Well, it was not always a $30 billion company.
It all started when two guys who recently moved into a new city, had trouble paying rent. To earn some money and survive, the two guys turned their living room into rentable space. They provided air mattresses, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and a promise of a unique networking experience with like-minded people.
So, this was how it all started. Airbnb’s MVP was born there.
Chesky and Gebbia didn't rent out a new space or build new beds, but they used their existing assets to test their assumptions, a third-party tool or library in early prototypes - similar to what we might use. They minimized their risks and costs and built a testable product quickly.
From letting strangers sleep on the floor in their living room to a $30 billion organization, Airbnb had a long journey. Although they started small, today Airbnb is a common household name all across the world.
The approach Brain Chesky and Joe Gebbia followed is termed as MVP app development these days.
As the name suggests, a minimum viable product is a product with the least features that are launched into the market just to get initial feedback of the target customer segment.
So, is it a prototype? Beta-test product? A proof of concept? No, it is much more than that!
An MVP or minimum viable product is a basic version of an app that can be launched into the market with minimum and must-have features. This product targets the core requirements and needs of the end-users while enabling faster time to market and achieve product-market from early stages.
An MVP should serve the following two concepts:
- First, building on the proof of concept, means that the app is feasible.
- Secondly, like the beta-test, the users are willing to pay for the app.
We can discuss semantics until you drop, but let's dig deeper to know why you should build an MVP for your organization.
What is the MVP development process?
MVP is a minimal form of product that is yet to be launched in the market. On the label, MVP is defined as a product in its smallest, least feature avatar with just the basic functionalities demonstrating the product.
Lean Startup author Eric Ries very well describes MVP as “a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learnings about customers with the least effort.”
MVP development strategy allows your team to look out for product assumptions and learn how target users experience your product's core functionality.
The MVP development process is iterative in nature and is designed to identify the user's main requirements and determine a product targeting these needs.
In short, MVP is a development method where only core functionalities of a product are developed to solve a specific problem and satisfy early adopters.
The three things about MVP development that you must not forget are as follows:
- Most attractive features go first. If you throw in features that are easiest to develop, you are probably dropping your MVP in the pool of failure.
- Sell it even if the app is not ready. Earning profits is your end goal and also enabling pre-orders.
- Convert your early adopters into final users, just to ensure that you are going the right way.
The need for building an MVP
Did you know 70 percent of the startups fail? And why is it so? There could be many reasons, from disharmony in the development team to lack of resources. There can’t be a single reason for the failure of a startup.
However, according to research, 29 percent of the startups failed due to lack of monetary resources, and startups that scale properly grow 20 times faster.
These stats depict the importance of creating an MVP app before launching your final product into the market.
Here are a few reasons that would convince you to invest in an MVP:
- Developing an initial model: MVP helps to develop a wireframe for discussions and offers a visual point for reference.
- Entering the market with a low budget: With MVP you can easily rectify the problems, errors, and weaknesses without having to bear serious losses.
- Approval of initial idea: Minimum viable product allows you to share the model with a few prospects and test it with genuine users to better understand the issues you may face.
- Preparing for the app development journey: After investing more than a month in the app development process, you can start building your product. MVP prepares you to take that hike easily.
Business benefits of building an MVP
In this era of cut-throat competition, building an app and launching it into the market is quite challenging and daunting. To survive this competition, releasing a product faster and within budget is important.
Eric Ries once said, “What if we found ourselves building something that nobody wanted? In that case, what did it matter if we did it on time and budget?"
Eric Ries concept MVP software development helps ignite customer interest but there is more to the picture. Keep reading to know about these benefits:
1. An early opportunity for testing
MVP allows the app developers to find pitfalls at an early stage and perform early testing. Early testing also allows you to make assumptions at the outset of your plan without spending the whole budget.
2. Accessing user intelligence and feedback collection
MVP allows the developers to familiarize themselves with user activities through the device analytics such as metrics of place and lets you gain views and responses. Insights also help the organization to benefit the company further by guiding them on how to build the final product.
3. Allow market validation
MVP allows the app developer to find out if the service and product performance would align with the user's needs or not. MVP introduces the users to your brand while displaying how your product is different from your competitors.
4. Economical product
It takes less time and resources to create an MVP as it relies on minimal functionality. Rapid development leads to lower costs, and hence it's a win-win situation for app developers as well as users.
5. Focus on building the core
Based on the ideology of lean startup, the MVP app majorly focuses on one idea and does not include any other function. The lean approach focuses on building the right product with a minimum budget which also reduces the risk of loss. Hence MVP allows the app to be tested, with minimal risk.
How to build an MVP- A quick glimpse
In the MVP development process, 'M'- minimum is as important as 'V'- viable. Many organizations these days focus on 'minimum' and tend to overlook 'viable', which leads to a product that is a below-average product, missing many important features of the app.
Hence, MVP might be minimum but we still need to be careful about the development process.
1. Market Research
Many businesses suffer due to a lack of proper research. Many times the idea does not fit into the market needs, hence it's important to research well before initiating an idea. Before you embark upon an MVP development process, you have to make sure that the idea fulfills the target user's needs.
According to a survey conducted by CB Insights, one of the top reasons that startups fail is ‘lack of market need’.
If your organization is not well aware of its client's needs, your offerings are not going to satisfy anyone. One of the best ways to research for the idea or product is to conduct surveys, because the more information you have, the more chances of winning.
1. Create an idea for value addition
What does your product offer to its users? How would this product benefit them? These are a few questions that would help you in your product’s value evaluation.
To win in such high competition you must be clear about your product's essential estimations and its value addition. The core meaning of MVP, you must introduce value to the people, outline them and build your MVP based on that.
2. Plan your user flow
While working on the development of an app, the design process is an important stage.
You should always design in a way that is convenient for the users. To succeed in the consumer market, you must look at the app from the user's perspective, starting from opening the app to the final process, such as making a purchase or delivery. In addition, user flow is an important aspect as it ensures that you don't miss the important features while keeping the future product and consumer satisfaction in mind.
To define the user flow, it is important to define the process stages, and to properly define the process stages you need to elaborate the steps that are required to reach the main objective.
3. Select the appropriate MVP approach
Once you have a clear idea of your business's viable product, selecting the best and most suitable concept of minimum viable product development becomes important. As listed by Eric Ries, there are many approaches to get the MVP done, some of these are:
No Product MVP or no-code MVP is an approach that is deployed to validate an idea and look for user feedback without actual coding. This can be implemented in these two ways:
i. Idea Visualization
Idea visualization is a way to use ad strategies to assess a potentially viable product hypothesis. One of the advantages of this approach is that you do not need building blocks for the representation of the concepts, rather this offers you an image of what it is.
You can easily extend this approach by homepage, smoke tests, media campaigns, polling, videos, articles, and much more.
ii. Sell before you build
The main idea behind this MVP approach is to launch a product for pre-sale before actually bringing it into the market. This provides you a clear picture of your product demand and leads to increased investments fr0m contributors.
Product mockup MVP is another approach that helps you offer your product's potential features by mockups. To create new product mockups, two ways are:
The MVP concierge, as defined by Eric Ries, is a minimally viable tool wherein you direct the customer segment manually. In this approach, there is no need to design complex machine learning models to construct minimum viable products.
The main intention here is to demonstrate how the features set function, to idealize manual handling. Airbnb is the greatest example here.
ii. Wizard of Oz
Another approach of Eric Ries of MVP is Wizard of Oz, also known as Flinstone MVP. It includes replicating the core functionalities of the app manually. This approach is built just to manipulate the customers with the stories, and include human and physical labels. This approach provides a similar-to-real user experience.
Now, you just have to select the best practice before launching the product’s MVP.
5. Launch MVP
After defining the user flow, researching the market needs, and deciding on the apt MVP approach you are going to deploy, you can create your MVP. Your MVP must be easily accessible, engaging, and suitable for your users.
According to Dan Olsen, "The main reason why products fail is that they don't meet customers' needs in a way that is better than other alternatives".
P.S- Always remember that MVP is not lower quality than the original product. Therefore, your MVP needs to be easy, engaging, and suitable for your users.
6. Don’t forget ‘B.M.L’- Build, Measure, Learn
After all the hard work, you must not forget the most important step in making your MVP a success- B.M.L- Build, Measure, and Learn.
Everything is part of a process, first, you define the scope followed by moving the product into the development stage. After development, there comes the testing stage. Quality Assurance engineers work towards improving the quality of the product.
After launching the MVP, you need to review everything thoroughly, and then gather your client’s reaction to the release. With client feedback, you can determine the reach and acceptability of your product in the market.
We hope that by now you would have gained a lot of knowledge to embark on the MVP development journey. Although MVP is a minimal form for your app, you must include all the necessary features to attract the right kind of audience.
MVP is an approach that helps you to discover a lot about your users without having to overspend funds and time. You just have to understand the key features and partner yourself with the right app development company for launching the MVP app.