Reading time: 4 minutes
PUBLISH DATE: Nov 12 2020
UPD: May 24 2022
Reading time: 4 minutes

MVP: Between the Idea and the Product

MVP (minimum viable product) as a so-called “test version” of your future product that helps you gather comprehensive feedback

Generally, MVP is a product with just enough features that aims to check the validity of your idea.

However, how to differentiate between MVP methodology and other types of products? Or how to see the difference between a stage, a process, and a final result? All these proofs of concept, prototypes, wireframes, mockups do not sound easy, do they? That’s why when I thought about the best explanation for MVP, I realized that simplicity is the key. 

Also, I understood that my explanation should be detailed enough to give you an understanding of MVP product management. Moreover, it should be simple enough to make you realize its’ importance even if you have never dealt with information technology. I decided to use the method of analogy, providing you with an example of a well-known thing, a bicycle, and comparing it to MVP. 

As you might saw, the market is overwhelmed by numerous products. However, only some of them manage to earn people’s attention and trust. You would ask, “So what are the criteria for success?” And I would answer, “Success comes when you feel your clients and hear their needs”. You would then ask, “How can I understand what my audience needs?” I would say, “Create a minimum viable product (MVP) and check if your idea can find a place in this competitive environment”.

So, in this blog post, I want to discuss the following:

  • What is MVP?
  • How to develop MVP?
  • What do a bicycle and MVP have in common?
  • Why do we need MVP?

What Is MVP?

MVP definition is relatively easy to understand. MVP refers to a minimum viable product, one of the major stages in the software product discovery process. The very term was coined in 2009 by Eric Ries. Ries published his book The Lean Startup where he discussed MVP features. The author emphasized that MVP is an integral part of the learning process, particularly when it comes to new product development.

MVP is a product consisting of minimum necessary features that can be used by potential clients. So to say, by creating MVP, you learn more about your own idea and check how it works in practice. A minimum viable product is the source of both knowledge and practical experience. No matter how crazy or creative your idea is – you always have the chance to test it using the strategy of MVP development.

How to Develop MVP?

Each and every product is different, and so is the process of its development. Before we discuss the stages of MVP development, I will emphasize that they might vary from case to case. Yet, to give you a general idea of how the process unfolds, we will review some common ones.

Stage 1: Idea

For you, the most important stage occurs when an idea comes to your mind. Why is it important? Because your idea serves as a motivation to move forward and create something unique. However, we sometimes are unable to evaluate our ideas objectively. Even if you have the most creative and unique plan, there is no guarantee that your audience will value it. 

The best way to understand the potential of your idea is to consult professionals that will not only help you visualize it but also improve it so that it will meet the market’s demands.

Stage 2: Product Discovery

If you decide to consult professionals and get their feedback on your idea, the second stage begins. Our task as an MVP development company is to help you bring your idea to life. At this stage, we conduct product discovery. The latter is targeted at your audience and allows you to clearly understand how close the success can be.

Product discovery starts with the analysis of the needs, interests, and demographic characteristics of your target audience. Then, we focus on your competitors and consider their strengths and weaknesses. After the study of the market opportunities, we consider essential features that your product can include. Choosing the most important ones, we present the collected information in the form of a workshop. With the help of graphs, tables, and charts, you will get a really accurate analysis of how your idea will work.

Stage 3: Proof of Concept

Basically, the third stage relates to the second one. However, it is focused more on the practical potential of your idea rather than the hypothetical one. Our task as MVP developers is to make you aware of all the gains and pitfalls. Responsibility to our clients – this is our number-one value. 

Stage 4: User Journey

At this stage, we help you understand what your users want to see when they get your product. Also, we consider what actions they are most likely to take and what goals they aim to meet. For this purpose, we start mapping a user journey.

A user journey is a visual representation of a hypothetical user and their experience with the app from the minute they realize the need for a certain service, through the moment they first find and click through your app, and up until they make a decision whether to make this service a part of their lifestyle.

Stage 5: Prototype

After the fourth stage is completed, we start prototyping. A prototype is a simplified version of the product. It demonstrates the final product design and navigation. Basically, it is a set of pictures of the interface of your future app. If it is clickable, you can navigate between screens by clicking buttons in order to understand user flows.

Stage 6: MVP Development

Here, the aspect of UI/UX is considered. We finalize the visual design and start coding the minimum viable product. 

The development of MVP is less time-consuming and requires less funding than the development of a final product. MVP development ensures that your idea is illustrated, put in the code, and partially implemented – ready to meet its first user.

Stage 7: MVP Testing and Final Product Launching

The final process of MVP development strategy is product launching and testing. In other words, a sample of your product is presented to actual users. We gather customers’ feedback and analyze the results. In case some adjustments or modifications are needed, we implement them accordingly. Once we see that your customers are fully satisfied, we can start discussing and implementing the final product.

What do a bicycle and MVP have in common?

To help you understand the importance of MVP better, I will draw the analogy between MVP and a bicycle. As I mentioned above, I want to make an explanation as easy as possible. That is why I decided to use the thing everyone is familiar with.

Now, let’s assume that manufacturing a bicycle is the same as building MVP.

Stage 1: Idea

So, you want to create a bicycle. A cool, sturdy, and eco-friendly bicycle. But what if the potential clients do not like it and your effort goes in vain? Or what if you are on a shoestring budget and you need to persuade investors first? To analyze your prospects, we will move to the next stage.

Stage 2: Product Discovery

You conduct a discovery stage: what a bike is, what parts it consists of, what bikes people like, and what riders complain about. After that, you answer the most important question: what you can do to make your bicycle stand out among the others.

Stage 3: Proof of Concept

Let’s assume that you try to find out what your strengths over competitors will be. You decide to create a bicycle chain that never falls out of the chainring. Once you have a clear idea, you create your mechanism: a chain with a chainring and pedals. It’s your proof of concept. You show it to your investors, tell them more about your idea, and receive their approval and support to keep going with the project.

Stage 4: User Journey

Here, you have to clarify whether your target user is interested in your bicycle and what their experience will be. If you look at your idea from the perspective of a client, you will see how you can improve it and make it even more relevant. Whether your target audience will like your product is determined by their experience while using it. The more demands your product will meet, the better clients’ experience will be.

Stage 5: Prototype

At this stage, you are determined to create a model of your bicycle. You choose what details to integrate and what colors to use so that your prototype resembles a final product. However, prototypes do not work as the final product does. They only resemble the end version, and their function is to impress. Both you and your clients.

Stage 6: MVP development

After the design is approved, your team should focus on functionality. Once again, you create a bicycle, but now, it functions appropriately, combining the work of wheels, pedals, brakes, gears, and a seat. This bicycle is going to be your MVP. 

At this point, you give your users the chance to try your bicycle out. They get an MVP version of the bicycle and test it, sharing their opinion. For you to get really comprehensive results, your bicycle should be provided to a significant number of people.

Stage 7: MVP Testing and Final Product Launching

The testing period requires you to gather the feedback from your clients and modify the functions of your product to meet their demands. If, for example, your customers want a bicycle to be more convenient, you have to make a more comfortable seat.

After you pass all stages, you can finally move to the final product launching. You receive financial support from your investors and approval from your customers and become ready to launch manufacturing.

Why do we need MVP?

Generally, the minimum viable product gives you an opportunity to test your future product in real-life settings involving actual users. This simple benefit has a lot of positive outcomes:

  • MVP lets you adjust your product development plan before it is too late.
  • It warns you about a mistake that you are bound to make and reassures you about the right business decision.
  • This approach saves you a great deal of time, effort, and money by optimizing the planning process and reducing risks.
  • Minimum viable product boosts motivation because the team knows that what they do – matters.
  • MVP development offers a unique experience of testing the product idea, which will definitely come in handy in your professional life in the future.

Let’s Conclude

The MVP approach can and should be used within industries of all sorts. While for the manufacturers of traditional goods, it is a long and strenuous process, for the software developers, it is rather simple and accessible. 

The decision of any other business to disregard the minimum viable product development when creating something innovative is somehow understandable and can be justified. For a software development company, it is unforgivable.

If one decides to run a risk and implement the idea before checking up with the target audience, they lay money, time, effort, energy, inspiration, and supporters on the line. So, do not waste your resources and choose among different MVP strategies to make sure that your goal is worth completing. 

Are you interested in MVP development services?

We will gladly assist you with this vital product development stage. Take a look at our MVP app development service page to learn more about how we do it.

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