What Is an MVP in Software Development?
The IT startups behind most of your favorite applications and software started out by developing an MVP. Applications such as Spotify and Facebook did not launch as the feature-rich versions we are now using. When they were first introduced to the market, they only performed one or two major functions that attracted the early batch of users. The rest of the features were added later on.
In today’s post, we will delve deeper into what an MVP in programming is, its benefits, why you should build an MVP, and how to create a successful MVP.
Let’s jump in.
What Is an MVP in Software Development?
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product that contains the bare minimum features to satisfy early adopters. In other words, an MVP is a basic but functional version of the software that gives early customers a chance to test the software.
An MVP is created as a means to gauge market interest and collect valuable feedback from users. Developers then incorporate the feedback they get into the next versions of the software.
An MVP Is Not a Prototype or A Proof of Concept
It’s important to note that an MVP in software development is different from a prototype. A prototype is a visual mock-up of your product that conveys the idea of your product but is not functional in itself.
A software prototype can help the developer get feedback about different elements of the user experience (UX) or user interface (UI), but it cannot perform any of the functions that the final software product is supposed to.
Prototypes are usually used when you need a stakeholder or investor to back your idea.
An MVP is also different from a proof of concept.
A proof of concept is created to test the feasibility of an idea and reduce the likelihood of a technical problem during the development process. When developing software, you will usually create a proof of concept first, followed by a prototype, and then an MVP comes last.
To help you further understand what an MVP is, let’s look at a few MVP examples.
Famous Examples of an MVP
Many globally known applications began as a minimum viable products. Here are some of the most common ones:
When Instagram started out, it wasn’t an app for sharing photos. Instead, the app allowed you to check in and share your location. You could use the app to take photos, edit them, and geotag locations.
The photo-sharing feature that has made the app so famous today was added later on as a response to the feedback the app owners were getting from the early users.
Spotify was launched in 2018 to fill a gap in the music industry. Music lovers wanted to stream songs, but they had no way of doing so. Spotify’s MVP allowed artists to stream music online, but after gathering feedback, the application was developed to include all the features we enjoy today.
Why Is a Software Development MVP Useful?
A software development MVP is the basic version of the software. It contains the minimum features that allow the execution of the core functionalities of the program. For this reason, an MVP is vital for the designing, testing, and delivery of a software program.
The MVP development process:
· Validates the product idea during the early development stage
· Helps launch the product quickly without a huge financial investment
· Allows you to present your target market with the product, to see how they react to your idea
· Helps your development team save time and reduces time-to-market new feature releases
· Reduces the risk of errors during the agile development process.
· Helps you observe and gather data on customer behavior, which in turn helps you make data-driven decisions
· Helps you grow a pre-launch customer base
Why Should You Invest in an MVP?
An MVP in programming is a vital process of the software development process. The most important reason why you should invest in an MVP is that it will prevent you from launching software that no one wants. Here are other reasons why an MVP in software development is a good idea:
An MVP Allows You to Focus On Your Core Value Proposition
With an MVP, you only focus on one idea. This allows you to invest in the right product, save resources, and launch a product within a minimal budget. Creating an MVP also allows you to analyze the most unique elements of your software and test your application with minimal risk.
You Gather Valuable Feedback from The Market
With a software development MVP, you can collect vital information regarding how your customers view your concept. This feedback helps you make the right decisions when developing features to launch in the future. This ensures that your application solves the pains of your customers.
You Can Validate Your Business Idea
One of the main advantages of an MVP in software development is that it helps you validate your business idea. Once you launch an MVP, you can gauge its reception in the market to see whether the idea you had in mind is right for your target audience.
You Save Your Development Team’s Time
With an MVP, you can receive feedback fast so your development team can work on the right improvements as soon as possible. You release your product faster, and you also make updates faster. In general, the development process proceeds faster than it would if you went straight to creating the final product.
You Save Money
Developing an MVP first and then adding other features in the future is more cost-effective than creating the whole product in one move and launching it. Additionally, because an MVP allows you to test and validate ideas, it prevents you from spending money on features that would not work.
You Get the Chance to Find Investors
Your MVP is a sample of what you intend to develop into a unique revolutionary product. You can present it to investors so they can invest their money in the product's further development. It’s easier to get funding with an MVP because you have a functional product and market feedback that you can show to potential investors.
How to Create an MVP
To create a successful MVP, you must first think through the process and follow several steps. Approach the project haphazardly and you end up wasting resources and creating a useless product nobody wants to buy. Here are the main steps to follow when creating an MVP:
Step 1. Market Research
No matter how highly you think of your idea, it is your target audience that will decide whether or not the idea works for them. Your product must meet the needs of your audience for it to become a success.
Therefore, your first step in creating an MVP should be to conduct market research. Decide who your target audience is, and what they consider attractive.
You should also look at your competition at this stage. Determine what is already in the market, and how the audience has received it so far.
Once you know what your audience wants and what they already have in the market, you will have a clear picture of what to focus on when developing your MVP.
Step 2. Define The Product Idea
After conducting market research, you must determine the main feature of your idea and how it solves the user’s needs. Your main feature will form the basis of MVP development.
Step 3. Draw up a feature list
Next, decide on the list of functionalities your MVP should have. Your list should include all the features your development team will be working on for the first version of your product.
Keep in mind that an MVP is a simple product that only has the bare minimum features, so you must have a clear definition of the basic functions you need.
Step 4. MVP Development
This is where you bring your idea to life. Your development team uses programming languages of your choice to create the application or software.
Your development team will be responsible for creating your product. As such, you must choose them carefully to ensure you get a top-notch product.
Step 5. Test Your MVP
Finally, after you have your MVP developed, it is time to bring it to the market and gauge the reaction of your audience. In this stage, you need to collect feedback from users on your product features, the design, functionality, and usability of your application as well as how much value it brings to the user.
The feedback you receive at this stage will help you improve your product as you develop future versions. You will know what features to include and exactly how your customers expect your product to work.
An MVP in software development is the middle point between the development process and the final product. It is one of the most important stages of the software development process as it allows you to test your product in the market before you invest too much time and resources. You also receive valuable feedback that you can leverage when developing new features for your product.
In short, creating an MVP is the perfect strategy for faster turnaround, creating a useful product your audience loves, and saving time and money.