The three-letter word ‘MVP’ can be the abbreviation for a lot of things. If you are reading this article to build your “minimum viable product” to test your next new business idea, you are in the right place! And if you’re looking for the secret techniques to train your “most valuable player”, well… you might want to check elsewhere.
What is an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?
This term was first used in 2001 which is explained as “the version of a new product that allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort”.
In other words, an MVP is a prototype or a test before the next big thing that helps you generate the maximum amount of learning with the minimum amount of time spent building your MVP. It emphasizes learning through development by producing an actual product - whether it's a landing page or a small prototype - and observing how customers react to it.
An MVP is a basic version of your final product, but it has to support the minimum must-have attributes which define its value proposition. This will allow you to do market research with the most realistic observation of your potential audiences’ behaviors and reactions to the product.
Five types of MVP
Did you know that of the top reasons why startups fail is because there is no market needed? That’s a lot of time and materials invested into a failing business. So you might want to consider building an MVP to test your market, but how much energy should you put in and which type of MVP should you pursue first?
The answer to this lies in where you stand with your product. Understanding the different types of MVPs before you jump into development is important to solidify your concept and the directions of your business. These types of MVP can range from having no product (yes, you don’t need to build your product yet!) to a minimum product.
1. Smoke tests
Smokes are mysterious. It’s there, and you want to finger out what it is, whether it’s from party fireworks that lure you into mingling or a house fire that pushes you far in fear of getting burned. In this case, the smoke is an advertisement for your landing page, and you are the market. This test will let your customers know what your product looks like and how it works through text, images, or videos. You can offer the visitors to sign up for the waitlist, schedule a demo or even buy the product.
The point of this experiment is to see how much interest there is for your product, and how big is the market. It can also provide you valuable insight to visualize how many people have interacted with your call-to-action buttons and whether the market is enough to profit from.
2. Sell before you build
Quite similar to the smoke test, but instead of just luring your audience, you are aiming to gather money that would be directed to building your product. By selling, you are not delivering them a product but rather, starting a campaign to pre-sell it. This can be done by launching a crowdfunding campaign from your customers. You will need to put a lot of effort into the marketing aspect to sell what you don’t yet have.
A concierge is a term usually used in the hotel industry to call a person that assists guests, tenants, or other employees with personal services. Similar to a concierge, this MVP is designed to tend to each need of your target audience and help them complete a goal that your product is supposed to solve. You will work with each customer one-on-one to solve the problem, and throughout this process, you can better grasp what your end product or service looks like.
This type of MVP has the advantage of having real contact with the customer and you still don’t have to build your product or service yet! However, the downside is the inaccurate gauge of the likability of your business due to biases.
4. Wizard of Oz
“It’s not what it seems like!” Reaching a certain stage, this type of MVP is perfect at deceiving customers that they are getting the end product, while behind the scenes is something else. Much like a concierge, you are providing the solution manually, mimicking the main functionalities of your product, however, your audience will believe they are using the real end product. The results of this test are much less prone to bias and are closely similar to the behaviors and reactions to the actual product.
5. Single-feature product
This is the most effort, time, and money you will put into an MVP. As the name suggests, you have implemented the core most needed feature to the product. This will give you the most accurate data on your market and will help you know whether to pursue this any further.
Prioritizing the features of an MVP
Your product, and especially a software product, will consist of many parts and pieces, but it is important to pinpoint which feature makes up its core. By prioritizing the features, you can have a clearer picture of what your MVP should look like.
It can be one or a set of features, but it is supposed to make your product simple, focused, relevant, and practical. Knowing what to have on this list will help you successfully build your single-feature product MVP.
2. Should have
The features on this list are to help upgrade or make your product more advanced and complete. It helps expand your product functionality and can gradually be introduced based on their level of priority.
3. Could have
The could haves are secondary to should haves, but adds flowers to your product. These features are not necessary to function correctly and not adding them does not change the overall concept of your product.
4. Won’t have
As important as it is to know what your product has, it’s crucial to know which features to avoid. If you have done your research and know a feature that has given a negative reaction, is irrelevant, or dilutes the business vision, make sure to put it on this list.
Purpose of an MVP
If you got to this point, you might have an idea of what the purpose of an MVP is. While it is building a “test” for your business, it is also a part of your business right from the start on a smaller scale based on an established idea on a small budget.
Building an MVP allows businesses to gather users’ feedback which could be taken into consideration for the development phase as well as find the right market, and save money and time.
Benefits of developing an MVP
The purpose of building an MVP has been emphasized many times throughout this article, but what benefit does it bring to the business? Let’s go over a few advantages that developing an MVP has.
Initial customer research: No matter how much you research and expect your business to go down, the most realistic answer lies in starting. The sooner the product (yes, even just the prototype of the product) reaches your audience, the faster you will gather data on the environment and reaction of your customers.
Testing Stage: This is the most mentioned point of an MVP. It helps you test the whole concept of your project, test the reactions of your target market, and test the likelihood of success moving forward.
Possibility to attract investors: This is the perfect opportunity to show the big players what you’ve got to offer and why they should invest in it. Investors are reluctant with perfect ideas on paper, but an MVP can show them its potential. Not only will you get a good name for your business but also the money to expand it.
Reducing the development costs of the final product: If you have your priority list ready, you can plan your finances for the building process and remove some of the struggles start-ups face.
Five steps to building your MVP
The million-dollar question! With all these appealing advantages, how do you build an MVP of your own? This may sound repetitive from what was mentioned but this section puts it in a clear order to make it easy for you to follow.
Step 1: Market Research
Even if an MVP can serve as a market research tool, you still need to analyze your market for your MVP. Make an interesting website with style and visual features you know will attract the right audience. Get a customer’s detailed portrait, learn about your competitors, and analyze how they’re building their minimum viable product.
Step 2: Understand your value
What problem does your product solve? Can it be useful to the end-user, and how? Which situation do they need to use this in? The answers to these questions will define your product’s value proposition and principal qualities, and help focus on the core of your MVP.
Step 3: Define the feature list
Make a list and divide them into must-have, should have, could have, and won’t have. Work your way down the list to make sure your MVP prioritizes what it needs to save cost and time when you’re starting. This will help you budget your finances well and help your growth be consistent.
Step 4: Build and Launch
With all the preparation ready, you can now go straight into building your MVP. Your MVP should be simple, and at most have one or one set of primary features. Manage time effectively to fix any bugs and avoid hitting a wall from the very beginning. Get professionals to help, especially if you want to complete it with ease. Make sure to attract the customers that are seeking to solve their problems. And then, launch.
If you need a helping hand with your MVP software development, our team at Dirox is here to take on the process. We will make sure to deliver your project on time, on budget, and on quality.
Step 5: Feedback
Finally, gather feedback from this MVP and decide whether to take a step further to expand your business. Weed out constructive feedback and trolls. Sometimes the users will even have genius ideas to upgrade your product that has never crossed your mind! Thus, these end-users not only serve as your testers but also as idea generators.
How much does it cost to develop an MVP?
The answer to this question doesn’t come easy. When you want to commence building an app, a landing page, or anything for your MVP, many factors need to be considered. You will need to define your budget and timeline to have this happen.
If you choose to outsource to Dirox in Vietnam, we will build the perfect MVP for you, with your exact concept and ideas to help you gather valuable insights on your market. Consult with us for free and give us a rundown of your idea to get a quote!
Famous examples of successful MVP building
You might be surprised to hear the big names that have used an MVP model to ground their business. But everyone has to start somewhere, isn’t that right?
In 2007, two San Francisco men decided to rent out the top floor of their apartment during a conference that was located somewhere nearby. Three primary clients came and rented their rooms. Where was the MVP in this story? It was a landing page with pictures of their place. These two have tested the concept of a short-term room renting marketplace and built Airbnb, which stands for Air, Bed, and Breakfast.
This business successfully raised $250 million for Dropbox. The man behind it is Drew Houston with the easy-to-use file-sharing tool. You just need to drag your file or folder to the Dropbox service and it will automatically replicate across your devices. This idea sounds complicated at first, and it is hard to put it into words. So he made a video to show the world what Dropbox is and how to use it.
Twitter is a quick, microblogging solution that has now become a very well-known social media platform. Odeo, the company that created Twitter, first intended the platform for its employees. After the team received amazing feedback, it was launched to the public.
Building an MVP is a route many businesses and start-ups take before going all in. But most of them cannot build it on their own. Businesses that require a launching page, a mobile application, game, or anything else, often outsource it to teams of professionals to take over for them while they focus on ideating the success of the business as well as on building marketing campaigns and more. Dirox has consultants, experts, and professional tech engineers ready to accompany you on the first steps of your business.
Consult with us to learn more about smartsourcing your project to Dirox!