Business, Fundamentals Tuesday December 15, 2020

How to Build a Minimum Viable Product – A detailed MVP Guide for App Owners

MVP is one of the best ways you can try out your business idea without much risk and investment. It is a demo version of the product with all the essential core functionalities and features of the new product. MVP aims to test the features and application goals on the target audience in the market before you launch your final product.

In today’s world, the thought of MVP development crosses the mind of app owners at least once in a while but the lack of clarity creates hurdles. A good MVP allows you to confirm and validate your business idea with significant results to conclude on your product strategy and development process.

App owners and developers face multiple fallbacks while developing MVP for the business application. That’s why we are here to guide you in the MVP development process that will increase your chances for a successful product launch.

In this article, we will explore the most critical steps that you must follow to create a good MVP to avoid project failures and attain development goals.

Step To Minimum Viable Product Development Process:

Step 1: Understand And Define The problem To Create Your Product Solution:

The first step towards building MVP is identifying the problems customers are facing in the market. You can get started by asking yourself and your team the following questions to understand the customer’s scenario. Answering these basic questions will help you gain the customer’s perspective.

Fetch answers to the following questions:

  1. What problems the customer is facing currently in this industry?
  2. Why do the customers need this product?
  3. What problem my app will solve?
  4. What is the prime goal of my application?
  5. Who is the target audience for my product?
  6. How beneficial my app will be for customers?

These fetched answers will clear the goal and objective for your product development. The most important goal of your product is to find the best possible solution to your customers’ needs.

Competitor’s Analysis

You might be confident that your product is unique in the market, but there is a good chance that the solution you are offering already exists in the market. This makes them your competitors who have similar product solving a similar problem.

Conduct a thorough investigation on your competitor’s product and get detailed insights about their user base, features, speciality, google ranking, market base, global traffic, and anything that can be of any help to your product.

Also, you can ask yourself the following questions to seek your competitor’s product information that is offering the current solutions in the market.

  1. How do they solve the customer’s problem?
  2. Are there any possible flaws or drawbacks in these products?
  3. What is the market approach towards this problem?
  4. How can you improvise it to do better?

Market Research

The best way to evaluate your product success is by analysing different user segments to illustrate your customer’s behaviour and expectations. You can explore different parameters like demographic, feature preferences, interests, and inclinations data to design your application that solves their problem in the best possible way.

Step 2: Optimize your solution

This will be the most critical step in your MVP development as you are supposed to align your product with the customer requirement. Mind it, the solution needs to be detailed enough to solve the customer problem completely but it must not offer too many components that will lose the actual goal of the app.

Brainstorming

Organize brainstorming sessions with your development team and project managers. This will bring creative business ideas and solutions on the table. You will get a shared understanding of the requirement of your product. Brainstorming will help you identify redundant processes, technology gaps and different perspective on the solution.

You can design your product development plan with constant improvements and added functionalities figured in these brainstorming sessions. It will help you optimize your application processes and features.

User Journey Map

After brainstorming, identify the user journey map that represents how customers will progress through the application from home page to service goal. To create a user journey, you have to first define your application process stages. Figure out the basic steps required by users to reach your product’s primary goal .i.e. purchase, subscription, etc.

Include a detailed step by step flow of the user process to lay the foundation for wire-frames and prototypes of the applications. The developers use this user journey map to design the flow of the application according to the convenience of the users. This journey also allows your developers to get creative and experiment with different possible user flow in the application.

Step 3: Prioritizing the features

Now, you need to decide which features are the most important elements for your MVP that will prove enough to run the application and not too much to get carried away. An MVP needs to offer the users enough value to seek the validation for your business idea.

As you have decided the steps your customer will take while flowing through your product, now you need to create a list of essential features for each of this particular stage.  Ask your team the following questions to shortlist features:

  1. What are the most important actions you want users to perform?
  2. What new features can bring a unique offering to customers?
  3. How many classifications do you need? For eg. need to have, good to have, no need to have, etc
  4. Which are the features are essential for the success of your MVP?

For the sake of simplicity, you can classify the features into ‘Necessary’ and ‘Not Necessary’ features. This classification will help you prioritize all the features you have shortlisted for your application.

Things To Remember:

  • The main purpose of MVP is testing your business idea with the core features to receive significant customer feedback to conclude final product development not to impress the customers with the best first impression.
  • Use as many ready-made solutions as you can instead of developing custom designs as the goal is to reduce the final product development budget not to spend on MVP draining the actual product budget.
  • Utilize your resources of time and money for faster time-to-market for your MVP. Do not spend weeks into the MVP development that might extend the deadline for final product development.

Step 4: Test your product, gather feedback, and learn from your experience

Testing

When your MVP development is completed, move to the last phase of the MVP journey-Testing. But before that, the product needs to be tested by the quality assurance team, who works to polish the product before it’s release in the market.

Customer feedback

By releasing a good MVP to market, you get a better understanding of your target audience via gathered feedback. Once your product is launched, your users will be the judges, commenting their experience, troubles and joys. It will help you analyze which features your application lacks and the existing features that need to be gone.

To your advantage, irrespective of the feedback is positive or negative you can learn from it all. Your developer team can design the final product features with the full understanding of how it was received by the users.

Learn

Now that you have all the appraisal and criticism on your product, you can start working on your final product by improving and upgrading your features. Evaluate the features that are bringing the greatest value to users and your business. Focus on these set of features and eliminate your weaknesses during the development phases of your app.

Product Value

Based on MVP development, customer response, and success rate, you can make conscious decisions about your business idea and how to shape it for the market. As a business owner, you can act in advance to make smart decisions for your investment and product. The only goal you must be having now is to maximize the product value to your target-users.

Concluding Remarks:

Developing an efficient MVP is a great strategy for screening your business idea in the target market. It allows you to align your product with the customer needs before investing any major resources into the project.

MVP has opened doors to a plethora of options to practice trial and error methodology on your product. We hope these detailed guidelines will help you to build an efficient minimum viable product that will trigger the success of your product.

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