Mastering the MVP Development Process in 5 Key Steps
The modern IT industry keeps constantly growing, with new releases every day. However, only the strongest ones will survive: due to the limited resources and tight deadlines, many startups collapse, and users only know the most successful ones. So, how to join them?
With the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach, developers can manage uncertainties, stay user-focused, and deliver products on time. As MVP is a launchable version of the software with only core functionalities and minimum features to address customer main problems, it helps product teams understand more demands of the target audience while exerting less effort and time in the building process. Thus, businesses can create a winning product to succeed in this harshly competitive digital world by developing a robust MVP process.
Pivotal Steps to Mastering the MVP Development Process
The MVP process comprises stages that need to be completed to release an application that will be worth trying. Begin with general concepts and progress with these specific steps, and you can build a successful MVP effortlessly.
Step 1: Identify the product's purpose
No one should develop a product just to let it be without reasons. Instead, they analyze and pick the existing problems (whether from the organization or customers) in the market to solve. The main issues that have been determined will form the product's purpose, on which the MVP is based to develop.
One of KMS Solutions’ clients, ACB struggled to modernize legacy systems as well as attract mobile-savvy customers. Thus, the corporation determined that it had to change - in a mobile-first way and reached the KMS Solutions team for an effective solution. Based on the purpose of going digital to engage the new generation of customers, the ACB mobile banking app was created.
Step 2: Understand your target users
There is no app that is dedicated to everyone. The majority of businesses frequently consider building personas. It's essential as each fictional character contributes to solving the challenge defined in the problem statement, and the product team can use those personas to create an effective user flow.
In the case of ACB, one of the target audience groups is tech-savvy millennials who have the demand to shop online and check their account balance frequently.
Step 3: Draw customer paths and features needed
An effective way to ensure that users will have a good experience with the product's first iteration is by mapping out their journeys. By analyzing the product from the user's perspective, you can then start narrowing down the feature set required for an MVP without missing any fundamental things.
When creating a user journey, the product team should take into consideration user personas, user stories, and epics. The way a persona interacts with a product and achieves one of its ultimate goals will form the user stories. Clear, focused, and actionable user stories and epics help drive product decisions around the main objective. Users who want to transfer money online will need to go through these stages:
- Log in to the digital banking app
- Find the saved account number in the money transfer list
- Fill in the transaction information
- Confirm and authenticate the transaction with the OTP
- Receive the notification and can recheck later in the transaction history.
Besides, once you've worked out the customer flow, you will want to identify their concerns. Building a "pain-gain map" can help your team identify the pain points users will encounter and where your app can add the most significant value.
Step 4: Determine the categories of MVP
MVP is a product that can come in many types - just like regular software apps. Understanding different sorts of MVPs before beginning the construction of a specific product can make your notion more tangible. There are four categories of MVP, which are clarified in detail here.
Before hitting the market with any version of your product, it's worth considering picking the suitable technology.
Step 5: Prioritize MVP features
At this step, it's essential to discern what features to involve in the MVP according to the priority. With the previous analysis in the third stage, your MVP should concentrate mainly on the most painful attributes and the ultimate goals. Keep in mind that one or two features are more than enough to gather feedback and measure the product's reception. In contrast, implementing too many user-requested features can harm customer experience and take away from the general purpose of the software.
Development Mistakes To Avoid During the MVP process
Nowadays, corporations are adopting the MVP development process to test the worth of their product without a steady outflow of time or money. However, to build a successful MVP, you need to dodge some development pitfalls that might lead to massive failure.
1. Solving the wrong problem
Before devoting months of effort to building a product, the initial step is to identify the pain the business will cover. Ask yourself questions related to purposes of development and target audience to find the core issues.
As is mentioned above, if you intend to target everyone, you may end up getting no one. Thus, find the door first, then start finding the key. After cracking the right target audience and problems, the product team can come up with accurate ideas to find practical solutions.
2. Skipping the wireframe and prototype phase
Constructing a house without referring to a visual model is nearly impossible. It's just as difficult to jump straightaway to the development process without first specifying the requirements.
The progression of an idea from a unique concept to a fully functional product or service is a vital component of product development. Between the idea, and the full-fledged product lies the prototype and wireframe, which demonstrate the 'How' part of the product. Considering these phases in the MVP development process can help the product team create a version that is enough to visualize the user experience of the MVP.
3. Ignoring feedback
The common reason for the failure in products is their inability to meet customers’ demands in a better way than other alternatives - Dan Olsen.
Once the MVP prototype is finished, it's time to validate it by acquiring comments and feedback from the target audience. As the end-users can tell what is redundant and lacking in the product they desire, businesses should collect that feedback to start improving their products.
WhatsApp has been a successful case of collecting customer feedback to use it as a backbone to build its app. The initial idea of WhatsApp was to make an address book as an MVP project but finally ended up with a messenger. The business would have swiftly become obsolete if it hadn't observed user behavior.
4. Developing with the improper method
One of the common causes for startups abandoning projects in the middle is jumping directly into the process of MVP development without a prior understanding of the appropriate method. This is also one of the main contributing factors that lead to the failure of nine over ten startups.
In comparison to the traditional method - Waterfall, Agile software development is far more efficient and has more remarkable results. Agile emphasizes incremental and iterative development, which offers a quicker and more flexible approach to building a product.
5. Confusing between different types of feedback
Qualitative and quantitative feedback are the main ways to get data from the target consumers. While the qualitative feedback includes findings related to the quality and user-friendliness of the product's features, the quantitative feedback uses metrics that indicate how simple or difficult the tasks were to complete.
The ideal approach is the amalgamation of that two feedback, which considers a variety of different factors. This approach increases the chances of controlling the threats that lead to product failure.
Formula to Develop a Successful Software App: Agile + MVP
The MVP falls nicely in line with Agile app development as it allows for adjustments, revisions, and growth. When working with a software development team, the Agile approach will give developers the ability to modify your MVP changing requirements and continuous control over the project. Hence, the MVP and Agile approaches to app development can be effective solutions in challenging situations.
At KMS Solutions, we work with our clients using the Agile methodology. Therefore, we can meet the deadline in developing MVP while ensuring its quality.