As a senior project manager in an ever-growing digital agency and the main go-to communication person when landing clients and/ or pitching projects I have had the pleasure to take
What is MVP / Minimum Viable Product?
You may have a great idea for a product that you think might solve people’s problems but are afraid to execute it due to a lot of time and money required.
But, what if I told you building a product doesn’t have to be time consuming and expensive. You can test your idea using the right MVP to build a product your customers will love.
I’ll tell you what a Minimum Viable Product is; give you examples of best MVPs and free tools to help you build it.
Ready to learn?
Let’s get start.
So, what’s MVP?
According to Julia Tokareva (works at RubyGarage), an MVP product is a product with only a basic set of features enough to capture the attention of early adopters and make your solution unique.
The idea of releasing an MVP is to test new business ideas and get customer’s feedback for future development before launching full-fledged products.
While building an MVP, you need to consider the lean start-up circle which emphasises the importance of building fast and measuring while analyzing every iteration of your product.
Benefits of Building MVP
You’ll be able to know the features customers desire in a product before giving them the finished product. Before building a product with 7 features; conduct a customer development research. Your customers may only need 5 features to solve their problem and you won’t have to build the other 2 features.
Reduce Resources Spent Building a Product
You’ll be able validate your idea first before developing the product thus save time and money. This will help you build a team after you’re sure your product will solve your customer’s problems.
Get Instant Feedback from Customers
You’ll get feedback from your customers immediately after asking them to test the first version of your product. You can then use the feedback to develop a product with the features they want and define a marketing campaign.
Find Early Adopters
You need to know who and where the first users of your product are before launching the product. This will enable you to identify marketing strategies to use so as reach a larger audience thus verify your product assumptions.
The road to building a successful MVP may not be smooth. You’ll have to abandon the idea completely or get rid of certain features. However, an MVP will save you money and time in the long run.
5 Best Examples of MVP
A good MVP will help you begin the learning process immediately. Here are examples of businesses that launched their products successfully after getting their MVP right according to Oksana Kovalchuk, Chief Technology Officer at ANODA Mobile Development Agency.
It’s a ride sharing app which started as UberCab in 2009 and was only used by the founders and their friends. Back then, one had to email one of the founders so as to use the service.
The company has since added more features such as fare estimates, live tracking of drivers and reviews/feedback making it easy for users to book and make payments via the application.
Its first version had badges and check-ins. Majority of IT experts said the company would fail. The founders of the app stripped down its functionality to gamification and check-ins.
They continued to improve the end product after analysing user feedback. Today, recommendations and city guides have been added to the app.
It was founded back in 2007 and started as Airbedandbreakfast. It’s a haven for travellers looking for lowest accommodation rates. The idea was triggered by a conference that was to be held in San Francisco.
Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky opted to rent their flat as a cheap accommodation alternative to the participants. They posted pictures of their flat on their website and found paying guests.
Airbnb makes improvements based on user feedback and not on adding features.
Twitter tracks its origin to the podcasting platform odeo. When Apple stepped into the podcasting game with iTunes, the platform’s founders discovered they had no future.
Odeo decided to come up with a service that would enable a group of people to share updates using text messages with the codename “twttr”. The service did so well and pushed the team to release Twitter to the bigger audience.
Dropbox began its market expansion campaigns using a simple explainer video. Drew Houston gathered software engineers in 2007 to create a file sharing tool that was easy to use. The product needed to be integrated with Microsoft, iOS and Android.
The team recorded an explainer video and uploaded it on their website since they didn’t want to spent a lot of time and money on a product that nobody needed. Eventually a lot of people signed up paving way for a modified product.
5 Free Tools to Build MVP
You should invest in Minimum Viable Product software if growing your company the right way is your goal. Here are free tools to help you build your product:
Origami Studio is a prototyping solution that will help you explore, iterate and test ideas. The solution is exclusively available for Mac OSX desktops. You can also preview your prototypes live on Android or iOS.
Mockingbird is a wireframing app and it focuses on the idea, information and the interaction which are important pillars for mockup creation. The solution supports client and teammate sharing/collaboration and features a drag and drop interface.
Webflow makes designing prototype a fast and seamless affair. Completed prototypes can be modified into production ready sites when finished with just one click. The platform also provides a CMS feature that enables users to create dynamic and powerful sites without coding.
InVision Studio will help you create better wireframes, team communication, rapid prototypes with microphone interactions and high end designs. You’ll also animate transitions effortlessly and transform your screen into working prototypes.
IFTTT will enable you to connect different services such as voice assistants, creating powerful MVP experiments and photography via “applets”. The solution is available via the web as well as an iOS/Android app.
How to Build MVP
You should research your users and determine their needs to ensure your MVP meets their needs. Here are steps to help you build your MVP:
Evaluate Your Idea
Conduct market research to enable you address the needs of your users according to their preferences. Research will ensure the idea you’re working on is practical since there could be possibilities that the idea isn’t new to users.
Analyze Your Competitors
You should conduct competitor analysis if similar products already exist on the market. You can use Similar Web to help you analyze competitor’s website and get information such as insights about their website rank, sources of traffic and monthly traffic.
Define User Journey
You should first define process stages before defining user journey. You need to explain the steps that are required to reach the primary goal of your product. You should think about basic tasks instead of thinking about certain features.
Prioritize and List Down Features
Create a list of specific features for each stage then prioritize them. Categorize the remaining features according to what’s important to least important.
You should then define the scope for the first version of the product and start building an MVP. To know what your future product will look like, first create an MVP’s prototype.
Build, Test and Learn
After developing the product, our Quality Assurance engineers will find out if the product has any flaws and ensure it’s ready for testing.
You should use feedback collected to improve your product thus the process of testing, learning and testing again should never stop.
The concept of MVP can be perfectly showcased to potential investors and shareholders with the tools mentioned above. Although, you should seek some guidance from experienced developers to advise you on what can be built and what’s not technically possible.
However, for a functioning version which can be used by your potential users and customers, you definitely should reach out to a professional development company. The first MVP build is almost always developed keeping future expansion and scalability in mind.
Useful to add, that the prototype built with the tools can, later on, be used by developers as a guide.
Contact us if you need any help in building an MVP for your project.
Also, share with us the challenges you may be facing while researching your target audience in the comments section below.
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