Building a minimum viable product is a recommended way to avoid failure while developing a new digital product. It doesn’t matter if your company is a tech startup or a large-scale corporation, an MVP will help you validate your business idea early and adjust your strategy to the feedback you receive.
Every day, thousands of new products, websites, and applications are brought to the market. Some of them finally make a breakthrough but most of them don’t get off the ground. An MVP, if done right, saves you time and resources by helping you make better-informed decisions and find early adopters for your product. But how to build a successful MVP? Which mistakes do you need to avoid?
What is a minimum viable product? An MVP is an initial version of a product with enough features to be launched to the market and validate the design idea. It is supposed to provide enough value for early users to want to continue using it. The mantra for an MVP is ‘minimum effort, maximum learning’. An MVP is rough but functional so that it can test real user behavior with a real product. It:
- Helps you get your first customers by giving them a chance to try out the core features of your product.
- Provides you with initial user feedback so that you can verify whether your product is needed.
- Validates your assumptions, especially the risky ones.
- Validates your marketing strategy by helping you discover most of your target audience’s characteristics and habits.
- Validates the product hypothesis, enabling you to avoid including too many features.
- Validates the usability of and demand for your product.
Learn how to build a minimum viable product step by step.
Below you will find the most common mistakes made by businesses while building an MVP. Avoiding them increases your chances of succeeding with your offering.
If you’re not working with the right team, you are prone to failure. The wrong team may be either inexperienced or unprofessional (or both). It is almost impossible to develop a successful MVP with a team that lacks the right skills or has never built an MVP before. You aren’t able to build the product all by yourself. You need people who will help you move forward according to the vision, design graphics, write the code, conduct tests, launch the product to the market, and finally, analyze the first feedback. This can only be done by effective professionals. When your team is unprofessional or inexperienced, you will probably miss deadlines and have serious feedback interpretation issues. In addition, too many hands on board can also negatively affect your MVP. Having a large group isn’t always the optimal option. An oversized team may slow down the development process or overextend the budget.
No market testing can mean no market success. You may have a brilliant idea for a new product but without real data to back up your idea and develop the practical steps you need to fully develop the product, it may be little more than a great failure. You have to get to know your intended market thoroughly – not just potential users, but also competitors, and market conditions. You need to check if there is a demand for your product at all. Additionally, you should be aware of what requirements you have to meet to enter the specific market. Make sure you know how to convince potential customers to choose your services, especially when competing products already exist on the market.
Feature overload makes it more difficult to progress and succeed. It’s a very common mistake while building an MVP. A minimum viable product only serves its purpose when it’s released with just enough features and focus. If you cannot decide on what to include, think about what the core feature is and where the value is. An MVP is not a Swiss army knife that solves several problems. If you add too many features the whole process of developing an MVP will quickly become counterproductive. Sure, simplifying your product can be difficult – it’s tempting to add extra features. But remember, additional features can be added later when your MVP is a success. So, strip down your app to the bare minimum and only include features that are essential to its functionality. If you find it difficult to prioritize the features, try conducting a scoping session based on user stories.
It sounds really obvious as the main purpose of an MVP is validating ideas but… so many companies don’t spend enough time conducting research before developing an actual MVP. If you skip this phase, you may later find that your product has no place on the market after the launch. To validate your ideas, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your product relevant enough to attract early adopters?
- How often do people come back to you for a solution?
- Are you sure that you are validating your idea for the right audience?
- Why is your product supposed to grow fast?
- Why would customers and investors prefer your product over others?
Remember – first, specify the problem; then, build the solution. Never the opposite! If you don’t validate your business ideas, you will have an inadequate product strategy. So, if you want to build an MVP that will succeed, listen to what your business environment has to say.
Your MVP should be as scalable as possible if you want it to win. Sure, you should focus on the basic features, but you also need to understand how your features can be scaled up. Scalability is something you should think about right from the very beginning. You should consider how effectively you can mass produce your product and how updates will work when it’s fully scaled.
How can you test the scalability of the end product, and how many users are you able to serve with your MVP? These are the most important questions you have to answer before building your MVP. If you want your product to hit the market and grow fast, be prepared for such growth! A plan for success should be included in your MVP plan.
One of the reasons for building an MVP is the opportunity to collect early user feedback. Feedback is only useful if it provides you with insight. Equally, gathering feedback and then ignoring isn’t helpful – when your users have shared their opinions, why not listen to them? If you are too focused on the solutions you want to build, you may end up creating a product nobody really needs and wants. This will result in low adoption rates, which is the first sign your product will probably fail.
While developing an MVP, you should always keep the ‘why’ in mind – this is the only way to actually solve your users’ problem. Once you launch your minimum viable product, analyze what early adopters say. Conduct proper interviews and keep your eyes on key metrics. Listen more and talk less, this helps focus on the real problem.
When you see all the common mistakes companies make while developing an MVP, it may seem like creating a minimum viable product is extremely difficult. In fact, while there are many factors and issues to consider, the result is worth the effort.
An MVP is a rewarding and valuable part of the wider software development process. It allows you to validate the premise of your product and accelerate its time to market. You get a unique opportunity to test the hypothesis against the actual market needs and make adjustments to your processes if needed. Finally, an MVP is a great way to understand where to focus your investment. You can provide your investors or stakeholders, depending on the type and size of your business, with a very clear understanding of your potential. You save time and resources and protect the company from wasting money on the development of features or products that are not worth the time and effort.
Creating a perfectly balanced MVP may help you create a desirable product that will meet your target audience’s needs and requirements. No matter if you are a startup or a large-scale enterprise, an MVP is a great way to find out whether your product can potentially be successful before investing in the development of a full product.
To make sure you don’t make any of these common mistakes, trust the experts with years of experience and dozens of MVPs built. See our MVP development services.
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