Imagine having the option to test an idea before building an entire product around it. That is what a minimum viable product (MVP) allows you to do. The MVP’s main objective is to minimize the loss of time and effort and to market new feature releases. How else does the concept benefit software development companies? Keep reading to find out.
Did you know that the term “minimum viable product” was first coined by Frank Robinson and made popular by Eric Ries, the man behind the Lean Startup approach? An MVP, in Ries’s opinion, is the version of a new product that enables the team to collect the most solid consumer data with the least amount of work.
In short, it allows them to see how the target audience is reacting to a product before creating and launching it officially. The concept has less to do with development and more to do with the prospect of sales.
What Is An MVP?
In a nutshell, it’s the most basic version of a product. If you work for a software testing and quality assurance company, you probably realize how important it is to utilize your testing resources carefully. An MVP allows you to do just that. It could be a website or an application.
By introducing your target audience to a basic version of it, you can gauge their response and decide what to do next. In many cases, using the method will also help you create the best final product. Your research and marketing team will also be able to determine the product’s strengths and weaknesses. So, what are some prominent examples of products, businesses, and applications that were once only MVPs?
Drew Houston, the founder of Dropbox, first launched the idea through a video. The video helped users see how the application worked. In fact, the video was nothing more than a product demonstration.
It went on to become one of the most sought-after storage applications and attracted millions of new users. It gained so much popularity that the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, also made an offer in 2011.
Instagram has roughly one billion monthly users today. However, in its earliest days, it was nothing more than a photo-sharing app. The application’s minimum viable product was a platform that allowed users to do the following:
- Take photos
- Apply filters
- Post photos
When Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger created the app in 2010, they were nothing more than photography buffs. All they wanted to create was a simple platform with photo-sharing features.
And so, they developed a basic prototype of the app and tested it with a very small group of users. Using their feedback, they eventually launched its MVP, which was only available for iPhone users.
Only a few months later, it began gaining ground and became the most sought-after photo-sharing app in the world. Today, you can create and share videos, stream live, create stories, discover new content, and much more. Instagram has evolved to become the most popular application for content creators.
Another well-known platform that emerged as a result of a successful minimum viable product is the retail giant Amazon. The Amazon River is the world’s largest river, which is how founder Jeff Bezos first came up with the name for his company.
Initially, his vision for his company was limited. He wanted it to be the biggest bookstore in the world. Because books were widely available, simple to ship for little cost, and had a demand all over the world, Bezos decided to offer them first.
He would personally buy books from a bookstore and ship them to the customer via a post office. Despite being a low-cost and basic approach, it worked. Two months later, Amazon was earning thousands of dollars a week.
Two years later, it emerged as a public company, thanks to all the feedback he was able to gather through his MVP. Slowly, he started adding other products to the inventory.
Amazon, one of the largest businesses on the planet today, offers every product imaginable. It demonstrates how a modest MVP may develop into something amazing with enough testing and tweaks.
Amazon’s MVP was crucial to the company’s success. Bezos’ decision to concentrate solely on a single product—books—was his wisest move. It serves as a lesson that software testing services should keep in mind when they create their lean MVPs.
Airbnb began from two issues that founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia faced in 2007. The first one was their struggle to pay their flat rent. The second one was when guests of a design conference were having trouble finding affordable places to stay.
That is when they came up with an idea. There needed to be a platform that helped homeowners rent out any extra space in their homes to people. However, they weren’t entirely sure if people even needed it.
And so, they used their living room to test the idea. They used a rough website to advertise their extra space and eventually rented it to three people for $80 per night.
They further expanded the minimum viable product to homeowners to help them list their space for rent. Eventually, the seller’s side of the idea was also validated.
The success of Airbnb’s MVP was determined by speed and attention. The owners started out by targeting just one demographic and location. The final product offered multiple places, dates, and options.
Many fundamental features, like copy/paste, were missing from the first iPhone model that Apple launched. You couldn’t even copy text. Furthermore, there was no search bar. Yes, you read it right. The earliest iPhone users weren’t the luckiest in terms of offered features.
Then, there was no option to send MMS either. Among several features the phone lacked were Bluetooth headphones.
What this teaches us is that you don’t have to include every feature in your product’s minimum viable product. Build the foundation, then run a test to see if the market actually needs it. You shouldn’t gamble at all if industry giants like Apple won’t.
There are many obvious differences between Uber’s full-fledged and MVP versions. The MVP accomplished one thing: it connected San Francisco’s taxi drivers with iPhone users so they could use their cards to pay for their rides. It was sufficient to gauge public interest in a completely different taxi experience.
As of 2019, it operated in 69 countries and carried out more than seven billion trips. In the same year, the transportation network company generated $14.1 billion.
The Dos And Don’ts of Creating a Minimum Viable Product
- The idea is to focus on the app’s core features. Figure out what essential features will solve the main problem for your audience and prioritize them in your design.
- You want to ensure testing as early and often as possible. By trying the product out on a small group of users, you will be able to gather enough feedback to test your hypothesis further.
- Save your time and resources by building only what needs to be built to prove the concept.
- Setting clear goals will help you define the success criteria for your MVP. It will also help you measure its performance against those goals.
- The best way to improve your MVP is to get and use feedback from users. The future development of your product relies heavily on how your target audience perceives it.
- Avoid overcomplicating your product. Building too many features will unnecessarily make it complex.
- Never assume that you know better than your target users.
- If you spend too much time developing your MVP, you will end up delaying the releasing process.
- While speed is important, quality and design are far more crucial. You don’t want to hurt your brand reputation this recklessly.
- Your audience’s needs will keep evolving. You want to ensure that you do not lose focus in the process.
How to Create or Build a Minimum Viable Product
All in all, there are six key stages of building an MVP. Remember, your goal is to utilize every minute of every hour, and every dollar of your budget efficiently.
What Is the Problem You Want to Solve?
Developers must always ensure that they’re building a product people need and not a product they want to build. That is the key to utilizing the resources of your software testing and quality assurance company in the best possible manner. Initially, you want to attach your mind to the problem and not the solution.
What Is the Simplest Solution to It?
With ‘the problem’ in mind, it’s time to start thinking about a solution. After all, that is what you excel at as a developer. You can now start planning out the functionality and fascinating new features of your product.
The problem is that implementing all of that functionality takes time and money. Even if you have the means to create the perfect solution, there is still a significant danger that no one will use it: it may answer a problem that no one cares about.
So, rather than devoting a large number of resources to product development, you’re going to cut down your feature set to the essentials. We’ll release the most basic version of the product possible, with just enough functionality to prove your hypothesis.
Don’t Care Too Much About Efficiency
Your end product must be effective and scalable if you want to expand. However, this is still an early stage, and you can afford to construct your MVP in an ineffective manner.
Processes that are effective can be performed later. You are now only verifying your underlying presumptions.
Make Mistakes And Learn From Them
A minimum viable product is a stepping stone, not a destination in itself. You’re not trying to make a ton of money (yet), and you’re not attempting to grow your company as soon as you can. You’re attempting to maximize learning instead.
You can begin creating once you’ve planned out the characteristics of your MVP. But most importantly, this development doesn’t mean the journey is over. It marks the beginning of a feedback loop that will assist you in making continuous product improvements.
Take That Wrong Turn
User feedback can occasionally confirm your beliefs and show you’re on the correct track. It may also show you that you have made a mistake and are moving in the wrong direction.
These painful truths are often necessary to create a product that people truly want. After all, you aren’t making software just for the sake of making software; rather, you want to make something that users will be demanding to use.
Therefore, don’t panic if you launch a minimum viable product and learn you’ve gone in the wrong direction. You’ve just pushed yourself closer to success by failing yourself.
Now that you know the basics of launching an MVP, it may be time to find the right service to do it. After all, outsourcing is the new norm.
At Vates, we bring decades of experience, top software engineering, and innovation to the table. We provide you with the best software development, quality, testing, and research services, converting technology solutions into growth enablers.
That isn’t it. Our technologically savvy expert staff can account for application development completely or help you create your minimum viable product. We provide exceptional quality control throughout the process, from early conceptualization to the finished product.
Thinking of launching your next MVP? Contact us now for more information.