TMCnet Feature
July 28, 2021

5 Main Tips to Design an MVP

Every day, thousands of entrepreneurs try to bring a lot of original ideas into life. However, it is very risky to start a business without at least a rough prediction of its success. All commercial ideas require testing, whether it is a new business or the development of an existing project. You may test your idea theoretically many times, but it is only when you run the process that you see the real picture.

The MVP concept is an ideal method to physically evaluate the business and innovation prospects of your project.

What is the task of MVP?

MVP is not a layout or prototype of a future product. It is a working solution that has the minimum necessary properties and helps the startup reduce risks.

The task of the minimum viable product is to study the demand for a limited version of the product and get feedback from the audience. At the same time, it allows businesses to spend less resources, such as money and time, to create a product from scratch.

If an MVP proves your idea has potential, you can plan further work. In this case, you can proceed with adding the necessary features gradually and develop your solution further. It is especially important that all these actions are based on real user feedback and not on theoretical assumptions.

How to develop a successful MVP?

The key task of MVP development is to create a functional and unique product within the tightest timeframe and with small investments. To meet these three conditions, you should not approach MVP creation as custom software development. What should be prioritized during this process?

?Create a clear-cut plan

MVP should be based on a clear vision of your business in the future. It is the starting point of the minimum viable product strategy. The first step is to determine the MVP’s purpose and the problem it is going to solve.

Why should people like your idea, and how can it help them? You must articulate this task in several words. For example, “the app will allow ordering cleaning services online.” The idea is to clearly express the value and scope of the future product. Only after this step can you move on to the next stage.

Explain why people should fall in love with your idea. Take time to write a short but concise roadmap for your product for the next couple of years.

?Determine the core of the target audience

Avoid making a product for the sake of making a product. It is crucial to clearly understand who will be using this solution before starting development. Who is your potential client? What do they do? And how are they solving a similar problem now?

There is no need to focus on a wide audience when creating an MVP. On the contrary, narrowing the target audience makes it possible to more accurately position the new product. To achieve this, you need to draw a portrait of your ideal user, that is, a client who is ready to buy a product without hesitation.

In marketing, it is often referred to as a customer checklist — the age of the buyer, their income, education, habits, interests. This information about the consumer will also be useful later, at the stage of promoting the new product.

?Study your competitors

Competitor analysis will help you find out whether there are similar products on the market. You will learn what is already available and how unique your idea is. Study the similar products carefully to understand what solutions the user is currently utilizing most actively.

Make a list of features for successful scenarios. Also, check what downsides these products have. Even a rough investigation at this stage is better than its absence.

?Define MVP features

Once you come to this stage, it is essential to remember that your MVP should not be a full-scale product with advanced UI/UX design. But even the most loyal users expect a new product to immediately begin fulfilling their needs. That is, it must contain core functionality.

You need to create the minimum feature set for your MVP that early adopters will be willing to pay for. According to the most ideal scenario, this feature set should also reflect your unique advantage. That is, you need to create an MVP that is somewhere between a prototype and a full-fledged product.

You can use the Kano model to define the necessary features. The methodology is applied to improve products/services and increase user satisfaction. Kano suggested that customer loyalty correlated with an emotional response to product characteristics. This approach allows you to categorize features as required, attractive, satisfactory, and unimportant.

?Test the product

MVP needs to be tested from the very first day of the development process, and it should be done regularly. Alpha testing is entrusted to testers, while beta testing requires outside help. The ideal option is to engage a real audience of future users of the new product.

You can find people willing to take part in testing on specialized platforms such as BetaList, Quora, Reddit, and many others. You can also attract potential users via social networks, blogs, email.

Testing is aimed at the technical improvement of the product so that random operational failures or bugs do not prevent the audience from evaluating the functionality of the new product when it appears on the market.

Key takeaways

MVP technique works well for all types of products and all sizes of startups. This approach helps you study your customer’s interests and needs, and it is a fully justified investment in your future success.

Remember that an MVP is not a product but a process. You should start with little steps and gradually make progress to your target goal. And even if your MVP fails to hit the bull's-eye right away, you will get valuable experience and avoid following the wrong path.

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