We are living in a digital era, where Individuals and entrepreneurs dream of establishing a winning business with a great startup. Undoubtedly the Start-Up is one of the biggest Buzzwords in this era, and it can revolutionize the business if we add an effective web/mobile application. A mobile application is the best tool to bring the services to the end-users, however, it is very important to have a fully functional application, which can fulfill the requirements of the customers because that is a deciding factor for the success of the startup or the enterprise.
The sole reason why many startups fail or do not reach the heights as per their plans, as the offerings made by them are based on their own assumptions and turning a blind eye on the user acceptance and reaction to such a platform.
It is not enough to have an application idea and expect it to be successful. Most of the startups and enterprises spend months or even years, developing or improving their mobile/web application, but not all of them are successful. It is a fact that almost two-thirds of the applications in the App Store (iOS and Android) catalogs get less than 1,000 downloads in their initial year even after spending huge on marketing and customer acquisitions. The most common root cause is the lack of a regular conversation with the audiences about their requirements and liking or need for the product.
The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort— Eric Ries
Organizations sometimes release their products directly, but that may attract many risks. Many innovative ideas fail because organizations do not involve their target audience & fail to test the waters, they do not ask their potential customers about their requirements, their accessibility and convenience
To address these sorts of concerns and instead of releasing a full-featured mobile application, ideally, a startup business can opt for the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) App approach. An MVP approach can help your application counter the potential future risks so that we can take adequate steps to mitigate them.
What is the MVP Development Process?
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is indeed the smallest and least featureful version of the proposed application, which might have core functionalities that can help the customers to assess and utilize the application. We can also say that MVP is a miniaturized version of the app, which helps the application team to collect validated learning about customers, their preferences, and requirements with the least effort.
Then, the app team can proceed with the development of the actual product with the full set of features after incorporating the feedback from the customers in a series of iterations. MVP helps us in design, development, testing, and delivering the final product. It plays an extremely important role in the web and mobile application development.
What is an MVP Mobile App?
- It is a fully functional product with core features, which can help customers to avail of the basic functions of the app.
- Developers can add new features in phases, so that entire funds are not spent at once.
- This limited spending tactic helps us securing enough money to support the launch of consecutive phases with a few updates in the design if the initial version didn’t cut the ice with the customers.
- It is a wrong assumption that MVP is an incomplete product, that is finished with time after customer feedback.
- In a real sense, the MVP is a complete product that undergoes a few updates and additions over time.
- Such improvements and enhancements but are made based on the user feedback and experience by using the MVP app.
Benefits of MVP
In today’s cut-throat competition, it is extremely important to release a product as a rapid pace and keeping the budgetary constraints in mind. Developing an MVP prior to the final product helps us save both time and money, along with the following additional benefits.
Focus on developing the Core capabilities
An MVP application always focuses on the core idea and functions that is must fulfill. We implement a lean ideology to develop MVP application; we can start building a product with a minimal budget in a given timeline. We can certainly include some high priority but minimum features, it will help us keep efforts and budget in check. The MVP also allows us to test the application with minimal risk involvement.
Less development time
It is a fact that development time is directly proportional to the development cost, more the time, more the cost. MVP offers less development, which help us in reducing the overall cost. At the same time, the moment we launch the MVP, we start getting feedback from the end-user, which can be used to make the necessary improvements in the application and release an updated version so quickly.
Testing opportunity in the early phase of app development
MVP gives us an opportunity to assess the situation of our product in quite an early phase of development. It helps us understand if the proposed application will be successful and if we need to invest more budget on the further development of the application.
User Intelligence and Gathering Feedback
Here we get an opportunity to receive an opinion of the end-users at the early stage of application development. These opinions help us to shape the final product and make course corrections if required. It also enhances the user experience as users experience in the application at a later stage, which gives them a positive impression about the application developer.
This is certainly the most important advantage the MVP approach offers. It helps us avoid shelling most of our resources right away, on things that may not hit the chord with the customers. As per numerous market research, the mobile application market is booming, however, there is a very small number of applications in the iOS store or Android Play Store which are downloaded by the customer. The sizeable section of the application is not even considered for downloading and installation, due to several performances, user interface and utility issues. Hence, it is strongly recommended to develop an MVP, as it offers the easiest way to improve the mobile development approach.
Adequate Market Validation
An MVP application can help us understand whether the application is correct for our target audience and market. It helps us project our brand to the user’s incorrect way. Application’s validation also helps us making an assessment if our application is unique to others and what USP is offering in comparison of its competitors. All this information helps us make the right strategy to project our application and promote it further.
How to Build a Minimum Viable Product?
Here we will talk about the process of development of an MVP application.
Step 1: Initiate Market Research for Idea Validation
Thinking about the idea is not enough, because many times it happens that the idea is good, but it failed because it does not fit into the market needs. This is an initial step and it gives holistic feedback from the end-users, which helps us registering the actual user requirements. It is necessary to understand the target user’s need, before embarking upon the MVP development process. We should conduct the surveys as that helps us to gather more information, and the more information we have, the more are opportunities to get succeeded. At the same time, it is also important to keep an eye on our competitors and their offerings, as that will help us understand the strong and low points of our application. Thus, it helps a business to validate the idea even actually before investing time in development & designing an MVP.
Step 2: Understand the Value Addition
We need to understand what value our MVP application can offer to its users. We need to know why would they buy your product? These are extremely important questions, as these will help us shape the application so that it fulfills the user expectations. We should also be clear about the essential estimations of our applications. We must define the value, then outline them in design phase and build the application based on that only.
Step 3: Map out the User Flow
This step comes under the design process, we must strive hard to design the application in a way that it remains convenient to the end-users. We must look and assess the application from the end user’s perspective, right from the login screen till the final process, such as making payments or committing any important transaction. We must keep in mind the User Flow, which is indeed an important aspect, and this should not be missed at any cost.
We must define the user flow during the design stage. We must explain the steps needed to reach the main objective and our focus should remain on the fulfillment of the core tasks. All the core tasks and their flowcharts should be clearly defined and laid down, as that will help us define the features of the application.
Step 4: Prioritize MVP Features
In this step, we must list all the features we want to incorporate into our MVP product before we start developing the product. Once the development process is finished, we should cross-check the features added with the list we did prepare before, it will give us an idea about the direction we are moving on.
Once we have the list of features, we should go ahead and prioritized them in phase 1 & phase 2 releases, and we must be ready to ask the question like, what do my users want? Am I offering them something beneficial? Will this application add any value to them? etc.
Based on our assessment, we should categorize all the remaining MVP features on the basis of their priority, and choose from low, medium or high priority. Once we are done with priority and organization of all the features, we can define their scope for the first version of the product and proceed with the development of an MVP. We can also create an MVP prototype, if we want to visualize the future product. It will give us a better visual interpretation of our product.
As this could be a completely new ball game for you, you can always hire the best mobile app development company that has such experience and help you define the features to be considered in MVP and further phases.
Step 5: Launch MVP
Once we get the feature information and market needs, we can proceed with the MVP development. We must keep this always in mind, that an MVP should never be a lower quality version of its final product, and still it should fulfill customer’s requirements. It must be easy to use, should be engaging, secure and suitable for end-users.
Step 6: Build, Measure, Learn
First, we have to define the scope of work and then should move the product to the development phase. Past development completion, we have to initiate the product testing to understand its flaws and that should follow with a course correction. Quality Assurance engineers should make efforts to improve the quality of the product and they are the one who conduct the first stage of testing. We must review everything thoroughly and collect the client’s reaction to the release. On the basis of their feedback, we can determine the competitiveness and acceptability of our MVP in the market.
How to Measure MVP Application Success
Though there are several methods to get a real picture of the future success of our product, here are the most common, proven and effective ways to measure the success of an MVP.
Word of Mouth
Though the Traffic and number of downloads are useful metrics to measure success. Another way to measure success is by interviewing potential customers. We can start listing the issues or suggestions of our customers, or probable issues they are facing or might face in the future, and ask them about their experience with the application so that we can improvise the application in the next release.
Engagement helps organizations to improve the user experience based on their feedback. It also enables us to track the current as well as the future value of the product.
It is the most common way to gauge the user’s interest. An Interest could be converted into revenue, based on the results of measuring the interest of end-users for our product.
Client appraisals Based on the Feedback
The number of launch rates and downloads from the marketplace shows the trends of user’s interest in our app. As we are updating the application on the basis of the user feedback and interests, it will help us generate more interest in our application.
Percentage of active users
This is another important metric to measure the success of our MVP. Initially many users can download and use our application, but in the longer run, it is important to have a greater number of active users. We must study the behavior of the user and regularly check the ratings of the active users, as they are the users who are using our application frequently.
Client Acquisition Cost
We must know the cost of getting a customer on board. This helps us assess if our marketing efforts are effective and working, or do we need to make any changes.
CAC = Funds spent on traction medium / No. of customers acquired via the medium.
Number of Paying Users
We must use the appropriate metrics to know the average revenue per user and keep a check on products that indeed bring revenue.
ARPU= Total income for the day and age/Number of active users
Client Lifetime Value
It tells us how much time a user spends on the app before uninstalling or stopping to use it.
CLV= (Profit per User *Duration of App usage) – Acquisition cost.
It reveals the percentage of people who have uninstalled or stopped using your app. Churn = Number of churns per week or month / Number of users at the beginning of the week or month.
Tips to Move from MVP to a Full-Scale Product
As we know the MVP is the first target version of our product, which helps us consume fewer efforts, time, and cost. But what comes next after MVP?
As we are building an MVP, this means we should not be prolonging the development stage. It is always better to postpone the additional features and incorporate them once the MVP becomes a success. We can prioritize such features and build them at a later stage. Most of the startups believe in working on the full-scale product only once their initial MVP is ready and validated by the customers.
We must follow the below steps to convert an MVP into a Full-scale product.
Assess how reliable is the MVP
MVP helps us to recognize the major bugs in the product, and that helps us releasing a 100% bug-free product. We will be developing the full-scale product on the basis of the feedback on MVP; hence it is important to assess the reliability of our MVP.
Scalability should work out
We need to work on application Scalability simultaneously with the MVP development. It is a common phenomenon that startups get overwhelmed with the rapid user acquisition the moment the MVP is released as there is a probability of huge signups or start rolling in.
It is important to keep in mind that whatever problem you have chosen to host your product is scalable for new users. But make sure that you are ready to handle the full-fledged traffic after the release of the MMP.
Track and improve the App Performance
It takes just 250 milliseconds to distract your users from your product to a competitor’s. No one likes a slow product and forget about paying for it. Any sort of delay could act as a detractor for the end customers and may result in potential customer loss. It is important to track the performance of the MVP before moving to the full-scale product and take appropriate steps to improve the performance.
Find the MVP market
We need to find the market and target audience of our MVP. We can engage the market partner and gather constructive feedback. We can take help of renowned influencers, who can help us getting the views of the customers. We need to ensure that our agile minimum viable product should be presented as a viable and worthy product. The vision of the future product might be intriguing to the prospects of today. But it is also important to satisfy the customers who are using our product today.
Prioritize the Backlogs
In this step, we need to prioritize the backlogs and need to respond to the data proactively. The backlog should enlist all the features and we plan and broke them down in small chunks, called as user stories. We can use Scrum, where these user stories could be re-prioritized before the launch of every production sprint. We must adjust your resources and efforts to accommodate business intelligence in a better way. Using this method, we can develop the important features in every sprint, it does not matter how many times we have changed it, since we have developed an agile minimum viable product.
Stick with the scrum’s production sprint
In order to launch the full-scale product in the market, we must stick to the scrum’s production sprint. The moment we accumulate the data, we need to assess on the feedback and prioritize the features. We have to work on the feedback of the existing customers and at the same time, we have to develop the additional capabilities and features for the new audiences as well.
We must stick to this process and by doing this we will be able to improve the software products in ways that provide the most value. We can implement the production sprint to convert the MVP into a full-scale mobile application.
Launch the Final Product
Once we are finished with the development activities, we can launch the full-scale product. We must ensure that the launch information should be shared with all the stakeholders and end customers. We can use social media to propagate the information to our target audience. We must ensure that our technical teams should be available 24*7 to provide adequate support for any potential issue.
Stories of 2 Big Brands which never built the Entire Product but still became famous.
Groupon is one of the most famous websites in recent times. I don’t know if you are aware, but Groupon was started as a simple WordPress blog, and its team members used to offer some daily discounts, concert vouchers, gift certificates, sale offers, movie tickets, and other details in the Chicago area. Groupon used to send the PDF coupons to the customers signed up with them. But now look at the scale they have achieved, but their website and app are still not a full-scale product, but it fulfills the requirements of the target audience in the best and easiest possible way.
Drew Houston thought of the idea of Dropbox and he released the entire product when he came up with the idea in 2007. He only released a simple video, where he explained the core featured of his product and some basic functionalities. It was a simple video on the Digg platform and his target audience was very limited, few early adopters of technology. You will not believe but this simple video helped him to increase the beta sign-up from just 5000 to an astounding 75000 in an overnight. The major reason was the user interest since the file organization was an important and tough task for most people and Dropbox did address the concern. Upon receiving the user feedback and a massive number of sigh-ups, Dropbox scaled their application up to a level where they can cater to more than 1 Million users, that too in less than 10 months, though the interface of their application was still quite basic, it was addressing the requirements on their end-users, and that’s what matters.
We are pretty much sure that you are excited enough to start your first MVP Development journey. Please remember the golden rule, it need not have to be perfect, all you need to do it just follow the described steps and strategies to build an MVP for your product and then launch it to cater to the target audience.
MVP could be called an approach or a method that helps you to discover a lot about your target customers with the help of a working product, without spending valuable time, efforts, and funds. All you need is to define your vision, plan your business hypothesis carefully, identify the main MVP features, and know your target audience, and develop it.
So if you are looking to convert your idea into an online startup, please feel free to contact us to hire mobile app developers who not only code but also think and a team of business analysts and consultants who know plenty of business domains and can guide you in the right direction. Hence in order to know how we can help you to validate your idea and help you build an MVP and take it to a fully scalable product.
Rahul Mathur is the founder and managing director of ARKA Softwares, a company renowned for its outstanding mobile app development and web development solutions. Delivering high-end modern solutions all over the globe, Rahul takes pleasure in sharing his experiences and views on the latest technological trends.