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How to build your MVP to improve the efficiency of the software development process

By Elena Moldavskaya.

Software development is always a challenging process.  Even if you are sure about the product idea, target audience, and their needs. There are always doubts about users’ feedback, business needs coverage, and, of course, ROI.

These doubts are inevitable. Luckily, there is an approach that allows to mitigate the risks and improve the efficiency of the software development process. Briefly, it sounds like:

Build Minimum Viable Product and use Agile methodology.

MVP: the right and wrong ways to build it

In general, MVP – a minimum viable product – is an initial offer to clients with a minimum set of functions, which has the maximum value. The goal is to provide immediate value while minimizing development costs. Comprehensive functionality should be added to the product when the business owners had gathered real user feedback, some pre-orders or early funding. Creating the MVP could be a good way to avoid or mitigate many risks and produce a successful product.

The concept of MVP is different from organization to organization depending on the company business needs, industry, business objectives, and general market state. It worth saying that MVP isn’t always cheap and simple.  It can be quite complex depending on the industry standards. Today building the MVP is a must as for start-ups. The MVP is also an essential stage of new product development.

Benefits of using MVP

Using the MVP helps:

  • To test your concept and choose the right way to continue its development.
  • To accelerate the time to market. The more features you want to include in your software, the more time a development team will need for development
  • To reduce the development costs for the first release. If you don’t try to cram all the features (scenarios, integrations) into your MVP, you will spend less time and money.
  • To decrease risks for investments. If your MVP turns out to be quite successful, you will increase the chances to receive further funding.

This list can be quite lengthy. However, to benefit from MVP, it is important to understand the principles of its development.

The right and wrong ways to build an MVP

One of the most difficult tasks is to choose and define the MVP features.

It’s hard to determine exactly which features will deliver the highest value to your first users and ensure the best user experience. In the very beginning, it is better to choose those that both align with MVP business goals and efficiently demonstrate the major idea to users. There is a well-known metaphorical model used in the software development community to set up the MVP development process.

image by Rademade

The overall idea is to build and ship an MVP that allows users completing their goals in the fastest possible way and/or to test the viability of an MVP.

Suppose, you’re going to develop a mortgage broker Web Application. The business process would consist of several stages:

  • to give the user the opportunity to fill out the loan application,
  • to add some information about the user’s credit history,
  • to send the application to several banks,
  • to receive the approval from banks,
  • to choose the best one and show it to the user.


How could we build the MVP?

In the first column, you first deliver users an MVP without the opportunity to fill out the mortgage application and receive the approval from the bank with the personal interest rate. After that, you can upgrade your product, increase the number of banks, and make the user experience better.

In the second column, the MVP does not have valuable features and lacks a personalized approach. There is a risk that users will not catch your main idea and the intention to implement the customer-oriented process.

The set of features of your MVP is crucial for its success. They should be the core component of your strategy. When you decide what should be included to MVP, you are ready to start the development process. One of the best methodologies to adopt is Agile.

Agile: make the development process fast and flexible.

Agile is an incremental and iterative approach to software delivery. It has become very common particularly among companies specializing in the development of new products. According to some surveys, Agile and Lean teams show better results than teams that apply Waterfall. It’s not surprising, because Agile is a more result-oriented concept and it reduces the common risks that are associated with the scope, budget, and schedule. Besides, the MVP concept is ideally implemented in the Lean methodology.

2018 Disciplined Agile Consortium

Take a look at the shortlist of benefits the developers and business owners can gain applying Agile methodology

  1. Flexibility: Continuous product delivery and improvement, regular product adaptation to changing market circumstances, continuous feedback;
  2. Velocity: Accelerated time to market
  3. Teamwork: Increased team efficiency.

In a nutshell, building the MVP and following Agile methodology help to produce better products. Do not waste your time and money on redevelopment, start using this strategy and remember that Minimum Viable Product is not just about 1.0 version. It is your approach on how to make your product great. A good MVP allows minimizing risks and helps to focus on proactive users and their retention.

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