MVP — what is it and why is it important?
MVP is a minimum viable product, which means a mobile app with a minimum set of features. You can build this kind of app to save money and to see if the product idea was a good one. It’s not much different from any other mobile app.
It simply contains less features than a complex solution and can have a simpler design. Usually when building a minimum viable product you aim to expand it later. Of course, if the first version met your expectations.
So basically, MVP is about providing customers with the most important features, releasing the product as soon as possible and checking if it fits the market.
Your business model defines your needs
So how to know whether you should develop your mobile app or not? Minimum viable product aims to show if the purpose of the app has a chance to be fulfilled. The MVP itself has its objectives, the extended mobile app, on the other hand, has higher ones.
When deciding to create an MVP it is important to clearly define these goals.
Examples of goals
→ MVP has to serve specific number of users,
→ Users have to use all features of the app
→ You need to hear some feedback about the minimum viable product
→ Users have to make purchases through the app (for m-commerce apps)
→ Time spent (by users) in the app has to exceed X minutes.
If all the requirements set at the beginning are met and the feedback from users is favourable, it means that further development of the MVP is advisable. The best situation would be if the feedback shows that users want similar features to those you had planned earlier in the development.
If the app fails to meet the requirements it can mean that there’s no point in investing in development. However, when you put it into deep analysis, it might occur that it’s working, but not in a way that you expected. For example, users use only half of the features, but the MVP was downloaded 1000 times.
It doesn’t really mean the app has no chance to be successful, right? It’s just a sign for you to reconsider the requirements.
Testing the viability
As I mentioned above, it’s highly important to test if the MVP has met the expectations set at the early stage of the project.
Minimum viable products are mostly created by startups. As a startup founder you should firstly focus on building a brand and deliver what your clients need in the best possible quality. No matter what actions you take, think about your business model and execute it.
Don’t focus too much on being the best in the market right at the beginning. The most important thing now is to meet the assumptions. That’s why building an MVP is often a good idea. It will help you check if you should continue with this particular idea and if it has a chance to bring you success.
The purpose of testing
Your objective is to release a new product that serves the users. Check if the concept is good and if so, develop it. You need to observe the performance of your app all the time. Check if the key features fulfill their role, check how many times the first version of your app has been downloaded, look for users’ reviews. You simply need to know if it makes sense to continue this project.
Why do minimum viable products fail?
It happens that the MVP turns out to be unprofitable and the idea for development has to be rejected. That’s why it’s so important to check the viability of the idea before further development. Companies often forget about it and decide to develop even if they aren’t sure if the solution can be successful. We write about common mistakes while creating MVP here.
You should take these market segments into account:
- Demographic — take population statistics into account, know your audience and its needs.
- Geographic — location matters. Your product doesn’t have to be useful for the whole world. If your app is supposed to be useful in a particular area, it’s fine. Don’t try to broaden the zone too much at the start.
- Psychographic — it’s very important to know your user’s personality and lifestyle. That's how you adjust the features to your target audience. Try to collect the maximum amount of feedback from them to tailor a solution to their needs.
- Benefit — do the product features meet users’ expectations? Do people use them all? As mentioned before in this article, check the performance to make sure your solution is actually useful.
- Volume — monitor the amount of downloads/purchases. It should be close to the amount assumed at the beginning of the project.
Don’t rush it too much
Companies fail with their MVPs because they hurry too much and want to release the product as soon as possible. This always brings the risk of launching an unfinished app with errors. And it’s not what a minimum viable product should be. It should be a fully functional app with a minimum set of features.
Yes, the purpose of creating it is to release it in a relatively short time. But it doesn’t mean it can be done in a rush.
Go through all development stages
The MVP is supposed to serve as a normal app so you’re going to have to get through all development stages. The analyses are obviously crucial to find out if there’s a market need for your product. When it comes to creating designs, caring about the user interface and user experience is very important too. The designers team will do everything just like with any other project — wireframes, prototype, hi-fi screens. All to make things clear and avoid changing anything during development. Then, all the features are implemented and the app is launched in mobile stores.
Don’t forget about marketing
Don't treat your minimum viable product as an initial version that will only become useful after development. MVP also needs promotion. To meet your goals, advertise your app and continue to do so during further development.
This is necessary to get enough downloads and to be able to study the app's performance. You can promote your product for example through social media, but any method is good. If it doesn't bring the intended results, this is another reason to rethink whether you should definitely develop the MVP.
Read the reviews from users
Receiving feedback from users is the top priority after the MVP is released. You can get user feedback in different ways. For example, set up social media accounts and read people's comments. You can also check the mobile stores where they can download the app and check ratings. Encourage the team to collect the opinions from users and answer them — that is actually a very good method to win people’s trust.
Another way of gaining new reviews is to provide users with surveys to fill. This is actually a great method to get answers because users like completing different kinds of questionnaires. Especially the in-app ones.
A software house which launched the app on these stores can also help you to get the statistics from users’ actions. Remember that the mobile app development company’s experience can be very helpful in such situations.
At FiveDotTwelve, we’ve successfully delivered over 60 projects and all of them have taught us how to meet the expectations of users and customers over the years. You can always take advantage of it when commissioning us with the project.
Minimum viable product saves you time and money
The idea behind creating an MVP is to do some research in the market and therefore save time and money on the product in the initial phase of the business. This is why MVPs are often the choice of startups that benefit from the help of investors.
By checking the performance of the app before releasing the full version, you can save on unnecessary features. It may also turn out that the minimum viable product will not fulfill its purpose and there is no point in spending money on development, and it would be better to start a new project.
But most of all, by releasing the first version of the application earlier you can start making money from it sooner. By reducing the time, you gain profit faster and start further development while earning at the same time.
This is probably the biggest advantage of creating an MVP. It should dispel the doubts of everyone who is still hesitating.
Consider Flutter for your MVP development
When it comes to savings, you probably should also consider Flutter for cross-platform development. Flutter enables developers to write one code for two platforms (iOS and Android) at the same time. It means lower costs and faster development without any loss on performance of the app. We’ve mentioned the benefits of using Flutter several times. Check out our case study with Onoco where we used this solution for a very complex app which proved to be a success.
Creating an MVP is one of the ways to reduce mobile app development costs. Read about them all to learn how else you can cut costs of your project in mobile app development.
To avoid most common mistakes when building MVPs you can also read this article and learn a lesson for the good of your project.