MVP Development for Startup

Here at 111 Minutes we work close with entrepreneurs and know why MVP development for startups is important. Why do startups practice MVP development? And how does it work? We will explain in this article.

MVP

A minimum viable product (MVP) has the core functionality of the product only. It has the main functions that allow the product to be deployed and used by testers, early adopters, and users. MVP isn’t a final or even beta version of the product. However, it still allows developers to check how many people use it and to get their feedback. MVP is important for startups and their potential investors. Funding a startup becomes easier when an investor sees that a MVP is used by people and that they like it since a startup can have a good idea and spend thousands of hours on its development, but people just don’t use its product.

MVP = minimum funds spent while maximum features implemented.

Core Functionality

It has been mentioned that core functionality alone has to be implemented while developing MVP. But how are main functions chosen since there are hundreds of features that a product can have?

You must know exactly what problem your product solves, and features that solve this problem are core. If MVP development of a messenger is required, for example, the core functionality would be chatting. When chatting is implemented and used by people through MVP, you can then add video/photo sharing and profile pages for every user including many details (even how many pets they have and their nickname at high school). If ultra fast video/photo sharing is a killer feature of your product, it has to be implemented in the MVP. Other useful features not required in MVP functionality could be added later (like ability to share files with groups of certain people or adding friends).

When core functionality required for MVP development is chosen, everything about MVP development looks to be okay. But what can happen here (and it happens often) is that more functions are implemented than is required for MVP. Why does that happen? While everything in the scope of work is chosen in the beginning. Developers are asked to add one more feature that will make MVP be more useful, and it does. But “implementing only one more additional feature” repeats itself again and again. Every feature that must be implemented requires time and funds. The deadline stretches and spent funds increase. This can lead to several problems such as: the MVP releasing later with more functionality (deadline can be missed for months!); instead of developing MVP with the core functionality beta version of the product or even v1 is released and the whole product is developed without MVP (Deadline is missed); and finally, more and more functions are implemented to MVP and one day a startup runs out of funds when MVP isn’t ready.

At 111 Minutes we talk to our clients and consider their ideas and new functions while developing an MVP for their startups. We discuss every feature and its priority for MVP. Some new functions are really required for MVP or they can be implemented instead of another feature. And features from MVP that must be replaced are implemented in later versions of the product (as well as other good ideas and must have features that are proposed by the client or our specialists). With this approach, startups get proper MVP to share with their early adopters, users, and investors.

Tracking

One more awesome thing about MVP is the ability to track users’ behavior. What function is the most usable? What is less usable? Why? The last question you’ll have to answer by yourself, but two other questions can be answered by analytics implemented to MVP. This allows developers and startup owners to figure out what features must be changed or removed as well as to see what features are okay. Feel free to ask users why they use your product and what features they like and why.

Also, it allows you to see what functionality isn’t required in your product. As a result, further development of unrequired functionality wouldn’t happen. Time and money can be saved.

Design

Some people are sure that MVP’s design doesn’t matter. To be honest, I thought the same way for some time. But MVP still has to have great design. Users must love the attractive appearance of your product from its early stages. If your product solves their problem and has good design, users will definitely tell their friends about it. Don’t hesitate to create unique designs that will differentiate your product and attract users.

So choose core functionality, work on design, check users’ behavior, and gain feedback. MVP will help lead you to a product that rocks.


Originally published at 111 Minutes Blog.

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