Start-up MVP development process: step-by-step guide and tips
MVP is the safe and beneficial way of a start-up project delivery that increases its chances to survive. Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) makes your start-app application development more gradual and steady so that you move from one development stage to another with confidence. An MVP inspires trust in investors and stakeholders, allowing you to get the first/additional investment round. What’s more, it allows you to get in touch with your TA and better learn what their expectations and needs really are.
However, organizing a smooth start-up MVP development process takes some skill and knowledge. That’s why we, as a software development company for start-ups, decided to share our best MVP development advice and tips. They will help you to launch your own MVP successfully and manifest your business ideas into the right app features more easily.
Why start-up choose MVP development paradigm
To make the most of your MVP, you should keep in mind what exact benefits you can gain from it. Thus, let’s quickly go over MVP’s positive impact on your project development.
You can collect the early feedback
User intelligence (feedback) is a crucial factor in your start-up software development, especially at the initial stages. It allows you to adjust your start-up app’s feature set in line with the customer expectations, while it does not consume many resources to accomplish. No one wants to put enormous effort into building a complex application with a ton of features to find out that customers don’t need them.
Creating a minimum viable product allows you to enter the market and collect user feedback earlier, giving you the upper hand over your competitors. With MVP you highlight the next steps you need to take to meet the final goal — taking your start-up to the moon.
Usually, start-ups fail because of the late idea presentation. Such projects either get outrun by their competitors or wallow in tons of unnecessary tasks. But the end is common for both cases, start-up fades.
On the contrary, with the MVP development process start-ups focus on the essentials first which accelerates app creation. The faster you create your MVP, the less money you’ll pay. Also, an early release gives you the chance to gather user feedback earlier and use it to upgrade your product.
Apart from the robust release, MVP gives you the opportunity to test if your product solves users’ problems effectively or needs some reconsideration. Knowing where your product’s pain points are early, you can fine-tune your app and expand its functionality upon a stable ground of the proven feasibility.
MVP development requires much less financial resources than a full-blown solution. Mainly because you won’t hire a large developer team for a long time to build it. Besides, MVP keeps you away from unexpected budget expenses, allowing you to invest your money only into the necessary features for your app.
Increased development efficiency
Having user feedback and service value statistics you can manage the transformation of an MVP into the fully-fledged app more effectively. With that, you can reduce development mistakes to a minimum which will result in a better product, lower development costs, and faster time-to-market.
How to create your start-up MVP step-by-step
Examine the market
Before starting a trip, every good traveler tries to learn the environment where he/she seeks to enter. The same logic fits start-uppers as well. Despite MVP being a great market analysis tool by itself, making general research of the market segment you are going to enter before starting developing it is of paramount importance.
The CB insights start-up research has shown that the number 1 reason for start-up failure is a lack of market need. Thus, market discovery is where you should start developing your MVP.
Find a niche for your product
This is the first and foremost step towards the launch of your project. Precisely defined niche is half of your project’s success because all the further development will evolve around the market field you will enter. You can start with simple questions like these:
- What value does my product bring?
- What problems does it solve?
- Where I can offer it?
Know your target audience (TA)
You should identify your typical user and understand how your MVP will help such a person too. In other words, you need to match the value of your product with the person that seeks to get it. Reading market researches and public surveys can help you out with that big time.
Learn from your competitors
Analyzing the competition gives you a clear understanding of the current industry state and where it is heading. At this preparation stage, you can learn what the workflow, web/mobile application features, business models of your potential competitors are. After you’ve found out all these metrics, check out the popularity and magnitude of each competitor to learn which models and features bring them the most credibility. In addition, you can take from your competitors’ mistakes and use this knowledge to avoid similar situations.
Choose the vital features for your MVP
All right. Now we have clearly formulated business roles and TA picture with all their aspirations on the table. That means it’s time to project this information onto your start-up MVP in the form of helpful and easy-to-use features.
Transforming your business and client’s needs into the features for your MVP is tricky. You should understand how your ideas will work in your app, choose the tech stack to make them work, and tell developers what exactly you want to get in your MVP.
If you have no proper understanding of that process It’s better to hire an advisor or BA specialist to assist you with this task. A great BA specialist is a master transformer of your business ideas into the app functionalities, which serves as a middleman between you and the developer team. Some start-uppers try to cut down on such specialists, but it results in poor feature selection, project delays, and large expenses on app rebuilding.
But there are a few major steps you should know about the feature selection regardless of you doing it with a professional or by yourself.
- Prioritize the features of your MVP and categorize them by high, mid, and low priority. Then, choose the features of high priority for your MVP;
- Make a user behavior mapping to understand their journey and arrange features and UI elements accordingly.
Develop your MVP
After the feature selection, you are starting to develop a bare-bones representation of your business idea. Here, you have a few options for how you will build your application depending on your team’s peculiarities and development expertise.
You have the proper development skills and the team to deliver a decent MVP
It’s quite a widespread situation when start-uppers have programming skills themselves. At least it was when start-up culture was on the rise. Such teams rarely need to call any developer reinforcements for their MVP development. If it is your case, just do the coding now.
You hire the in-house developers, QA & BA specialists by yourself.
Hiring in-house developers and other team members take a lot of time and do not guarantee great results. This strategy is preferable when your project is on its feet financially and operationally. If your project is in the initial stages (like MVP creation) it’s a luxury to spend days skimming through CVs, interviewing candidates, onboarding them, supplying, and managing. However, you can build a team that will probably continue to contribute to your project for years to come.
All in all, this is a working method for MVP development process organization. But here you should decide if you can afford to postpone your project and to put effort into the hiring campaign instead of starting the development process with a professional software development company.
Outsourcing MVP development to a start-up software development company
Start-up software development companies save the day when your team cannot boast to be tech-savvy. This is the most hassle-free way to create your MVP and expand it to a fully-fledged application. Partnering with such a company will free you from all the hiring-related tasks we’ve mentioned earlier. Close-knit developer teams with versatile expertise, quality assurance specialists, business analysts, project managers, and other tech pros are in one place.
Also, the outsource software development companies, strive to produce high-quality software to gain or maintain their prestige. But remember that large tech companies pay more attention to their enterprise-grade projects and charge a lot for their services. Small and middle-size companies, specializing in start-up software development, are the best suite for MVP development projects. So, if you are planning to hire a start-up software development company, don’t fall for the company’s size.
While choosing your tech partners, look if they:
- Have an office in your country of residence;
- Offer start-up software development as a separate service with special pricing plans for MVP development (it means that they take such projects earnestly);
- Have start-up success stories;
- Have QA and BA specialists;
- Exercise agile software development methodologies (facilitates software development and makes the process easily manageable).
Launch, Learn, and Expand
All right, the MVP is ready. The time to set off the MVP has come. However, it’s only the beginning of the next evolution stage of your start-up application. And to make it you should analyze how your MVP performs, getting feedback from your end-users. There are some dimensions for your client’s feedback analysis:
- The number of downloads in a certain period of time;
- A total number of downloads;
- Review and feedback score;
- The time that users spend on the app;
- Anything else that helps you see if your MVP is meeting your customer’s needs or if it needs adjustment.
After, continue to develop your application to the fullest, considering the feedback and your analytics.
Start-up MVP development process tips
Hire QA and BA specialists with the development team.
The years of hands-on experience showed us that quality assurance and business analysis are vital for a successful MVP release. These routines increase your end product quality and help you transform your ideas into tech concepts that will be more clear for developers. Therefore, we recommend you hire QA and BA specialists to ensure these processes will run smoothly. Neglecting QA & BA can cause project delivery delays. For instance, if your developers have a vague picture of what you need, they will inevitably spend a lot of time sorting it out themselves instead of building your MVP.
Create a landing page or SPA for your start-up.
There should be a representation of your idea that will explain how your product/service works and how customers can reach you. If you don’t want to invest many resources in a complex website you can get along with a simple web app. An SPA (Single-page Application) with basic information on your project will be enough to introduce your start-up to the audience and create an additional customer traffic stream.Choose the platforms on which to build your app carefully
Choosing the right programming language and a platform to deploy defines a great deal of a start-up’s success. Develop a web, mobile app, or both? What operation system to target? What integrations will you be able to add to your application? All these questions should find their answers before you start developing your MVP.
Luckily, you can use cross-platform development frameworks and create applications that can work on different platforms. For example, with React Native mobile development framework to create a single mobile app that can run on both Android and iOS devices. Using such frameworks as Flutter, React Native, Angular (web), saves you a bunch of time and money but you need to choose wisely to be able to add all the essential features for your app.
Now you are ready and equipped with a decent tooltip to start your own MVP development process. All is left to do is to tell you some inspiring words to stoke the fire of your brave and ingenious spirit.
It takes great passion and diligence to bring awesome ideas into existence, sharing their fruits with the world. There are thousands of great success stories in which dizzying advances occurred due to the founder’s well-directed actions and strong belief. Jobs, Brin, Musk, Bezos, Hewlett, Packard, and others started developing their ideas as small yet ambitious garage/home start-ups. These remarkable people would never make it from tight garages to the skyscraper quarters around the globe hadn’t they enough persistence, business flair, and idea determination. So, if you maintain your confidence and really love what you are doing, there cannot be closed doors for you.
Looking up to that inspiring examples, we can also say that every industrious believer has an enormous potential to transform the world with his/her ideas. No matter how many mistakes, learning, and effort should be made to achieve it. All you need to do is to begin your path and manifest your project step-by-step, starting from a simple MVP and moving towards a fully-fledged solution as your audience expands. Embrace challenges, experiment, stay inspired, and have good luck with your start-up project!
P.S. If you feel like you need a professional start-up MVP development company to make your start-up MVP run like clockwork, book a free start-up consultation at Akveo. We help start-ups develop their MVP, get investments, and scale their software products to enterprise-level apps for more than 5 years. Akveo team offers inclusive start-up software development services with web/mobile app creation, BA, QA, UI/UX design, branding, and project management. With us, you can dedicate more time to your idea shaping and business development while our savvy and seasoned professionals take care of the tech side of your project.