Think back to the time you cooked a meal for the very first time in your life- was it difficult? Did you make any mistakes on the ingredients measurements? Did you burn anything?
Like many things in life, doing or making something once doesn’t make you a pro, it takes time and effort to become great and refined with a certain regard. And that goes the same for software development and creating products.
Most, if not all startups take the route of MVPs (and no, we’re not talking about any sporting events). Introduced by Eric Ries in his Lean Startup methodology, the minimum viable product MVP concept has been helping aspiring startups test their concepts and products in an actual market for years, spawning some of your favorite industry giants in the process.
MVP in software refers to the development of a product with the bare minimum features necessary, while allowing you to collect the maximum amount of validated learning from users. Done with the intent of satisfying the average early adopter and investor alike, MVPs are now great vehicles for companies to gather user feedback and further develop and refine their products, before hitting shelves (or screens).
The purpose of creating an MVP is to validate a product idea by determining market interest and feasibility, while using the least amount of time and resources for development. With that there are 2 consequences to the MVP development process:
1) Product-market idea rejection
2) Gathering valuable information through a market-tested product
Developers enjoy the MVP approach because they get insight into the product’s strengths and weaknesses before full development. Through this process, developers can make informed improvements and bring the product to the market even stronger.
Did you know that 29% of startups fail because they run out of money? The spotlight on resource and time optimization has never been brighter, especially with the atmosphere of tech at this moment. Developing an MVP can combat overusing resources, burning valuable time, and diluting developer efforts. Here are some of the steps to create your very own MVP:
The first step to creating an MVP is to conduct market research. Things like identifying your target audience, competitors, market opportunities and fallacies, and so much more can set your MVP apart from others in the space. Besides identification, market research also aids in clearly outlining market needs for your specific product or service- if there isn’t huge demand for your product or a clear opportunity for scalability, then it completely removes the need to move to the development stage.
At Lyrid, this step is done by our clients, who identify market gaps and entrance opportunities.
Ask yourself this: what are your goals and purpose for making an MVP? Whether it’s to land that next round of fundraising, or to achieve proof of concept, developing an MVP should have a north star- something guiding the efforts behind development. Your goals can also be based on problems and insights- what problem are you trying to solve with your MVP? What insights are you hoping to uncover?
Having a driving force when building an MVP provides organization-wide focus, encourages agile development, and brings your product to life faster.
Planning helps you better understand and tackle challenges. Developing an MVP is no exception to this rule.
Determining which and how many features your MVP will have is key to planning the development cycle- though this is no easy task. Determining whether you want a multi-feature or single feature MVP, outlining feasible features without feedback, and actual development timelines are just some of the roadblocks during the feature planning phase.
Once our clients have their goals in mind, we aid in outlining the features for them, creating a roadmap for implementation and deliverability.
Like the name suggests, step 4 is to actually develop your MVP. While an MVP doesn’t have to be the production-ready version of your product, it should possess some technical feasibilities and be in ready-to-use shape. The feedback from an MVP is unparalleled, so fully fleshing out every feature and making the experience as close to production-ready as possible would be ideal for future development projects.
For this step, we act as a project manager, ensuring that each benchmark is completed and that the development cycle runs smoothly. Ensuring the engineering team can deliver features on time and within budget is our top priority, and we make sure to coordinate between the clients and their engineers before management.
This step is extremely important, as your next projects and versions of the product will build off of prior MVP feedback. As the name suggests, this step is for you to collect and interpret the feedback from your MVP. While the amount of validated learning from your users and customers may vary, quality, untampered feedback will always push for the evolution of your product. This is also when you will determine whether your products will be competitive in the market and can actually provide value.
Feedback compiling is done by our clients, with feedback analysis and implementation falling into our hands. We work to make sure that issues are resolved, desired features are implemented, and that the focus for the next product iteration is crystal clear.
The MVP development process is a long and arduous one, though it doesn’t have to be. Here are some of the best tools when it comes to streamlining your MVP process:
Miro is a visual collaboration platform that can be used through MVP inception. Encouraging collaboration through drag-n-drop features, sticky notes, and easy application integration, Miro is a great tool to get your MVP rolling, even allowing for fast prototyping and wireframing.
For the development stage of your MVP process, we recommend using either Marvel, Figma, and Proto.io. Although these tools are different, the focal point of each of them revolves around prototyping. Hosting features like wireframing, collaboration work, design templates, and road-mapping options, this prototyping trio is great for making your MVP come to life!
Webflow and Carrd are great options for building websites and pages for your MVP. While Carrd is limited to building one-page websites, the no-code experience is great for anyone looking to create a quick prototype web page or a unique, single-page MVP (for free). Webflow offers more web building capabilities than Carrd, though it isn’t as agile. Removing the need for developers and software development, infrastructure, or plug-ins, Webflow helps you build and launch fully fleshed-out web pages, and even includes templates to get your started.
Typeform and Google Forms are some of the best options when it comes to feedback acquisition and user interviewing. Google Forms is the trusty steed we’ve all learned to love, but Typeform is something new. With Typeform, you’re able to create beautiful, dynamic forms that are able to embed easily, while looking unique and straying away from the traditional form appearance. Both of these forms offer data channels for you to analyze, depending on the questions asked.
Here are some MVP examples from some of the top companies today:
In 2008, the founder of AirBNB used their own apartment to validate the original AirBNB idea. Looking for help to pay rent, founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia provided air mattress, free wifi, and free breakfast in their living room to strangers, specifically tech conference attendees. The MVP was a success, as seen through AirBNB’s massive boom today.
Facebook started off as a website known as Facemash started by Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz (3 of Zuckerberg’s Harvard classmates). The concept of Facemash was WAY different from the concept of Facebook: 2 pictures of students would be shown and users would have to determine which student was better looking.
In 2004, Zuckerberg created and released Thefacebook, the original MVP for Facebook, as an application for the university directory at Harvard.
Twitter started off as twitter by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass in 2006. Developed as an internal message board for employees of Odeo, a podcasting company the 4 creators worked at, Twitter was then made public in 2006 and featured in South by Southwest. The service saw increased usage directly after the event, and the rest was history!
Startup founders across the board can agree on one thing: MVPs typically take anywhere from 3 to 4 months to build. That 3 to 4 month period is the difference between a startup that’s able to swim, and one that drowns. While tools and experience definitely help with quickening and smoothening the process, MVPs are still as daunting as ever.
Put your idea on the fast-track with the Lyrid Launchpad! Our initiative takes care of the end-to-end processes of developing, deploying, and automating DevOps for you through network of development partners. Focus on what you want to focus on as our curated developer network takes care of your project. In the Launchpad, you are entitled to things like:
And so much more!
Our custom application development services cost 75% lower than leading agencies. Where leading agencies will charge you $20-30,000 a month for their services, the Lyrid Launchpad will cost around $5-10,000 a month, while delivering the same, if not better results!
To learn more about the Lyrid Launchpad and streamline your project, book a meeting with us!
If you are part of a software development house and want to partner with us, reach out to us as well!
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