It seems like the term minimum viable product (MVP) is everywhere in the startup world. If you are rubbing shoulders with software developers or are in that field of startups and companies, you have probably heard about the MVP and agile methodologies.
And if you are new to them, the best way to describe the minimum viable product (MVP) is as a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and in order to provide feedback for future product development.
So, building a minimum viable product is always a big risk. Below, we are listing all the steps that can help you reduce that risk and successfully get started.
The Core Idea Of Building A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) And Its Basics As Seen In The Airbnb Example
As we said in the introduction, building a minimum viable product is based on a simple idea which you need to have in order to successfully implement it.
MVP can also be defined as a product that provides only the single most important service – which is its core functionality. After it is launched, it can be tested on real users, you can learn from them as well as continue improving and developing yours.
If you are new to this concept, one of the best stories of startups who succeeded is the one of Airbnb.
The Story Of Airbnb And Its MVP
Back in 2008, Airbnb was founded and had an idea to change the world. However, its founders could not pay the rent which is why they decided to transform their living room into a bedroom with air mattresses for three people. After they earned some money renting out their living room, they built a simple website and offered their services on the Internet. The first website obviously wasn’t even close to what Airbnb is right now – but it was just enough to provide accommodations.
As you can see, Airbnb launched a product with their bare minimum in terms of costs, features and maintenance. It was the minimum they could afford to launch it on real users, learn from them and then continue the improvement and the development.
Now that you know what a minimum viable product is, let’s figure how to build an MVP in five steps.
How To Build Your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The development of a minimum viable product follows a build-measure-learn process where the goal is to provide immediate value quickly – all while minimizing the development costs and using data to learn what users truly want and need.
Below we are listing all the steps you need to take to build your MVP.
Step #1: Figure Out What Problem You Are Solving And For Who
The first thing you need to do when building a successful minimum viable product is to evaluate your business idea. Here, you need to ask yourself what kind of problem is your business solving – and who is the main person or the general audience with a problem like this.
By doing this, you will save money and get what you need for your goods and services. You will also get introduced to your market and allow your users to find the service that they need.
Step #2: Analyze Your Competitors
As soon as you figured out what problem you are solving, it’s time to see who else is solving it – or at least trying to solve it. At this point, it is obvious that you have to conduct a competitor analysis if there are similar products on the market.
You should also keep in mind that even if you don’t think you have any direct competitors, your faith in the uniqueness of your product will ground for confidently bringing your product to the market.
There are many tools which can help you at this point – as well as free services which can give you similar businesses to yours and your competitors in a nutshell.
Step #3: Define The User Flow
Defining the user flow for your future product involves you focusing directly on your primary goal. In order to define the main user flow, we should first define the process stages which is actually easy because all you need to do is explain the steps required to reach the primary goal of your product.
At this point, you shouldn’t think about features – but should focus on basic tasks such as types of goals that your end users have when they use your product, their expectations etc.
Step #4: List All Of The Necessary Features (And Prioritize Them)
As soon as you have defined your user flow and the steps your customers should take while using your product, it’s time to create a list of particular features for each stage. At this point, you might highlight all the features you think are ‘nice-to-have’ but not strictly necessary.
- Ask yourself what is the single most important action that you want your users to accomplish – and make it your main feature.
- Ask yourself what other features do you want to offer – and explain why you need each of these features.
- Categorize all the remaining features under the categories ‘must-have’, ‘nice-to-have’ and ‘don’t care’
Step #5: Build, Learn, Measure
Now that you know the features of your minimum viable product (MVP), it’s time to put them to practice. Moving to the development stage, you need to test your product and work to improve its quality.
Alpha and beta testing can help here as some of the most popular ways to test a product’s performance in different scenarios. Make sure to align the testing and only make the changes which affect the entire user experience.
At the end of the day, your users are the only people who can define what features your product lacks – and what kind of features aren’t needed.
So, the wisest decision is to start improving your product again and then test, and learn, and build again, and test again, and learn again accordingly. To sum things up, building, learning and measuring is the only cycle that you need to practice when launching your minimum viable product (MVP).