How to Approach MVP Development: Step by Step Guide

Maria Boyarko

Maria Boyarko

Head of BA at Andersen

Business Analysis
Jul 12, 2022
6 minutes to read

Let’s imagine that you have come up with an excellent business idea. You start asking yourself crucial questions helping you to shape a best-selling product: “Is there a real market need?” “Who is the target audience?” “What is the key functionality?” The answers to these questions need to be obtained prior to the development as the key aspect of building a successful business plan is to ensure the solution’s relevance and its necessity for end-users. In addition, you want to be able to improve your software with time. In this piece, Andersen’s experts will share what a minimum viable product is, and how MVP development helps companies elicit product requirements, verify the viability of its functions, and cut project costs while creating outstanding software solutions.

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What an MVP is

Statistically, seven in ten startups fail within the first five years of their existence, about a third of them due to creating products for which there is no market need. Conducting market research and building a minimum viable product is a cost-effective and sure way to verify a business idea and improve the software before its final version is developed. An MVP is the initial version of a solution with vital features that are just enough to operate on the market and deliver real value to its users. It doesn’t have a top-notch user interface, perfect localization, gold plating, or minor attributes. The idea behind developing an MVP is the ability to quickly and cost-effectively test a raw solution with the potential of bringing great utility to customers rather than spending substantial effort, time, and money developing fully functional but useless software. Thus, the app is tested by its first users who provide feedback and valuable insights for future changes.

An MVP is somewhat similar to the proof of concept, or PoC, which is the demonstration of a feasibility of a method or idea in order to prove that it really works. The PoC approach includes developing an outlined prototype or test model. The key difference between them is that the PoC deliverable is not necessarily a full-fledged product but rather a theoretical confirmation of the fundamental possibility to create it while an MVP is a fully working solution with minimal scope of features to deliver a certain value to its end-user.

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Why does your business need an MVP?

Thanks to MVP development, your company creates better software by taking the following steps:

Validating a business idea in advance

Every business idea needs to be tested whether it’s a startup or an existing project. It’s extremely important to check if there is any substantial demand for what you’re going to produce. An MVP allows you to test hypotheses using the initial version of software, and thus, assess the viability of the idea by collecting feedback from real users.

Securing investments

If the idea is accepted by the users, then the investment in it will be justified. Your MVP can be subsequently refined and adjusted based on user feedback, redundant features can be removed, and missing ones added. All these improvements aren’t based on assumptions but rather on feedback and metrics, e.g. the number of downloads, purchases, and new users. Thus, you’re protecting your investments thanks to a better understanding of customers’ needs and the ability to satisfy them.

Identifying possibilities for further improvements

After you release an MVP and subsequently gather insights from users, you will know what the potential for further growth is and how to improve the existing solution. An MVP is easy and fast to develop, and therefore, it helps to reduce the time-to-market ratio when launching an app and rapidly provides you with all necessary information regarding the integration of the new solution with the existing one and its large-scale implementation.

What the challenges of MVP development are

Let's take a look at the challenges companies face when developing an MVP.

Poor market research

How can you be sure that the target audience will find your app useful? In-depth market research conducted by professional Business Analysts prior to the MVP development process will help. Insufficient research, in turn, will result in vague functionality, an inability to define what software has already been introduced to the market by your competitors, who your target audience is, what functionality is needed to meet their needs, and how to adjust your solution so that it would be a success. Thus, inadequate market research will ultimately result in failure.

Inexperienced development team

Sometimes companies opt for hiring lo