What is MVP?
Minimal Viable Product or MVP design is a method of building an early version of your product that allows you to test fundamental business hypotheses and assumptions. An MVP aims to answer specific questions about your product’s essential features, its target audience, and the problems it seeks to solve. In addition, MVPs allow you to test the fundamental assumptions of your business product.
It is essential to understand that MVP is not a finished product, and it is used to test and validate a business hypothesis rather than just being a functional product. At this point, a designer’s goal is to determine whether the product can generate enough traction to become self-sustainable. It’s designed to answer questions about the product before you invest too much time and resources into it. By developing an MVP, you will be able to find out if there’s a real need for your product or if it’s just a nice-to-have. MVP design can help determine which features and functionalities work best for your users. Moreover, it tells you which feature needs improvement.
Benefits of Creating a Minimal Viable Product
Testing UX Functionality
The most significant benefit of the MVP design is that you can build an early version of your product to test it in real life. That way, you find out if the user’s interaction with the product gets interrupted at any point or if it is performing well enough to meet expectations. Additionally, you can check if certain functions work fine or need some improvements.
A Clear Understanding of Customer Needs
An MVP allows you to get a clear understanding of what your customers expect from the product. Along with building an early version, you can target specific customer groups for testing and receive feedback on user experience.
Establishing an Early Relationship with Customers
An MVP allows you to establish a clear direction for your product and better communication with the customers. Furthermore, You can communicate with users and receive invaluable feedback on their interaction with the product, including bugs they may find.
Development with Minimum Risks
A significant benefit of testing an early version is reducing the risks involved in development. You start small, learn things along the way and create your product in a risk-free environment. Building an MVP also helps you identify problems early enough to optimize budgets and resources before it’s too late.
Building an MVP is a significant advantage because you can release your product to real customers faster. You can get valuable feedback on the product, spot problems early and act accordingly before releasing other versions of the final product. It also puts your product in the world faster before other people launch it.
Designing an MVP
An MVP is a solution to a problem, not the actual product itself. It includes only the most necessary features and copes with issues observed in two or three weeks. The main task of the MVP design is to ensure that it delivers value to the customer. In software development, MVP design is a strategy of creating a basic version of your product with a complete set of features that will allow you to test it on users and get their feedback. This is done without spending significant time or money building out the product. It will enable you to collect validated learning about customers, which you can use to build more features.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building an MVP
Overbuilding Your MVP
The biggest mistake made when building an MVP is overbuilding it. The solution you are testing with your MVP may not be enough to provide the necessary value to the customer, so adding more features will only create an unnecessary load on the system and give little information about how well it performs.
Solution: When designing an MVP, it is imperative to remember that this is not the finished product. Its main goal is to test the functionality of your product, so it doesn’t need to be packed with features. Instead, a designer should pick the most important ones to work on those features.
No Prototyping Phase
One of the most common mistakes in MVP design is not creating a prototype. The lack of a prototyping phase leaves you open to misinterpretations and misunderstandings, especially when communicating with your team members.
Solution: A designer should always communicate with their teammates by sharing the concepts, ideas, and sketches before building an MVP. It helps them understand the direction of further development.
Dismissing User Reviews and Feedback
One of the biggest mistakes when building an MVP is failing to collect user feedback. A designer should not disregard comments and reviews that come from customers. The product may not be perfect, but the more feedback you collect, the better it will become.
Solution: A designer should always communicate with users, ask for their feedback, and make them feel like an integral part of the development process, reducing time and resources loss. It is beneficial because user research reveals what customers want and how they perceive your product. They need to remember that the product is made for the users, and so they should use their feedback to create a great customer experience.
Building an MVP often leads to scalability issues because the product was not designed to support additional users. It can cause problems if you start seeing a significant increase in user base since the design of your system is only intended for a certain number of people. This makes it impossible to scale appropriately.
Solution: Before building an MVP, ensure that the testing solution supports the expected user growth. If it doesn’t, you will need to rebuild your MVP and probably upgrade your infrastructure as well.
Lack of Monetization Strategy
The lack of a monetization strategy is one of the critical mistakes made when building an MVP. Failing to plan this may cause problems because you lack an efficient way to make money, which in the end, makes it unsustainable for your startup.
Solution: Before building an MVP, a designer should think about how they will monetize their product and if it is feasible for their business model. The monetization strategy should be a core part of the MVP development phase, so a designer needs to consider this initially.
Disregarding the Market Research
Market research is fundamental because it helps you build a product that users need and want. In addition, it gives you insight into potential markets and allows inventors to avoid unpleasant surprises after launching their MVP.
Solution: A designer should start collecting information much earlier before building an MVP. Designers can use statistical data from Google Analytics, search engine optimization tools, etc., to learn as much as possible about the target audience and their preferences, needs, and wants.
Essentials for an MVP Design
Identify Your Marketing and Business Needs
The first step in building an MVP is identifying your marketing and business needs. Next, you need to decide what you are targeting, so the focus should be on the most efficient way to market your product instead of adding new features. Finally, having a clear purpose and focused team and knowing your customers will allow you to choose the right solution.
Ideating and Planning
The next step is to ideate and plan. You need to know all the features your product must have and features you want; But, the MVP should be clutterfree, especially in the initial stages. It may be a good idea to start with a list of all possible features and then choose the ones that short-term users need. Having an MVP that is only the core of your product will help you get critical feedback while still making sure that you build a solution that people want.
Mapping User Journey
The User Journey Map is a practical and necessary step in building an MVP. It’s important to know what your users need, find out where they get stuck. Moroever, it is pivotal to know how you can help them complete their tasks or solve their problems.
Creating a target portfolio will allow you to focus on the most important tasks and problems your users have. A target customer portfolio will help you identify your core users since they are the ones who will not only pay for your product but also provide you with feedback.
A Pain and Gain Map
A pain and gain map will show you what your users are currently doing to solve the problem that they need solving. It will also help you understand how difficult it is for users to achieve their goals and which barriers interfere with them reaching these goals. This will help you figure out the obstacles your users face and suggest some things that improve user experience.
Exercise B.M.L Build, Measure, Learn
Building an MVP is all about measuring and learning. First, you need to measure your users’ actions, which features they like or dislike, and the goals they want to accomplish. This information will help you create a better version of your product and identify errors that cause problems for people using it. Reviewing this information is where the ‘L’ part of B.M.L comes in because you will use it to improve your product and create another MVP with new features that users need.
Market Validation and Acquisition
The main goal when building an MVP is to validate and test assumptions about the market and your product. Once you have a model, you should start validating it to see if there is a need for your product in the market and whether people are willing to pay for your solution. Having an MVP allows you to get valuable feedback and engage with customers to determine a market for your product.
The amount of work involved in building an MVP will depend on the type of idea you have and how much time you want to invest in that product validation. Using an MVP will help you minimize the number of problems your users face, create solutions for their actual needs and learn what they want. It is vital to go through all steps in building an MVP successfully because it will allow you to create a sustainable model and avoid wasting time and money on products that do not provide users with the solution they need.