How to Build your Minimum Viable Product(MVP) in 2021

Authored by chintan on January 18, 2021

We have just set our sails for ‘the new normal’, and the business sector has already picked its pace. On one end, where startups are establishing newer innovation standards, on the other, business risk is higher than ever. And one of the most successful concepts to mitigate this business risk is MVP or Minimum Viable Product.

The concept of MVP became popular in the IT industry in 2009. I t was first described in detail by Eric Rise in his book The Lean Startup. After this, many businesses started incorporating the MVP strategy in their business model. And a significant percentage of innovative startups were able to grow from an MVP to an established enterprise. Some popular businesses that started as an MVP are – Airbnb, Facebook, and Uber.

So, here we will understand:

  • MVP Definition;
  • How to Build an MVP in 2021; and
  • Common Misconceptions Related to MVP;  

What is an MVP?

MVP or Minimum Viable Product is a concept that introduces the importance of learning when building a new product (app, software). An MVP allows the developer to understand the customers’ interest in his product in the minimum possible investment. And with minimum possible efforts.

What is MVP?

In this concept, you produce an actual product with the bare minimum, yet useful, functionalities. It enables you to check the business viability of the product. An MVP solution can be as simple as a landing page or a contact form. The MVP concept gives you a room for experimenting with your product idea without investing a significant budget or efforts in the development phase.

MVP is a way to mitigate the risks associated with the traditional waterfall process. In the traditional process, a user gets to interact or give feedback once the final product is released. While in the case of an MVP, the product development cycle is a process of regular validations and iterations based on the inputs from the user.    

Why Companies Build an MVP?

A company or startup might choose the MVP concept because they wish to:

  • Launch a product in the shortest time to market.
  • Experiment their product idea with their target customers before they actually commit a handsome budget to the project. 
  • Understand the interests and need of their target audience and build a product accordingly.

When you create an MVP, the user’s feedback decides, whether you go forward with the product increment or annul the product idea there itself. So this was the basic definition of MVP, and now we move forward to learn how to build an MVP.

How to Build an MVP in 2021

As you learn how to build an MVP solution, you need to understand its 4 main aspects. These are – Desirability, Functionality, Feasibility, and Viability. Now, to include all these aspects in your MVP solution, you need to understand its different stages.

An MVP solution has three stages – Design Thinking, Lean Thinking, and Agile Thinking. Each of these stages is crucial to a successful MVP solution.

Now, as we discuss these stages, we are modifying the traditional MVP concept a little to make it fail-proof. And this modification comes in the form of the newly-added Design Thinking process.

In the traditional MVP concept, Lean and Agile Thinking defined the overall basis of an MVP solution. But the traditional concept lacked significant focus on the ideation part, and therefore the Design Thinking stage was introduced.  

So, let us dig deep to understand each of these stages:

Design Thinking

This is the stage where you analyze the need for a product. The prime goal of an MVP product is to resolve the users’ challenges. Or meet their specific requirement.  And therefore, ideation or defining the actual problem is the first step.

The 5 Steps of Design Thinking Stage:

  • Empathise: Research, analyse and define the actual problem. Scrutinize the need for a product.
  • Ideate: Ideate whether the problem needs a solution. Brainstorm the challenges associated with creating a solution.
  • Prototype: Start designing a prototype and experiment through multiple designs. Sprint through the process.  
  • Test: Implement your prototype and test it. Make refinements and test again. Repeat the steps to find the right prototype design.
  • Define: Research through the loopholes in your design thinking process, fix them, and define your prototype design.
Design Thinking

You need to repeat the above steps multiple times until you find a break-through with your final prototype idea.

Lean Thinking

This stage has the most significant impact on the entire MVP product development cycle. It serves the core basis of the lean startup concept.

Lean Thinking stage is about finding the right harmony between viability, feasibility, and desirability of your product.

  • Viable: You need to make sure your product is applicable or viable.
  • Feasible: Your product needs to be practical or achievable. One should not forget an MVP product is an actual product that should be functional.
  • Desirable: Imagine you create a product that is practical and functional, but no one needs it. Is it a successful MVP? Of course Not. You need to assure that your product is desirable too.
Lean Thinking

This stage requires deep learning to define the MVP project scope. You have to extensive research and finalize the minimum set of features that would be able to create a functional and desirable MVP. Once the project scope is finalized the minimum viable product goes in the actual development phase.

Agile Thinking

Agile Thinking can be defined as a series of sprint iterations. In Agile Thinking, the MVP is made available to the users for the first interaction. Now, based on their first interaction with the MVP, a product is either dissolved or goes in an iteration.

So, Agile Thinking is the phase in which the MVP goes through multiple loops of validations and iterations to reach its most viable form. Each iteration is guided by valuable feedback from the users.

When you build your minimum viable product, you need to consider all the above stages. The key to MVP success is ‘Build as you learn’.

Misconceptions Related to an MVP 

Today when innovation and disruption are shaping the business sector, MVP has become a popular concept. Especially, for startups that wish to lead by minimizing the associated market risks. But, there are many misconceptions related to MVP. Some of the most common misconceptions are:

  • The Smallest Amount of Functionality: Many businesses confuse the term ‘minimum viability’ for minimum functionality. They build a product that offers a minimum level of functionality, but it is not viable. The users are not able to use this product. Or provide any feedback because it does not meet their needs.
  • Stressing too much on the ‘Minimum’ Part: Many teams over-stress on the ‘minimum’ part of an MVP up to the point where the product lacks its viability. And many-a-times the quality of the product is not sufficient enough for the user to assess its viability.
  • Missing Out on the Desirability Part: Desirability is one of the most important aspects of an MVP solution. In fact, it defines the need for the product in the first place. However, a few teams fail to perform a thorough need analysis for the product. Therefore, even if the product is viable and functional, it does not appeal to the users.
  • An MVP is a Final Product: In some cases, teams make an MVP solution, receive actionable feedback about it, but do not build it further. They consider their MVP a final product as it draws them some initial users. However, after some time, these users wish to scale or look for more features and switch to the most promising competitors.

Potential Cost of Building an MVP

The cost of building an MVP is significantly lower than creating a complete (fully-developed) product. However, this cost can dramatically increase based on the number of iterations required in building the final version of the product. On the other end, the direction and the project scope of an MVP solution can change drastically based upon the users’ feedback. It can alter the cost parameter significantly. 

So, MVP concept allows you to market your minimum viable product to real users and gain their feedback. If an MVP solution fails to appeal to the users or lacks the desirability factor, the company dissolves it. It is a significantly small loss of efforts and budget. 

An experienced MVP development company can help you quote the right custom price for your MVP solution.  

Into the Conclusion

The concept of MVP has dramatically shifted the way innovators and entrepreneurs build a product. The concept saves them from the hassle of investing time, budget and efforts on a product that no one wants. But, building a successful minimum viable product is a challenge itself, and one should remember to:

  • Analyze the need for the product
  • Research for the best solution to the need
  • Create, test and define the right prototype idea
  • Establish the right balance between desirability, viability and feasibility
  • Analyze the customer feedback and move accordingly
  • Build as you learn

With this, if you wish to consult the scope of your MVP idea, or require development support from an experienced technology partner, we can help you. Connect with us today!

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How to Build your Minimum Viable Product(MVP) in 2021