Table of Contents Hide
Product thinking seems like a lot of work. You’re tasked with developing a product that will meet the needs of consumers. And one that supports innovation strategies and management. It’s common to hear executives say, “We’ve got $3 million in funding. So we must get this right.” But how can you be sure that it won’t fail?
So what’s a minimum viable product? It’s a crucial step in the software development process. It enables you to preview and test the product. And to make the necessary adjustments before releasing the final version with all the features.
When creating customer-oriented software, you must understand what the final users need. And that’s where a minimum viable product comes in. Building an MVP helps you to know the balance between an organization’s offer and consumer needs. The various cycles of testing will enable you to minimize errors. And optimize your ideas during the product development process.
The Steps To Follow When Developing a Minimum Viable Product
Next, validate the problem and then test the product. These are the most important stages in creating an MVP. Because they allow you to test your assumptions quickly and cheaply.
An MVP can also be a safety net for your company. If you are worried that your idea will fail or that there is no market for the product, an MVP can be a great safety net. What are the steps to create an MVP?
1. Outline the Problem Statement
Your idea may be innovative and you may want to start working on the development. But should you really get into it immediately? Note that your idea can be great, only to realize later that no one needs it. The good thing is that you don’t need to invest in an MVP development process to know that no one needs your product.
So first things first. Start by defining an existing problem that needs solving. You can write it down and check its feasibility. Validating the idea without development helps to save resources. It also helps to ensure that there’s indeed a need for your solution.
One of the best ways to build a minimum viable product is to target problems within a familiar industry. For instance, are you a writer who is aware of the publishing challenges in your nation?
You can generate a solution for the publishing industry. Are you a lecturer frustrated by the kind of teaching that went on during the lockdowns? You can launch an app for your educational institution.
Analyze the industry you’d like your app to operate in. Identify real users’ pain points and find out how to fix them. Identifying unmet needs enables you to bridge your product with the target market.
2. Define Your Target Market
There are times when your ideas won’t fit into the market needs. That’s why you must check what consumers want and define your target market before building an MVP template. You may want your solution to serve as many people as possible. But working on targeting all users everywhere makes you unfocused.
It’s easier to satisfy the needs of a specific group of people compared to getting everyone to use your product. Build a user persona and be sure to make it specific. Give as many details as you can. The details can include the potential buyer’s age group and their profession.
It also includes the educational level, income, and goals. The more you know about potential clients, the easier it will be to tailor your product to meet their needs. To define your target market, ensure you get acquainted with groups of adopters. They are:
- Innovators. These are the first users who are willing to take the risk of trying an unsuccessful product.
- Early adopters. They are highly educated opinion leaders.
- Early majority. They contact the early adopters who join the product a bit late after sharing their opinion.
- Late majority. These are users who are skeptical about the innovation, including the new product.
- Laggards. These users are more focused on traditional products. So they prefer being the last ones to adopt an idea because they are used to the previous ones.
3. Map Out User Flow
When creating MVPs, design is crucial. The app should be designed in a way that is easy to use for the intended audience. Brands must consider the app’s users’ perspectives. From the moment that the app is opened, to the end of the process like ordering or delivery, it must be considered from the beginning.
The user flow is also important. It ensures that nothing is missed and keeps the future product’s user satisfaction in mind. The process stages are necessary to establish the user flow. You must also explain the steps necessary to achieve the main objectives.
It is important to focus on the basics, such as buying the product and managing orders. These are the main goals users should have when using the product. Once each stage has been completed, it is time to identify the features.
4. Decide on the Features to Build
It’s at this stage that you’ll discern what features to include in your minimum viable product template. And, what features to have on your product roadmap that is of a lower priority. Find out what users want and whether the product is beneficial.
Categorize the rest of the MVP features depending on priority. There’s the high priority, medium priority, and low priority. The other part of this step is to arrange the features in the product priority-wise.
After this, it would be time to begin building the minimum viable product template. If you’d like to know what your future product will look like, create an MVP’s prototype.
5. Build a Minimum Viable Product
The role of an MVP is to minimize your time through the build-measure-learn loop. Thus, you should forget about perfection and focus on releasing the product as soon as you can. That’s because the sooner real users begin using the product, the better.
Their feedback will tell whether there’s interest in the type of product to be developed. It will also show whether developing it will be a waste of time and other resources.
There are two options to consider when building an MVP. There’s a concierge and a fake door MVP. The two are like a pre-MVP that enables you to check the business viability of your idea. A concierge MVP product helps you in defining your main idea. Take this minimum viable product example to your clients and ask if they want to try it.
You may be intending to build a learning app that helps students get the best from their online learning. Before getting the actual software, get a list of local manufacturers first.
Place it into a spreadsheet and take it to education experts. Their reactions or disinterest will make you know whether there’s demand for the app.
Compared to a concierge MVP, a fake door MVP is close to the real solution. With a fake door MVP, you pretend to offer the real product and ask consumers for their desired action. Develop a simple landing page with a catchy title, describe the app’s key goal, then ask clients to act on it.
While developing a fake door MVP, you’ll have to give users that complete the target action an explanation. Let them know what you’re doing. And why you asked them to click a button without having functionality to address their needs.
The two options, concierge MVP and fake door MVP are experiments. They’re meant to help you check if your target market is interested in your product. That’s why even if you begin with this type of MVP, you’ll still be required to invest your resources in a real MVP.
6. Test the Minimum Viable Product
You’ll have to thoroughly check the MVP when it’s ready. There’s the quality assurance, where team engineers check functionality. They also check user testing when users try your product. This stage begins as soon as there are pieces of functionality ready for quality assurance.
Test engineers are tasked with checking if the functionality meets the project’s requirements. As the product owner, you should also try it out to ensure it complies with your vision.
After the confirmation by engineers that there are no issues, you can sign off. Now it’s time to put the product into the users’ hands. Look for the people that match your buyer persona and get them to test your MVP.
If you went through all the relevant stages, you’re likely to receive the desired feedback. That feedback will be a clear guide for what you should do next.
It might look like a long process. But an MVP is just step one of your journey. It enables you to quickly validate your idea. It also helps you in receiving feedback from real users. This gives you valid proof that your idea works for both stakeholders and investors.
We’ve guided you through the process of building an MVP and we believe it will be helpful when you need it.
- Top 3 Product Management Tips for Product Managers
- 8 Innovative Product Packaging Tips That Boost Sales