Getting to Your MVP in Software
There is a concept that often gets tossed around in marketing and product development circles called MVP or Minimum Viable Product. Today we will explore why the MVP concept doesn’t exclusively apply to marketing, and can work really well in the area of software development.
What is MVP
MVP is a straightforward concept. It’s the most basic form of a product acceptable for distribution. We get the product into the customer’s hand as quickly as possible to get rapid feedback and let customers help guide the final direction of the product. This allows us to build a more impactful product while also being more flexible and agile in our development.
The major caveat is that your MVP must still have enough initial value to ensure customers can and will use the very basic version of the product. The faster you can get to MVP, the faster you can start on your secondary focus, respond to change, and get client feedback.
MVP is extremely useful because it allows businesses to learn from their deployment and implement what they learn into the finished product. The MVP concept helps gauge interest in your product while providing insight into how users will interact with it. It can also help the development team determine what features are optional vs. mandatory and where to prioritize their time.
Here is What it Looks Like in Software
The main advantage of applying the MVP principle to software is that you “gain understanding about your customers’ interest in your product without fully developing the product”. Because software development is iterative, you are able to much more rapidly respond to customer feedback and be more adaptable. The ability to provide customers an MVP version of your (or their) system allows them to demo the product before final implementation which inherently lowers the risk of your development. Bugs are caught earlier, additional features can be developed before launch, and developers get a better understanding of how the user will interact with their system. The better developers understand their user, the better the system will perform upon launch. We never want to be creating a system in a vacuum. While there is a romantic notion of “Wowing” the customer right before they launch, it’s exceptionally more valuable to build this way.
What it Means to You
Overall, it is important to remember that MVP’s are part of an iterative development process. Software systems can and will change and adapt rapidly based on user feedback. By providing detailed feedback on sandbox or MVP versions of your system, you arm developers with the tools they need to meet your requirements and provide real value.
How to do it Effectively
To successfully and effectively launch an MVP, you should consider the following steps:
- Start with a solid understanding of your clients/users
- Have an estimated product roadmap
- Prioritize your issues/features & solve the main issue first
- Launch & test
- Adjust according to feedback
Before you start building any product, it is vital that you have a firm understanding of your users, or to throw in some marketing jargon – your “target market”. Without understanding your user’s needs and motivations, you won’t be able to properly address them, limiting how much value you can provide. Also remember to map out your product, as it is a great way to visualize the development process and catch issues before they happen, as well as prioritize must-have features.
Software development is a complex and cooperative process. The best outcomes occur when developers and users work together to maximize value and identify areas in need of improvement. By collecting feedback throughout the development process, the finished product is much more likely to address the needs of the user. At CoreSolutions, we often speak to the benefits of the MVP process and work closely with our clients to ensure their needs are at the heart of everything we create.
Do you have a software idea? Reach out to schedule your free 20-minute consultation, and we can start building towards your MVP today.