Developing a Minimum Viable Product? Here’s a 3-Point MVP Checklist You Need
The most popular, feature-rich apps we all use today didn’t start their life as such polished products. It took the work of multiple teams over many years to help these products mature. But pushing to release is critical for development teams, and the best way to get started is by creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Here’s a 3-point MVP checklist to help your business make the most of this incredibly productive strategy for building digital products.
What exactly is an MVP?
Developing and releasing a successful software product is riddled with risks and challenges. It’s easy to procrastinate the release date and waste time on expensive bug fixed without ever getting any user feedback. The Minimum Viable Product offers a productive process that allows development teams test, optimize, and expand their solutions over time.
An MVP is the product without its extras. It contains the minimum amount of features it takes for realizing the core functionality of the product. It only solves the most critical problem that you want your product to solve.
Note: Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to build an MVP when your project requires a fully-functional product. In that case, a landing page that allows users to pre-order your product works much better.
Why build an MVP? 7 key benefits
An MVP brings a number of advantages to businesses looking to launch a successful digital product:
- It keeps the development team focused on the core functions and value of your software.
- It reduces procrastination and distraction.
- It defines the primary goal of your product and so helps developers manager the anxiety about the product being underdeveloped.
- It helps to avoid cluttering the initial product with unneeded features.
- It reduces rework time by allowing developers to find bugs along the way.
- It ensures faster time to market
- It creates room for updates and new features end users ask for to enable product evolution.
How to build an MVP – A 3-point MVP checklist
1. Always test your idea first
When pursuing an MVP, businesses sometimes decide to skip market research – and that’s a serious mistake that might lead them to overestimate the product’s potential. By passing market research up, they never examine the competitor landscape or explore alternative product solutions.
Validate the product idea before developing the MVP. That way, you won’t waste valuable resources on building a product the market doesn’t really need.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Share the idea and gather critical feedback – you need feedback from potential customers to understand whether they need a product like yours at all. Collecting feedback on B2C products is easy – all it takes is walking into a coffee shop and questioning strangers. But B2B products are a little more tricky because of the confidentiality requirement. Make sure only to share your idea within your professional networks.
- Research the market size and alternative solutions – this is a key step to understanding your market competition and checking the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions. Research and make notes about the market size, technological advances, pricing of similar products, and other relevant issues.
- Estimate the financial value of your product – this is a driver that will set your MVP apart from alternatives. You need to know how to price your product before releasing it to the market.
- Gather specific user feedback – ask your target audience whether they would be willing to pay for your product if it promised to solve their problem. Use online communities like Quora or LinkedIn.
2. Build a product that focuses on the customer
Releasing an incomplete and untested product is a bad idea. To follow Henrik Kniberg, you can’t deliver just a tire when your final product is supposed to be a car. You need to provide at least a skateboard.
By rushing the MVP phase, you risk receiving negative feedback from the early adopters. As a result, your team might delay launching the next version of the product.
Build a simple but complete product. Put the features that bring the most value to your earliest customers first. Focus on their core requirements. Any features beyond it should land in your product roadmap as a future release.
Here’s how you can prioritize features for your MVP:
- Describe customer pain points in user stories – focus on who the customer is, what feature they want, and why they need it. Create customer personas and define what value they would get from the product features.
- Estimate how much time it will take to build the feature – your approach to prioritization will depend on your budget and resources. Focus on developing features that require the least effort and bring the greatest value to users.
- Divide your product features into must-have, should-have, could-have and won’t-have – this technique is called the MoSCow method. It helps to prioritize features for the MVP and visualize the entire product roadmap that will come in handy for future iterations.
3. Be sure to test your pricing
If you manage to find customers willing to pay for your MVP, it means that the product serves a market need. But if your competitors offer similar alternatives for free, customers might perceive your product as overpriced. To mitigate the risk of overpricing, test different pricing models and experiment with alternative product pricing strategies.
Here’s how you can test your MVP pricing:
- Use fake pricing scenarios – just because you’re testing the willingness of customers to buy your MVP it doesn’t mean you actually have to charge them for it. For example, at the end of the funnel you can see how many customers select the paid version of your product and offer them a free trial period in return.
- Explore different pricing models – find a model for your MVP and test it for at least three weeks. Note that A/B testing doesn’t work for products in the MVP phase – since you have very few customers, that type of testing won’t bring you any meaningful findings.
- Survey customers – use survey tools to get direct feedback from your target audience. For example, you can embed the survey on the pricing page. It can pop up and ask users to rate the value of the product features. You can also ask whether they think your product is expensive compared to similar alternatives in the market.
Follow this MVP checklist to build a successful product
Building an MVP offers businesses the opportunity to define the problem they’re looking to solve in detail, the functionalities the MVP should have, and how the product will be promoted on the market.
The MVP prevents feature creep and procrastination, helping companies build a clean, simple and functional product with an optimal time to market.
Are you looking for a development team skilled in building MVPs? Get in touch with us; we help businesses create MVPs that bring their product idea to life.