What does MVP mean? Definition & Guide to create a powerful product

What does MVP stand for?
MVP definition,  approach, its point in app development, and other simple answers for your successful software product: 2022 update.

Maria Shapovalova

Maria Shapovalova

January 18, 2022

10 min read

Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) to test a business model is probably the most popular startup launch method. World-famous companies like Uber, Dropbox, Figma, and Slack started their journey to unicorn status with MVPs. In this article, we'll talk about what does MVP means, what stages are involved in creating an MVP product, what to do after MVP software development, and many other things that will help you build an MVP. Let’s start by understanding the MVP meaning.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Definition

The first question to ask is what does MVP stand for? MVP stands for a minimal viable product, but we have to delve deeper to understand what exactly this means. According to a study by CB Insights, 42% of startup failures are caused by a lack of market demand. In almost half of the cases, entrepreneurs spend months or even years of work only to realize that the hypothesis was wrong and no one is interested in their product.

What it all boils down to is what makes a product viable. Well, when talking about the viable meaning must include the following elements: 

  • Finding a problem that MVP will solve

  • Narrowing down the target audience

  • Identifying the main competitors

  • Carry out a SWOT analysis

  • Create a user journey map

  • Compiling a list of product features

  • Define MVP functions

  • Conduct tests

Now that we know what MVP stands for, the MVP meaning, and the elements that must be included, let’s take a look at the role it plays in app development. 

Minimum Viable Product in App Development

An MVP application is created in order to test the hypotheses on which the entire startup or IT product will be built in the future. Accordingly, such an application should be:

  1. Well Thought-Out - Take some time to analyze the personas, tasks, and pains of your users and formulate the hypothesis you want to test.
  2. Obvious. No need to make the user guess what this software is for. Make everything simple and accessible, even if you are solving complex problems.
  3. Engaging. Successful products compete for the time the user spends in them, and not for utility, as it might seem at first glance. Make it so that the user refuses all other substitute products and solves their problems only with you.
  4. Viral. In the modern world, buying contextual advertising to promote a software product is a losing strategy in advance. You need to make sure that users themselves are eager to tell their friends about your product.

Accordingly, the development of an MVP comes down to creating such an application and making as few simple mistakes as possible at the start.

Is it True that MVPs are Just for Startups?

While it is true that MVP development for a startup can be very beneficial, the notion that MVP is reserved exclusively for startups is a common industry misconception. In reality, businesses with established products can use MVP too, though the application is slightly different. An MVP is needed for absolutely every service offering, regardless of the industry you are in. Whether you want to create apps like Klarna, movie apps like Netflix, apps like Airbnb, the best solution for you would be to hire an MVP development service to create the MVP version first and then build on that. 

At a company with a mature product, while you probably won’t do everything in the spirit of MVP, you could use MVP’s features with your product’s mobile solution. When the product launches, you’d have instances in which links alert you that certain features are not yet available. Tracking how many people click the link gives you an indication of whether it’s a valuable feature to pursue later. 

5 Stages to Developing a Fully-Functioning Minimum Viable Product

To create a successful product, you need detailed product planning for its development. First, you need to confirm the basic principles and methods of MVP. The team must follow them throughout the process. At the same time, you should strive to spend as little money and effort as possible.

There are several stages of testing an idea and turning it into a product. Let’s explore each of them in greater detail. 

Product Canvas

The Product Canvas is a lean startup template for validating new or clarifying existing lean product ideas. It is a visual chart with elements describing an MVP—minimum viable product´s proposal, business hypothesis, metrics, features, personas, journeys, and schedule. It assists entrepreneurs in aligning their ideas with the underlying (minimum & viable) work to create and validate them. The Product canvas brings together elements of lean startup, design thinking, and business directions.

User Journey Map

User journey mapping is a simple method for discovering the problems worth solving faced by users. It’s a useful mapping technique used by UX designers, marketers, and product managers to determine all the actions a user takes to reach an end goal.

App Features

While companies may have a long list of features to include in an MVP, it’s critical to limit the number of features and focus on only what’s necessary to take the app to market. As a means of identifying the features that support an MVP’s core functionality, it’s important to start by answering these questions: what is the number one problem users are experiencing, and how will the functionality of the product solve that problem?

Feedback

Customer feedback is important for understanding your customers’ needs from your product, and how they behave. It helps folks in product management and other people developing software address customer challenges. It helps identify new improvements, functionalities, or products.

(MVP) Minimum Viable Product Development and Beta Testing

In the beta phase, the software is known as beta ware. For beta ware, the software component is technically completed software, but beta ware often contains many unknown bugs that must be accounted for to avoid software crashing and data loss. Beta testing is used to help track down these bugs, and usability testing is utilized to help mitigate user risk when operating the software. 

What Comes Next After the MVP Development?

After the release of the MVP, you can move on to the next iterations: collect feedback from the target audience, add new features, improve existing ones - and so on in a circle until you reach the desired result. This approach can be used in the development of any product. It's always good to get feedback from potential users, and this can be done with an early version of the product. And in the case of developing applications for startups, this is even necessary. A startup starts with an idea - and even if this idea is unique, it needs to be tested for viability and relevance. It is possible to test an idea with market research, but it is expensive. Developing a product MVP will help you save money and at the same time collect the necessary information.

MVP Examples 

MVP should convey the crux of the idea, which depends on the context. Accordingly, the minimum viable products vary depending on the project: from a one-page site to a working software prototype. To better grasp this idea, let’s take a look at some minimum viable product examples.

 In 1999, Nick Swinmurn decided to sell shoes online, so he needed a full-fledged site Shoesite.com. He started the business without any inventory or inventory, buying products for every order he placed. This gave him a low-risk opportunity to test his idea without spending money on restocking. Shoesite.com soon became Zappos, which Amazon acquired in 2009.

The creators of Uber put a little more effort into the implementation of their concept. Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick were frustrated by the high taxi fares in San Francisco. In 2010, they launched UberCab, a simple iPhone app that allowed commuters to rent a limousine for only 1.5 times the cost of a city taxi. Initially, the project covered a limited area and was intended for a limited target audience. However, the beta version helped the creators convey the value of the idea and get the first major investment a year later.

Mistakes in Developing MVP

There are several mistakes when developing an MVP such as: 

  • Perfect becomes the enemy of the good - Remember the main idea of MVP and implement only key features. Provide customers with a general understanding of the future product, and do not go headlong into the endless refinement of the product to an unattainable ideal! If a product is not needed, neither design nor fast performance will save it, and resources will already be spent.

  • The miser works twice, or from one extreme to another - The fact that we do not waste resources on unnecessary functionality does not mean that we save on everything! We do key functions with the highest quality. If you decide to make an MVP site on free hosting, you will lose. It is important to show customers key features and show their quality. In the case of a web app, it's better to have a simple but reliable and customizable web app than one that looks like it’s been stitched together. This is why it’s a good idea to invest in web app development. Remember the viable meaning and that minimum does not mean “unfinished” or “minimum quality!

  • Announce something and not implement it - Clients may come to you because of a feature. During the MVP stage, startups like to announce future innovations and additions. But anything happens, and it may not come to the realization of this chip. Don't lie to your customers for marketing or otherwise. If you disappoint users, have the courage to publicly apologize. Remember! Reputation is everything!

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