How do you build a successful product? The answer is easy: you don’t. The MVP approach to product development allows you to create something people want to use, but only after it goes through several iterations. One of these iterations is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Unlike products built for the consumer market, an MVP is designed for testing purposes and determining whether or how much the product will work. This is a well-established practice in product development, and while it sounds like a fantastic idea, how do you go about building one?
What Is An MVP?
It’s a preliminary version of a product or service presented to customers in a particular stage of development. The purpose of an MVP is to get feedback on the product or service, so the team can make changes and improve it. By continuing with the MVP approach, you’ll allow your team to focus on the product or service instead of worrying about when they will implement the features. This will enable them to focus on the present rather than the future. One of the goals of the MVP approach is that you can easily define the scope of your project since the project’s size is reduced. In a typical MVP, there is a business problem that needs to be solved by a new product, and the MVP is the initial version of that product. Often this initial version is a small, limited-use version of a bigger, more robust version of the product, but that is not always the case. The MVP can be a single feature of the entire creation, such as a simple webpage, or it can be a complete, fully functional product, such as a website, mobile app, or other product. If you are building an MVP, you want to make sure it is the perfect first step in the right direction.
Where Do You Begin?
Now that you understand the reason behind building an MVP, the next step is to get started creating one for your particular product. There are several aspects to this process, and each requires a different approach. For example, you will need to initially create your MVP, which will utilize various tools depending on your product. Then you will have to Set if lose on specific users, collect feedback and analyze the results. Fortunately, there are multiple mvp tools at your disposal, all of which are designed to simplify your life. For example, if you are in the user flow stage, you can use tools such as Xmind to create visual layouts that allow your team to set up preferred directions of travel that you desire your customers to take. The goal could be to boost conversion rates or guide them to relevant features, which would make the product a more satisfying one to use. Some of the steps include:
- User interface design: Once you have come up with a user flow, the next step is to design the GUI of the product. Sketch is a fantastic tool for this job, but it is Apple only, so if you are using a Windows device, you could substitute it for something like Lunacy or Figma (or even Adobe XD if you are heavily into the Adobe suite).
- Customer feedback: After you have set your MVP into the wild, you will need to collect user feedback. Google Forms is a brilliant free tool that allows you to set up questionnaires for users to answer. You will have to enable them to provide negative feedback if required so that you can get to the bottom of any issues. Nevertheless, negative feedback can sometimes be more valuable than positive.
- Analyses: While you will use questionnaires to get direct feedback, you can use Google Analytics to track exact user interactions with your site. If you are developing an app, you could opt for UXCam, which allows you to see how users interact with your app and check for any roadblocks or UX confusion.
Understand The Objective Of Your MVP
A crucial part of your MVP approach is to focus on the key concrete outcomes that you want your users to achieve, not just something that might happen. That means that it’s not enough to build an MVP that mirrors what users might do; you have to develop an MVP focused on building a product that helps users achieve the concrete outcomes they desire. Innovation is a chaotic process that has as much to do with luck as it does with design. And that’s okay, that’s the point. Your product doesn’t have to be perfect, and nobody will ever remember how easy-to-use it was. What matters isn’t how simple your app is but how easy it is for your users to understand what it does.
Understand Your Customer/ Perform Market Research
In the same way that you must understand why you are building an MVP, you will also need to consider your customer’s needs. You should never forget that they are the end goal, not the means to the end. Therefore, you must think about how your product will engage their lives. Although you will get a better understanding after you have launched your MVP and collected the user feedback, you should take time before collecting information about what your target market wants from a potential product. One of the biggest traps that a business can fall into is choosing the wrong problem to solve, and this typically occurs when little to no market research is performed.
Research Your Competitors
One tried and tested approach to discovering a gap in the market is to research what your potential competitors are doing and see how you can improve on their offering. It would help if you examined your competitors to understand how they are solving their problems. This is called competitive intelligence and is one of the most important types of research you can do as a business owner. You should be aware of what your competitors are doing, not just in terms of product creation but also in customer acquisition.
Creating an MVP is one of the best things any business can do when designing and launching a product. In addition to ironing out any wrinkles before the general public uses the product, it will also help you figure out your potential customers better. This will lead to a more satisfactory end product with a solid foundation that you can successfully build on in the future.