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    Minimum Viable Product: How to Build an MVP Quickly

    What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

    A minimum viable product is a version with just enough features to be usable by early customers, who can then provide feedback for future product development.

    MVP stands for a minimum viable product. It is a particular development technique, a ready-to-release application with essential yet limited functionality. MVPs are used to test out business ideas, find a suitable business model, gather user feedback, forecast future profit, and get investments.

    An MVP is built to test the startup idea and see if your product is useful for your target audience. Building the MVP is excellent if you want to attract early adopters, study users’ first impressions, and reduce financial risks. Yet, don’t take it as the shortest way to save funds on launching a startup.

    MVP software develops sufficient features to test the main hypotheses, and the complete feature set is designed and developed after considering the feedback received from the product’s initial users.

    The reason why many businesses and startups fail isn’t that their ideas for products are imperfect but rather that they don't entirely meet what customers want. Sometimes the product needs just a little rework to pull ahead of the competition. Thus, MVP development helps to know in advance whether your future product will pull the market or how to make a product that won’t fail.

    Example: In 2009, the presently complex city guide Foursquare launched as a single-feature app – with a location-based check-in function. When its management was satisfied with the users’ feedback, they gradually began to add additional features, such as recommendations and city guides.

    Why do Most Startups fail with Their MVPs?

    You might think that MVP is not worth the investment if you plan to launch your product's full functionality. Or you might be 100% sure that your idea will fit the users’ needs and distinguish it from the competitors. But almost 90% of all new startups fail under the newest SmallBiz Trends research. So, let’s cover the most widespread reasons why this happens:

    Lack of Research

    The first reason startups fail with MVPs is that they skip the discovery and concept stages. The discovery phase of the product helps to analyze the market, create the product's concept, build a roadmap, and design a prototype. However, often businesses decide to omit this critical stage of developing an MVP and don’t analyze the market enough struggling to find a promising niche.

    Lack of Skilled Human Resources

    The second reason for startup failure is the lack of experienced professionals, particularly in development. Sometimes, because the budget might be tight, hiring experienced developers is hard. Another reason might be that startups tend to write the wrong people due to lacking specific knowledge and experience in development details.

    Incorrect Choice of the Tech Stack

    The third reason connects closely to the second one – due to the lack of professionals experienced in specific fields, startups might make a wrong choice when deciding on the tech stack they use for their MVP. Making the wrong choice may lead to the skyrocketing price of the whole development and make their MVP too expensive to support.

    Lack of Development Steps

    Sometimes, due to tight budgets, limited time frames, or lack of product development experience, businesses may skip such important stages of the development process as QA and software architecture. However, it can lead to critical errors, profit loss, and even the inability to release MVP.

    Why Build an MVP?

    The value of building MVP is as simple and fundamental as the product itself. It can help you both snag the interest of potential customers and prevent substantial financial loss. Before figuring out how to build a minimum viable product, let’s explore key MVP benefits.

    Comprehensive Target Audience Research

    It offers a clear benefit for POs to obtain market feedback without full-size development. If the MVP doesn’t attract interested users, you can reconsider the overall concept and make all necessary changes. How to test MVP? Once you have finished your MVP development, see how users react in real life, conduct surveys among them, and immediately begin to implement some new useful features.


    Another advantage of MVPs is their scalability. After a prototype is released, developers can, if necessary, add new tools gradually. Moreover, during the release, there are usually not so many critical or medium bugs on the devices chosen at the setup stage. Besides, the risk of reworking something is not that big.

    Cost Efficiency

    MVP helps to avoid wasting resources on ideas that may not work. Since you don’t try to squeeze in all the features you would like to see in your final mobile app or other product into the MVP, you spend less time developing and, as a result, save your budget.

    Attracting Investors

    Some entrepreneurs rely on investors to fill in the necessary capital on a project. MVP service allows POs to test their business ideas before going to capital providers. Besides, it can be pretty useful in getting new investing rounds. That’s because MVP is a completely functioning product that can be shown to investors as a physical prototype.

    MVPs Help You Innovate!

    When we talk about the overall value of an app — an innovation level is a crucial element.  One of the most critical things in a successful MVP innovation — is to test assumptions as often and rapidly as possible.

    So, that’s what MVP is for – to check your idea and give you facts and numbers based on real user feedback. You can predict, analyze and make hundreds of assumptions about your product’s success, but no one can guarantee that you have it all right. Only real users can. They may accept your product, criticize it or even give you valuable insights about new functionality. Rapid change and improvements are what create innovation.

    It’s crucial to understand that today your idea may be innovative, but after 1-year long full-size development, it can be of no use on the market. The modern world dictates a new model or MVP improvement cycle: rapid development – user testing – continuous improvement.

    People often don’t know what they want from an innovative solution until you present them with your main idea. That is why it is hard to validate a product without the MVP. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs release their products only to discover that people don’t need or use them. Consequently, they spend a lot of time, effort and resources for nothing.

    Determine the simplest MVP type you can get your feedback on and stick with it. And while someone spends years developing, trends will change relentlessly. So you have the unique opportunity to plan relevant right now! In this regard, the MVP is much more profitable and innovative.

    The MVP method ensures that the product will be viable once it hits the market. It is a way of being sure beyond a reasonable doubt that users will find it appealing, making it almost entirely risk-free.

    If you are executing this technique correctly, you can get your product out there in a much shorter time. The development process is streamlined because you’re incorporating feedback at each step.

    If working with top-notch specialists with hands-on experience in your chosen industry, not only will you get the tested working MVP with the market and competitors’ analysis but also the detailed software documentation with a product roadmap and a complete picture of your product.

    3 Stages of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Development

    MVP development and any full-size development consists of 3 main stages: Discovery, Design, and Development. Let’s get a look at each of them.

    Discovery Stage

    It’s a big (and sometimes painful) mistake to underestimate the meaning of this stage for your product. Proper discovery is the foundation of your success. At this stage, you have to:

    • Define & analyze your business needs
    • Understand the product’s objectives
    • Perform deep & relevant competitors analysis
    • Identify your user personas
    • Plan and develop your product’s monetization model

    Although it may seem like trivial work, it’s not. A slight mistake or lack of knowledge at this stage may lead to a catastrophe. That’s why you need a team of professionals, including an experienced BA, to help you perform a comprehensive discovery.

    During discovery, it’s also crucial to outline possible risks and challenges of the project—both general and technical. Finally, your development team needs to evaluate available platforms, tools, and technologies to choose the most suited ones for your product.


    After the discovery stage, it’s time to proceed to mockups and blueprints of your product. Here are some basic steps your development team should do during the design phase:

    • Identify the use cases and feature flow. In simple words – outline the functionality your app/platform will have. The UF (user flow) helps to see whether all processes in the product have a logical end. Besides, it can also be nonlinear — there are decision paths, points, and modes, demonstrating all possible interactions with your product. The main task of the scripts is to show the process of working with the product.
    • Prepare the wireframes of the product. Wireframes are the blueprints that outline the structure of an app, website, or software. These documents describe each feature in detail, including which information to display, where and how to place various buttons, use scenarios, etc.
    • Prepare UI design. Logically, the design stage should include design work, too. So, at this stage, your product’s basic UI design is prepared and ready to be developed.


    We’ve got to the most vital part — product development. For the fixed price, the client receives the basic functionality necessary to validate and launch all hypotheses. How is this process set? We can’t talk for all the development companies, so we will outline this process from the perspective of how we’re doing it at Fulcrum.

    Everything starts with the development environment setup. After setup, the team develops the product to reach intermediate milestones & tests them accordingly. It’s also crucial to have intermediate releases to receive valuable feedback from the stakeholders.

    Testing. Functional integration and usability testing are performed to ensure that your MVP will function properly. No development is final without proper testing.

    Boom! You’ve come to release. How to test MVP? Go and test your product with real users. Validate your assumptions, analyze the feedback, and implement new features to increase your audience.

    Considerations in the MVP Development Process

    Conduct an Audit of Your Existing Idea

    MVP product development is about introducing your ideas to people to get honest reactions. The first step is to outline those ideas and develop a viable MVP based on them. The question we answer at this stage is what needs the product fulfills or what problem it solves. You need a Business Analyst to analyze the TAM (total addressable market), PAM (potential available market), competition, and market size.

    Create a Business Requirements Documentation

    A business requirements document describes the critical activities of MVP development services that must be performed to meet the organizational objectives. It details the business solution for a project, including the documentation of customer needs and expectations.

    The BRD usually contains agreements with stakeholders, provides a basic tech stack and roadmap of the development process, and describes what customer/business needs will be met by the solution.

    The BRD is important because it is the foundation for all subsequent project deliverables, describing the system from a business perspective.

    Decide on a Software Architecture

    Software architecture is an essential part of the MVP development process. It plays a significant role in designing, making, selling, using, and supporting a new product. Put simply, it’s the strategy of mapping the function to form, making redundancies more apparent and better expressing the relationships between different features.

    Develop a Product Roadmap

    Once you’ve defined all the needed elements and features, you must determine their scope for the initial product version and create a product roadmap. A roadmap aims to communicate a product strategy and implement product plans. It’s a guiding strategy document mapping out the vision and direction of product offerings over time.

    Quality of the MVP

    Once you’ve determined the key features, learned about pressing market needs and created a roadmap and business requirements documentation, we can create an MVP prototype with which we’ll start to gather feedback.

    The prototype should not be of poor quality: it should satisfy the user, even if certain elements are not fully developed. The product should be easy to use, visually appealing, and address the main “pain point” that justifies its existence.

    Costs of MVP Development

    Costs of MVP development for startups and enterprises depend on many inputs:

    • product complexity
    • features
    • size
    • design
    • time frame

    The number of members in a development team can also increase or decrease the price. You will typically need the following employees in a team:

    • 1 Project Manager
    • 1~2 UI/UX Designer(s)
    • 1~2 Android/iOS Developer(s)
    • 1 Frontend Developer
    • 1 Back-end Developer
    • 1 Analyst

    MVP Examples

    Since we have illustrated and understood what an MVP is, it is time to see some examples.


    It is one of the most-known brands in the world. And it started as MVP.  The main idea of MVP Facebook was to connect students via their college or class and let them post messages to their boards. It is an excellent example of MVP because, at that time, there were similar projects, yet Facebook became the most popular. It was so easy to use Facebook and track people you know that soon enough, it became the most popular social network worldwide.


    The story of Airbnb started thanks to one design conference in San Francisco. Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia had problems with renting their apartments. They decided to provide accommodation to visitors to the design conference. Soon they realized the potential of short-term accommodation and created Airbnb.


    At first, Twitter was an internal tool for Odeo employees and an SMS-style microblog platform. It had to improve cooperation between employees. Yet, after some time, developers understood that Twitter deserves to be an independent product. Even now, Twitter is one of the most known social media. By the way, it was called “twttr” initially.


    The story of Pebble MVP started on a Kickstarter. Pebble managed to gather $10,000,000. And that was the biggest budget anyone raised on Kickstarter. And since there was no Pebble e-paper watch prototype at the time of registration on Kickstarter, we can say that the presentation video was an MVP. Unfortunately, the project went bankrupt, yet we know that video can be MVP too.

    ExpertTal can Help with MVP Development!

    MVP development usually starts with an idea. In the early stages, you should clearly know the primary values you want your product to have. MVP product development is about introducing those values to people to get honest reactions. You must outline them and then develop a viable MVP based on them.

    If you have a software product in mind and need help building an MVP, ExpertTal can help provide the right people. We will help you build a dedicated team of Project Managers, Business Analysts, UI/UX Designers, Mobile App Developers (iOS and Android), and QA Engineers who will work to build your MVP.

    If you are interested in working with world-class professionals and saving money — just contact us! Together, we’ll turn your hypothesis into a profitable project!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are MVPs only for Startups?

    It’s a common misconception that developing MVPs only works for startups and fledgling companies. Nothing is further from the truth, though. MVP is an excellent option for all: starting from startups to large corporations.

    When developing new products or features for an existing product, you should always have a viable MVP program. This could start by releasing a basic version of a new product developed for selected groups of users to test.

    What are the Main Benefits of MVP Development

    Major reasons for product failures can be resolved by building MVP before the release of the entire functional product, as the MVP benefits for business are undeniable. The main benefits are:

    • Cost-effectiveness
    • Viable product/risk-free application
    • Minimum time to market release
    • Test your product in real market conditions
    • Early feedback
    • Possible investments
    • Detailed software documentation with product roadmap
    • Market analysis, crash test, and expertise from experienced professionals

    What do I Need to Build a Team?

    If the startup decides to develop an MVP version, there’s always a risk of hiring the wrong people due to a lack of knowledge in particular fields, industries, and processes. We suggest hiring a dedicated MVP development team with hands-on experience in needed areas. You will typically need the following employees in a team:

    • 1 Project Manager
    • 1~2 UI/UX Designer(s)
    • 1~2 Android/iOS Developer(s)
    • 1 Frontend Developer
    • 1 Back-end Developer
    • 1 Analyst


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    About the Author

    Kamal Rastogi is a serial IT entrepreneur with 25 yrs plus experience. Currently his focus area is Data Science business, ERP Consulting, IT Staffing and Experttal.com (Fastest growing US based platform to hire verified / Risk Compliant Expert IT resources from talent rich countries like India, Romania, Philippines etc...directly). His firms service clients like KPMG, Deloitte, EnY, Samsung, Wipro, NCR Corporation etc in India and USA.

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