(Spoiler ahead) - This is a short guide on -- How to build an MVP might take your time, so sit back and relax. We’ll take you through the following:
  1. Why is an MVP important?
  2. How to build an MVP?
  3. MVP Examples - How to Make an MVP of ride-sharing app
  4. Why MVPs fail?

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Want to know the most common reasons for the failure of startups? 

The most common reasons are no market need, ran out of cash, user-unfriendly product. According to the report from CB Insights, 42% of startups fail because of a lack of idea validation and improper research over the market need and cap. These are the common harsh reasons of failure for startups.Wondering how to do it right? We’ve got a perfect example for you.

The world-famous ride-sharing app, Uber released its successful MVP before hitting the market. Uber launched its beta version where the app was loaded with the basic feature of accepting payments through the app. The user could book the Uber taxi via SMS at that time. To validate their idea, Uber started by concentrating on a small user base in San Francisco.

Wondering how to do it right? We’ve got a perfect example for you. The world-famous ride-sharing app, Uber released its successful MVP before hitting the market. Uber launched its beta version where the app was loaded with the basic feature of accepting payments through the app. The user could book the Uber taxi via SMS at that time. To validate their idea, Uber started by concentrating on a small user base in San Francisco.

Wondering how to do it right? We’ve got a perfect example for you. The world-famous ride-sharing app, Uber released its successful MVP before hitting the market. Uber launched its beta version where the app was loaded with the basic feature of accepting payments through the app. The user could book the Uber taxi via SMS at that time. To validate their idea, Uber started by concentrating on a small user base in San Francisco.

Source 

Mobile app development is led with buzzwords and “MVP” is one of them. Let’s assume a scenario when a startup founder approaches any development company for a custom fleet management app.

Without conducting the basic study, usually the tech consultants get into some research, a list of features, develop and launch the app on app stores, only to realize later that the owner simply wanted a mobile-optimized website.

Even if the product is loaded with the latest features, the product is not what it is supposed to be. Long story short -  such a product is labeled as ‘Failed MVP’. 


     -
MVP is neither a beta or a prototype, but it is an experimental design, which is created to test users’ assumptions by measuring  behavior and learning from the results.
     
- Having a bulk of features (and ignoring the viability part) in a web app or mobile app or whatever the product idea, still doesn’t  make it an MVP
     
- Preparing prototypes nicely and getting a number of 100 beta-users is not building an MVP.
     -
Building mock-ups of an app and presenting to users does not mean an MVP. 

The problem with this buzzword is that everybody has been trying to make his/her own definitions. Although, MVP is a broad term, and its interpretation is subjective. 

What is an MVP?

The acronym MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. Frank Robinson first introduced this concept in 2001 before Eric Ries. 

“The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” ~ Eric Ries

In simple language, building an MVP means to create the most basic version of your startup idea as quickly as possible. This way, you can test your assumptions and optimize your idea for product/market fit based on feedback from your early adopters.

Minimum Viable Product can also be described as a version of the product, which holds the basic minimum required a set of features. An MVP contains the essential elements of the product i.e. makes it useful to the target audience. 

The difference between a final product and a minimum viable product as shown in the below image.


“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.” ~ Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

As per Jon H. Pittman, the current scenario of MVP is as shown below:

However, the MVP model should be like this:

Benefits of Building an MVP

Check out a few benefits of building an MVP, which are aimed at the following:

     - Saving time and resources
     -
Helping to find out which trend will be optimal for full product development
     -
Helping out to acquire a potential client base and find the products’ early adopters
     -
Attracting investors in advance

Difference Between MVP and Prototype

Heading to the idea to final product involves many steps. Prototypes and a minimum viable product are the two product design approaches that are used to validate the hypothesis. 

A prototype is just a sample product. On the other hand, MVP is a minimum viable product. As already illustrated, an MVP is the minimum set of features necessary to engage early adopters and get the learning feedback loop. MVP helps entrepreneurs to start with the process of learning quickly. 

An MVP is a prototype at its heart but on the way of turning into a full product. We can also say that a prototype is a foundation for what will become the minimum viable product. 

Having an MVP is important due to the fact that 30,000 new consumer products are generally launched in a year, and 95% fail, according to the report from Harvard Business School.

Whether you are searching to close an investment round or looking for some angel help, you need to be careful with the following points as words of caution:

     - Careful with your finances
     - Test your product concept in advance 
     - Don’t ignore your customers
     - Hire the right team
     - The product should be with a business model

However, this is exactly a case where a minimum viable product (MVP) comes in. 

Why is an MVP Important?

1. Helps to Legalize Your Product, Idea or Services

One of the major advantages of building an MVP is that it helps you legalize your product, idea, and services. However, MVPs are only effective for you when you listen to the feedback you receive from the market. 

In most of the cases, organization/startups are based on the idea, which revolves around a new product or service. For instance, an established startup/organization chooses to create a full product based on their early vision. It almost works every time, but sometimes it doesn’t. Such behavior is possible if the market was not chosen carefully or the product was not compelling enough. 

2. Get to Know the Customers as soon as possible

Whenever you get the first version of your product, show it to your customers. It helps get to know your customers better and recognize their needs. You can build a product as per your customer's needs. Here are a few advantages of knowing your customer's expectations:

     - Easier to define a marketing campaign or sales process
     - Getting feedback about the product’s features way faster

3. Helps to Find The Early Adopters

Early adopters are the first users of the product. Before getting the product into the mainstream, you really need to know who are the early adopters within the product range. Once you recognize the early adopters, it will be easier to set up the marketing campaigns to attract more people, know what features they really want, and most importantly validate the product assumptions. 

4. High ROI (Return on Investment) With Low Risk

MVP brings you the advantage of the maximum value at minimal risk and minimal time. That means it is better to find out what exactly customers expect before giving them the finalized product. 

Before building at least 9-10 features of your new product, ask your customers about their opinion. This will help you in recognizing the distinguishing features of the products that you need to focus on.

5. Reduces The Remakes

Keeping the product simple guarantees minimum remakes while excessive features complicate the iteration process and user experience. 

Therefore, an MVP of the product makes a positive impact on your project in one way or another. 

How to Build an MVP?

Here are the necessary steps that can be considered to build an MVP:

1. Market Research

Market research is the key. Time-consuming might be the reason why a lot of marketers skip this step. If you focus on a specific market segment, a strong brand message can generate much-needed traction. This is an effective and affordable way to reach potential users and generate income. 

With a clearly defined target market, it would be a lot easier to determine where and how to market your business. 

2. Analyze Your Rivals

If similar products like yours are already available in the market, it is important to conduct a competitor’s analysis. There are a number of tools available, which can help you investigate your rival’s websites or apps and get some insights about their monthly traffic, sources of traffic, website/app rank, the geographical location of users, and other helpful information.

One of the most popular free services of this type is SimilarWeb. The other popular free tools are:

PRO TIP

In short, it is important to know the following:

     - Who are your competitors?
     - Who are their customers?
     - Look for a niche market, which your rivals have already overlooked.

3. Hire Developers

Building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) requires experience. Once you’ve decided to validate your idea, it is suggestive to hire an experienced team of developers. It would be great to start smart and hire professional ones. It will save time and money. 

Since you’ll be entering into a long-term partnership with your app development team, hiring should be done from a reliable mobile app development company. 

Before hiring developers, you need to evaluate all available options based on the following criteria:

  • Domestically-based Elite Developers

The team of developers must be top-notch. You should find elite developers, who can outperform in quality and irrespective of the rates. Hiring app developers from local Los Angeles app development companies can help protect you from a legal standpoint, guarantee streamlined communication, and allow for the possibility of meeting in person. 

  • Proven Experience in Your Market

Choose a mobile app development partner who has proven experience building custom solutions in mobile apps specifically in your market niche. For instance, if you want to build an on-demand taxi booking app like Uber, find a technology partner that has experience building ride-sharing apps. 

  • Hire a Team of Developers, Not Individual Freelancers

If you are thinking about hiring an individual freelancer just because it is cheaper than working with a whole team, it can be extremely risky. One must keep in mind that there are a lot of variables while dealing with freelancers. 

Working with an established team of experienced developers allows you to avoid technical challenges. It may cost a bit more, but you would not have to worry about the completion of the project. A reliable technology partner will help you to prioritize your brand and reputation apart from allocating experienced developers.

  • Tech Stack Expertise 

The best thing is to hire developers who are specialized in one particular technology. This is not just the best but it is also convenient for you.

If you do not know where to look for a reliable technology partner in Los Angeles, you can ask here.

It would be convenient to hire developers from a technology partner. This is due to the fact that they must be specialized in the specific tech stack. 

4. Consider The Design & Define the User Flow

Design a mobile app in a way, which is suitable for users. Look at the app from the user’s perspective. Talking about the user flow, it is another important aspect as it ensures you do not miss anything while keeping the future product in mind. 

User flow is another important aspect that ensures you not to miss anything while keeping the future product in mind. 

When it comes to defining the user flow, it is mandatory to define the process stages. You also need to explain the steps needed to reach the main objective. The main focus should be more on the basic tasks instead of features such as finding and buying the product and managing and receiving orders. Once all the procedure stages are clearly laid out, it is time to define the features of each stage. 

5. List The Core Features & Prioritize Them

In the beginning, list all the core features, which you want to include into your product before embarking to build MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Once you have a finalized list of features for each stage, you need to prioritize them. To prioritize the features, do the following:

As an entrepreneur or startup, you need to ask yourself the following questions - 

     - What is one of the important actions that I want my end users to accomplish? 
     - What other features do I want to include? (If it is so, explain why you require each of these features and do not forget to eliminate the least important ones.)
     - Now, it is time to classify all the remaining features under the diverse categories like must-have, nice-to-have and don’t care. 
     - You can categorize features from ‘high priority’ to ‘low priority’. By doing so, you will be ready to start arranging features by their priority. It is always focused on the entire process.
     - Once you have prioritized all the core features, you are ready to build the first version of the product and move to build an MVP. 

6. Build, Test & Run

Prioritizing will help you to define the scope of the first version of your product. Once product development is done, the product needs to be tested. The first testing stage is conducted by Quality Assurance engineers. They will work on improving the quality of the product. The team of engineers ensures that the product is ready for alpha or beta testing. 

Evaluate everything completely after launching the MVP. Your users or clients are the only people who can define what features your product lacks. It is pivotal to collect your client’s reaction to the release. After you collect the feedback from your customers, you can make improvements in your product again, then test and run again. 

How to Measure MVP Success for Mobile App

To measure the success of MVP for mobile, here are a few metrics need to be followed to measure MVP success for an app:

1. Word of Mouth

Traffic is one of the useful metrics to get a real picture of the success of your MVP. The natural word of mouth is a useful metric. You can start by listing the pain points of your customers, who are facing or might face. You can also ask your customers what they think. 

2. Sign-ups 

The sign-ups are an effective technique to measure your users’ interest in your idea. This technique will help you to covert revenue, based on the results of measuring interest in your app.

3. Engagement

This metric allows you to measure both the product’s current value and its future value for the client. Engagement can help to improve user experience based on user feedback. 

4. Adoption Level of Your MVP

The other effective technique to measure the success of your MVP is the adoption level. The number of sign-ups reveals the adoption of your product. With this technique, you can also predict your future success.

5. Crowdfunding

The number of contributors and the amount of money raised is the most effective approach for defining the interest, demand, and readiness to use the project, which you are going to offer. This approach includes pre-orders, A/B testing, and crowdfunding.

MVP Examples: How to Make MVP of Ride-Sharing App

If you ever plan to create a ride-sharing app like Uber, here is what you need to do to create a successful MVP of the ride-sharing app:

In general, a ride-sharing app has three types of users i.e. admin, driver, and rider. Let’s have a look at a few features each user requires. 

Admin Panel: It allows admin to easily manage, moderate, and track drivers and riders. It also includes manual dispatch, driver transaction, advance fare management, and admin reports.

Driver: It lets the driver manage his personal profiles, rides, and payments. It includes trip history, route selection, refers driver, and rider reviews.

Rider: It enables the rider to manage his/her personal profile and payment methods. It also includes features like notifications, fare calculator, schedule trip, trip history, preferred driver, in-app payments, and driver review.

MVP of Ride-Sharing App: The Technology Stack

Here is a list of key technologies used for building the ride-sharing app.

1. Geolocation & Navigation

In ride-sharing app’s technology stack, geolocation is the most important technology. 

Technology Stack:


2. Push Notifications & SMS

After ordering the ride, the app sends riders a notification when the driver accepts the request. The cancellation of the ride is also notified to the rider through the SMS or push notifications. The text messages are powered by Twilio telecommunication provider. 

Technology Stack:


3. Payment Gateway Integration

In a cashless system, the user can pay via debit or credit card or use a promo code. It simply eliminates the need for human-to-human cash transfers. While accepting card payments, there are a few requirements, which companies must follow. In the United States, it is known as PCI requirements. The PCIDSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that app companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information and maintain a secure environment.

Technology Stack:


Other Examples of Successful MVP

Airbnb

Airbnb was known as Airbedandbreakfast in 2007, and it was validated by the founders themselves. They found that the hotels were expensive in San Francisco. They started by putting mattresses in their house, built a website, advertised it, and got 3 paying guests. This way, the idea required no more validation. After seeing this, we are sure you would not require any number to prove how big Airbnb is today. 

Source


Groupon

An American worldwide e-commerce marketplace, Groupon, connects subscribers with local merchants by offering travel, goods, activities, and services across 15 countries. Initially, it was started as a WordPress blog wherein they offered daily discounts, restaurant gift certificates, movie tickets, and other deals in the Chicago area. At that time, users who signed up on the website, they received PDFs with coupons. Now, Groupon has already over 500 cities worldwide, nearly 48.1 million active customers and featured over 425,000 active deals in 48 countries. 

Dropbox

Since 2007, Dropbox, a file hosting service provider, has been offering services like cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. However, 12 years ago, the company was not the same. The founder of Dropbox, Drew Houston, never built an entire product when he came up with an idea of Dropbox in 2007. He released a video about explaining what the product does, its value proposition and a simple demo. The following video was published through Digg and the target were early adopters of technology.


Why MVPs Fail?

Companies that choose to start with an MVP app usually ignore one of the three aspects of the MVP:

  • Minimum 
  • Viable 
  • Product

Get The “Minimum” Correctly in an MVP App

While building your MVP app, bear in mind that the quicker you finish an MVP, the sooner you will collect your users’ feedback. Also, you can’t keep adding feature after feature just because to make your MVP app more attractive.

     - You should pay attention to what the competition is offering and keep only those which make your app stand out. 
     - The MVP app that you have developed should successfully solve at least one problem for your app users.
     - Also, you need to start with a minimum, even before developing an MVP app. Here are a few variants:

                   - Mock images or Wireframes of the app views
                    - Clickable Prototypes

Get The “Viable” Accurately in an MVP App

You should also account for the monetization strategy if you are in the app business for profits. It can be a subscription or in-app purchases. The MVP app should be able to turn in some income. Otherwise, it would fail.

However, when your MVP app will be used by the company’s employees or your target audience is an enterprise, the “viable” part will be a little different. Then, it may be:

     - A pre-order
     - An Investment
     - Or a contract

Get The “Product” Right in an MVP App

A product is considered as something tangible and complete. Undeniably, your MVP app will lack a lot of features, but it should feel like a product in the users’ hands. There are many companies, which generally starts by building an MVP with a stimulated back-end. 

Taking an example of Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, where the founder offered its users only the pictures of sneakers. As he would fetch and deliver from a retail shop upon an online order. 

Developing an MVP means that you have already done a fair share of research. You already know your target audience and bring them something unique with your MVP app with each iteration of your app. 

Other Reasoning Behind The Failure of MVPs

1. Unbefitting Development Approach 

There is a saying which goes, “There’s a way to do it better - find it.” ~ Thomas A. Edison. Jumping directly to the process of MVP development without prior knowledge of the correct method of development of building is the reasoning behind the failure of MVPs.

In general, there are two approaches for MVP product development i.e. Agile and waterfall. The waterfall methodology is perfect for complicated projects that can take six months or longer to develop. 

On the other hand, Agile product development is far more efficient due to its potential to deliver the project at a certain time frame. Plus, it also offers adaptability to changing circumstances along with high-quality results. 

2. Ignoring Users’ Feedback 

MVP is developed to gather feedback. If not listening to your users will shorten the life of your MVP app. You will be also surprised the way your users use your MVP, plus their expectations. Their feedback will help you to sharpen your MVP further. 

3. Incomplete Team of App Developers

As we have already said that choosing a development team for building an MVP is crucial. It is also similar to picking a vendor for any development project. We suggest you hire an app developer which has proven expertise in the development of MVP apps. 

Concluding Lines

By considering the above-mentioned factors, you can make a difference in the success of your MVP. It will also grow the chance for your product among your rivals in the market. If you have decided to create an app and want to start by building an MVP, we would suggest you to strictly follow the important factors as mentioned above. Apart from this, If you still have any query or confusion regarding - 

     - How long does it take to build an MVP?
     - How do I plan an MVP?
     - How much does it cost to build a minimum viable product?
     - What is the cost breakdown of choosing an MVP development company?
     - What makes a good MVP
     - I am looking for an app developer for MVP software app development. What is the right way to approach the one?
     - How to develop Android apps from scratch?

Then, feel free to chat with us or drop me an email at david@rodeoapps.com We’d love to help you out with an optimal solution.

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