If you have researched Agile development you’ve likely come across the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP). At its most basic, this is the bare minimum of a product that you can release to keep your user base happy.
Many use it to get a jump on the competition and get a brand new idea out there as quickly as possible. Others use it as a valuable feedback tool. The information gleaned from early adopters can go towards informing the later development process.
It’s a common tool in subscription models. A company releases a basic software. Users subscribe and create a revenue stream. The developer then uses this revenue to build on the MVP and create a software that will attract even more users. This cycle continues, all based on the foundations of the MVP.
So how do you figure out what should make up your MVP? That’s something we hope to answer here.
Determine The Key Features
You may go into a software development process with grand ideas of what the software will do. Every new idea adds cost and development time. In some cases, this may not be a luxury that you have.
That’s when it pays to boil your software concept down to its key features. Consider creating a list of the three things the software needs to function as users would expect it to. That’s your MVP. All of the other bells and whistles can come later. Those main features will be what attracts your initial user base and give you the breathing room you need to spend as much time and money as required on new features later on.
Consider Your Audience
Before you can release an MVP you have to know the audience it will appeal to. Every software development project has a target audience. With an MVP, you have to drill that down further and figure out which people will want to get on board at the earliest opportunity.
This often takes some research. You need to find where the people who are most enthusiastic about your idea actually are. Beyond that, you also need to understand the minimum product that these people will accept to actually adopt your software or product. That’s your core user base. You can build from there, but the MVP has to satisfy the initial needs of the core.
Know Your Budget
MVP as a concept rose up because companies needed to get software out there on a budget. This is where boiling your concept down helps again. Your initial features should be something that you can handle and deliver with the budget you have.
Trying to deliver more than you can afford leads to a software with a bunch of half-finished features. It’s better for your software to do three things right straight away than ten things poorly upon release. The latter situation will cause people to gravitate away from the product.
The Final Word
Your MVP will depend on the software and its scale. It’s not always necessary. Some small softwares don’t require continual updates and improvements.
However, when executed correctly, an MVP release provides a strong framework and the extra capital you need to scale the software up.