So you’re a startup owner with a fantastic new product or service and you know that your next step is to build a mobile app which will showcase it to the world. We all know that time is money, so you’re keen to get it out there into the market as quickly as possible. But – is building your full product and sending it out into the market necessarily the right way to go?
Having worked with a number of startups over the years, we’re here to convince you that a more measured approach is often far more effective in the long run – and this comes in the form of a minimum viable product (MVP).
Introducing the… most basic version of your app
A MVP is a prototype which forms the most basic version of your app. It is fully usable but does not include any of the extra features that you’re thinking of incorporating (Don’t worry – these will definitely be added later). Building an MVP is focussed on getting as much user feedback as possible and using this as a basis for producing further iterations of the product, which will deliver real business value.
Why building an MVP is the right way to go
- It allows you to test your business offer early – An MVP enables you to test your value proposition out on a small sample of your target users. Because you’re presenting them with just your core offer (without any distracting extras), you’re able to test the goals that you’ve set for yourself, evaluate the qualitative feedback that you receive, get your product to market fast, and keep the costs down.
- It helps you to convince your investors – An MVP that works and has generated strong user feedback can form a highly convincing business case for investors. You can always mention the additional features that you’re looking to implement further down the line, but these are not necessary for demonstrating your product’s validity.
- It allows you to build an early user base – Because an MVP is focussed on testing, it facilitates the building of a user base from the get-go, and in doing so, might help you to get ahead of the competition. The early feedback that you get is gold dust – it might even show you that your planned, additional nice-to-have features are not what your target users are currently after. That way, you’re able to allocate your unspent budget on something that they really need.
- Reduce development costs – Fully functioning, multi-feature mobile applications take time to build and as we all know, there are costs attached to that time. For the reasons mentioned above, an MVP enables you to get the highest possible value for the shortest development time possible, therefore helping you to manage your budget sensibly.
Building an MVP – the process, and the time involved
As with most processes, it’s impossible to put an exact time frame on how long it takes to build an MVP, as much depends on the resources you have at your disposal and whether you’re looking to create it in-house or to outsource the project to an agency. But it’s realistic to assume that you can get the process completed within two months.
In a nutshell, you would usually go through the following stages:
- Workshops – this is where your core value proposition for users is validated and the most critical value that it brings to users is chosen.
- Decision on whether to continue – Sometimes, following the workshops you might decide that now is not the right time to continue with development because you want to first spend some time honing your business idea.
- UX and UI design – If you do decide to go ahead, this is when UX and UI steps in a mockups/wireframes of your product are created. These are made clickable so that the user group is able to fully test it and to give their feedback.
- Development – Once all the feedback is collected, development can begin, supported of course by testing to keep your MVP free of any bugs.
We hope that you’ve found the above explanation useful, and remember that when you’re first starting out, an all-singing, all-dancing app may actually be the enemy of your success!
Ewa Jozefkowicz, Content Marketing Manager at 10Clouds talks you through the details.
10Clouds is an international design and development company, named one of the Fastest Growing Technology Companies in Central Europe by Deloitte and Financial Times. It is on a mission to help its clients change the world through technology.