Minimum Viable Product. The Art of Startup Success Prediction

Business trends are continually changing in the IT-industry. This is why developers all over the world go agile. They need to stay flexible to cope with market volatility. Information technology segment evolves at the insane speed, and countless promising startups fail before the actual launch. They simply don’t manage to keep their head above the water with the current market demand trend.

Such startups need a tool to verify their business ideas. They need to find out whether their concepts are successful or not before too many resources are spent. They need a minimum viable product.

Minimum Viable Product Relevance: Does Your Business Need It?

That is a fair question. The fact that an MVP is a popular concept in the agile development right now doesn’t mean you have to build yours. Let’s figure out the key indicators of the minimum viable product relevance for your business.

Here are the points to take into account when deciding on an MVP development:

Project size. If you feel like your team won’t be able to launch the first completed version of your product in a couple of weeks or month, this is a serious project. Always remember about the nowadays market volatility and the vital importance of time to market;
Project niche. If you are building a truly revolutionary app, it’s close to impossible to say for sure whether your project is going to succeed. You need a tool to validate your idea;
Project budget. Many ambitious startups can’t make it to the end because of the lack of funding or underestimated budget needs. This is where affordable iterative solutions come in handy.

If any of these points describes your case, you most likely need a minimum viable product.

Minimum Viable Product: the Whys and Hows

Minimum viable product is the primitive prototype of your actual product. It’s designed to perform only the core task of your software without any complementary functionality. You iteratively improve your MVP till it receives a status of finished and refined software. The whole idea of MVP development is to show users what your product is capable of without spending a fortune on a fully-featured app.

Now, although the idea of a minimum viable product may seem obvious, there are numerous cases of people considering all unfinished apps as MVPs. This is incorrect. Let’s discover the key elements of a proper minimum viable product design and then develop an approach to building yours.

MVP Functionality: Focus on Primary Feature

Imagine the following situation: you are building a car, by yourself. A quite complex task, isn’t it? You need to start with something and then iteratively improve your results. Now, which part would you start with?

You may be surprised, but the majority of people offers to start from the engine. What we really want to begin from is wheels. Here’s the thing: the core functionality of a car is to move. You can move a car without an engine, but it won’t be a piece of cake to do so without wheels.

If you are working on the payment app MVP, let users send money. If you are developing a social network MVP, let users post their content. Always keep in mind what is the principal purpose of your product and don’t let complementary functionality distract you.

MVP Launch: the Rawer the Better

MVP software development aims to launch a prototype as soon as it is practically possible. Minimum viable product is integral to timely user data gathering. Sooner you release it, the more information you accumulate over time.

It is okay to feel that your MVP is raw. On the other hand, if it feels like your minimum viable product is completely ready for the launch, you may be releasing it too late. Don’t wait for too long and make it happen ASAP.

Minimum Viable Product Development: Approaches and Success Cases

Now that we know the MVP design principles, let’s consider real-life cases of successful minimum viable products and learn from their experience.

Zappos MVP: Dropshipping That Turned Into $2 Billion Annual Revenue

An online shoe store isn’t an innovation nowadays. But it was one back in 1999, when Nick Swinmurn, the founder of Zappos, launched his business. It was far from clear whether customers would purchase shoes online. Nick needed a way to find this out. Nick needed an MVP to validate his idea.

He decided to make a primitive website and place products from his local mall there. Nick simply took pictures of shoes from the store and posted them on his platform. As soon as somebody bought a pair, he purchased the ordered product from the local store and sent it to the customer.

Is this product minimum? Without a doubt, it took Nick almost nothing to launch a website, as he didn’t purchase shoes in advance. Is this product viable? You bet, it worked great, showed the market demand for online shoe retailer, and validated the founder’s idea. Amazon acquired Zappos in 2009 for $850 million, which started from the dropshipping prototype.

Uber MVP: Start Plain, Go Universal

Back in 2010 when Uber launched, this app provided very basic functionality. The primary objective of Uber was to minify cab costs by connecting customers and drivers. Uber cut out the middleman and offered a credit card payment gateway.

As you see, it brought simple yet innovative functionality. Uber app confirmed the market demand and opened new perspectives for its founders. That’s what a minimum viable product is for. That’s what turns a primitive app into one of the most successful startups in the human history.

Spotify MVP: Just Let Them Listen

Spotify beta launched in 2009. The founders wanted to understand how much would users appreciate quality music streaming experience. They’ve built the simple landing page and the desktop app. No smart recommendation, no additional features you can find in nowadays Spotify. You could listen to music, and that was quite it.

Spotify turned out to be a huge success, as its founders had enough time to handle the music licensing issues while gathering priceless feedback from early users and analyzing the concept test results. This case shows how minimum viable product allows you to move forward even when you can’t say for sure whether your idea is going to work.

Groupon MVP: Begin Manual, Grow Sophisticated

Groupon business started as a WordPress website. Groupon founder posted deals there on a daily basis. As the demand grew, he started creating manual PDFs and sending hot deals to customers from his personal email.

Groupon founder spent nothing on a sophisticated functionality before the idea validation, as he did the job by hand. This allowed him not to waste all budget and to test out his concept in the real-world market conditions.

The Bottom Line

Minimum viable product is not a success elixir. It is a marketing tool to make sure people will appreciate your idea or to stop wasting money on the project they are not interested in. Make sure to implement an MVP techniques in your business to secure success if you are working on the agile startup. Don’t forget about the MVP design rules to achieve the best cost-efficiency and time to market.

If you need professional assistance in bringing your minimum viable product to life, drop us a line. We have extensive expertise in MVP development here at Gravum. Outsource software development of your lean startup to us, maximize your MVP success chances. Contact us today and see your business grow.