Why are MVPs important for software development projects?

Why are MVPs important for software development projects?

Software development projects can take several thousands of hours to complete. They involve significant investments of both time and money from investors and skilled programmers. Naturally, technology leaders need these investments to pay off in the end. The only way to know if an application will succeed is to have end users try it out before it gets mass-produced and utilized in the primary marketplace.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a popular business model in the tech industry. A company uses this model to license their software to end-users through a subscription-based service.

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Why is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Important for Software Development?

MVP means minimum viable product. The term was coined in Eric Ries’ book entitled “Lean Startup.” When software developers create a program for the first time, it is not the final product sold to consumers. The software development process goes through a series of cycles. Each cycle allows programmers to have third parties test the programs to determine the user experience and quality level.

What Is an MVP in Software Development?

When an enterprise software development team has an idea for a new application, they need to plan for the first development cycle. It is the cycle where an MVP is created. Creating a MVP is an essential practice for developers. It is a product with the minimum number of necessary features needed to represent their ideas and vision. There is a much smaller monetary investment made into the MVP because it is part of the testing phase of application development.

Remember that it is not the final product. The MVP will have fewer features than the final product. Developers select a sample of target consumers to test out the early version. Their user feedback gives them the insight for what to improve and which features to add or subtract.

Successful project planning revolves around precision. A MVP makes it easier to structure and organize the project plan with the best steps to ensure a successful outcome.

Why Build an MVP for a Software Development Project?

An MVP is like the mid-point of a software development project. It comes after the planning and early development stages, but before the final product stage. Organizations have the opportunity to test the product on the market and learn what users think about it.

Defines the Direction for the Design

The target audience guides the direction of the application design. They reveal what they want to see and not see in the design. Programmers can use this information to guide the project down the right path.

Validates the Functionality of Features

Software features always feel different to end-users. It allows them to test the functionality of the features and see if they encounter any issues. If some of the features receive bug reports or malfunctions, the dev team can work to fix those problems before the next release of the application.

Tests the Demand for a Unique Set of Features

Every application has a unique set of features meant to impress its users. These features require vigorous testing to ensure they satisfy the end goal of the developers.

Do users have a higher demand for these features? Do they seek other features not included? Once it is discovered how well the features are perceived, dev teams can begin to make the necessary additions or adjustments during the next cycle of the MVP development process.

Improves the Precision of Project Planning

Successful project planning revolves around precision. A MVP makes it easier to structure and organize the project plan with the best steps to ensure a successful outcome.

Steps to Developing an Effective MVP

Developing an effective MVP requires careful planning and teamwork. Work cannot begin without having an initial concept of the product needing to be developed. Determine what you want to make and why. What is the end goal? How will the product benefit consumers?

Below are the five key steps to develop an effective minimum viable product.

Marketing Research and Analysis

Is there a lot of demand for the product in the current marketplace? Research the market thoroughly to find out the wants and needs of the target audience. Visit social media groups or message boards and conduct polls and surveys to find out what people want within the niche. Research the competition and see what hot items they are selling. Conduct focus groups with end users and management. It may take weeks or months to perform this research. However, it is the crucial step of the development process.

Share/Express Your Idea

The product needs to benefit the target audience. What problem will the product solve? Would people actually pay money for it? How will it benefit your organization? You need to build a quality product with value. Do not produce a carbon copy of something else. Develop something original and creative that people will be quick to purchase or benefit your organization.

Design Process and User Flow

When you understand the needs of the users and key features and functionality the platform must include, the next step is to plan out the design process and user flow. Think about each event the user experiences, starting from when they open the application to when they close it. Put yourself in the shoes of the user. How can you make the application more user-friendly?

Forget about unnecessary features and designs. Focus on coding the essential functions that resemble the essence of the application. The key is to show the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. This can be accomplished in wireframes and prototyping software such as Figma, Adobe XD, and InVision Studio, among others.

List All Project Features

What are all the necessary features for the project? New developers tend to go overboard with their set of features. More is not always better because it may make the program more difficult to use. Make a list of all the features that will allow the application to meet its objective. Some features are always more important than others. Rank each feature based on its priority level: low, medium, and high. When you know which features are the most important, you can start by prioritizing them first for the initial prototype of your application.

Build Your MVP

Let the MVP development process begin. Have the best coders and programmers on your team get to work on the prototype. Make sure it satisfies all the needs of the target audience. Avoid making the prototype a low-quality product. The idea is to impress the target audience. It is possible the prototype may become the final product if the audience is completely satisfied.

The Benefits of a Minimum Viable Product in Software Development

Are you still questioning whether to use an MVP in software development? Below are the top five benefits of MVP development in the software creation process.

Convincing Stakeholders and Attracting Investors

Stakeholders represent the investors, customers, programmers, publishers, and everyone else associated with the application in some way. They all need to be convinced that the project is worth the time, effort, and money. MVP development is the best way to make that happen.

Attracting investors or securing a development budget is particularly important. You may need to secure a significant amount of money to add the innovative features your stakeholders want included in the application. If you do not have the money, you will have to show the stakeholders why they should lend you the money or secure the internal budget to move the project forward. It is essential to impress them with a high-quality prototype.

Increasing the Cost-Efficiency of the Project

It is counterproductive developing a product with unwanted features. Without a well thought out MVP, you will waste time and money building an application that no one wants. User feedback increases the cost-efficiency of the product. It informs you of the necessary changes to make without wondering or assuming anything. This allows you to focus your attention on perfecting the features you know matter the most to customers.

Accelerating the Development Process

Follow the advice of your end-users and adjust your plan accordingly. When you know what your customers want, it greatly accelerates the development process of the final application.

Reducing Errors

Avoid a final product with errors. The feedback you receive during the MVP development process will help reduce mistakes along the way. This avoids having to rework the application after the final product has already been released. Fostering Relationships with Prospective Customers. Application development projects offer the chance to foster relationships with prospective customers. By the time the final product is released, many of your prospective customers or end-users will be familiar with the application. As a result, it will not take much to convince them to utilize the application.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the MVP in startups?

The MVP allows application startups to move along quickly. The goal should be to deliver the application to your customers as fast as possible. Once you receive their feedback and suggestions, you can use that information to produce a better product in the succeeding development cycle.

What is an MVP in project management?

The MVP is used in project management for agile projects. When you have to manage a large and sophisticated project, it is better to break it up into multiple phases. Each phase requires the end-users to test the product and provide feedback. As a project manager, you receive the feedback and reiterate it to your team. Collaboration between the project management and team is essential for a successful project.

What is an MVP in SaaS?

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a popular business model in the tech industry. A company uses this model to license their software to end-users through a subscription-based service. The application typically gets hosted on a cloud server, so the end-users do not need to download the application.  Instead, they can simply utilize the application directly from the cloud hosting server. The MVP development process can be applied to the SaaS business model. Ask prospective customers to test the SaaS product on their computers and/or mobile devices to see if it runs fine and delivers everything they want.