Developing powerful digital products for today’s market takes time, commitment, and attention to detail. Unfortunately, the first of these three factors is often in relatively short supply. Markets move fast and competitors are constantly convincing new customers to do business with them. Confronting this dilemma comes down to thinking out of the box a bit and bringing value to customers more quickly than traditional methods might have allowed. Enter MVP development!
What is MVP development?
Minimum viable product or “MVP” development centers on the creation of a streamlined digital product designed to immediately capture consumer interest and generate profits. Unlike traditional development strategies, MVP development does not regard the first product as perfect upon release. In fact, all possible assumptions about a product’s design are minimized through this approach. Instead, a product with just the features needed to get positive results is put together and further enhanced over time.
Why does MVP development matter?
The main benefits of MVP development are the time and cost savings it can bring, but the process helps in many more ways. Here are a few of the main reasons devs and team leaders everywhere should consider MVP development:
- An MVP makes it possible for your team to gauge user interest long before finishing a full-featured product build.
- MVPs shorten initial development time (and spend) considerably.
- Your MVP can pull in profits from the moment it is first launched.
Of course, the benefits listed above are all but unreachable if you fall into any of the pitfalls that plague so many dev teams. Mistakes made while fleshing out an MVP can have catastrophic consequences on your business’s survival. You should first learn what to avoid while working on your MVP before you start putting it together.
MVP development mistakes to avoid
Each of the mistakes mentioned below carries the potential to completely derail your MVP development efforts. Thankfully, these mistakes are fairly easy to avoid once you know what they are.
1. Too many features
Clarity and focus are critical when you set about developing an MVP. A lack of clarity on what your product actually needs to do and who it’s meant to appeal to can quickly cause your team to overextend. This translates directly to overspending and taking much longer to complete initial development. A lack of focus on your product’s core features can also fluff up its scope, leading to feature inclusions that simply don’t matter and may even make it less attractive to your intended audience.
2. Lack of prototyping
Many teams make the mistake of assuming minimum viable products require no working prototypes before being pushed out to the public. Others travel even further in the wrong direction and assume the two concepts are interchangeable. Unfortunately, this mistake can result in irreparable damage to your brand image if things go wrong with your initial build. Prototyping helps avoid this by emphasizing the actual viability of your MVP before it reaches the market.
3. Targeting the wrong user segment
There’s no use trying to sell a great product to a group of people who don’t want or need it. Instead of making this major mistake and jeopardizing your business model, you should first validate the market demand for your proposed product and proceed only if there’s enough demand for your product to thrive. This involves interviewing your target customers and carefully analyzing the niche for its potential before putting any code together.
4. Choosing an unsustainable business model
Even a magnificent MVP targeting the perfect audience will produce poor profits if your business model just doesn’t make sense. Pricing can be anything from too high to too inflexible—the result remains the same: poor sales, low profits, and underperformance at market. Your product might benefit from a subscription-based pricing model or tiered offerings for different types of customers. Choosing the model that can make your product a success involves learning as much as possible about potential customers and catering to their actual interests.
5. Waiting too long or “until it’s perfect”
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism. Plucking out potential problems before you drop your fledgling product out of the nest may seem like the right thing to do, but there is such a thing as doing too much too soon.
Working under the assumption that you can create a perfect product right out of the gate is a recipe for disappointment and disaster, neither of which are particularly appetizing. Without actual feedback from living, breathing customers, your assumptions are little more than educated guesses, and your “perfect” product (should you ever succeed in completing it) could prove to be significantly more flawed than you could ever have foreseen. Planning to make mistakes and adjust iteratively to feedback is a much more practical approach to development than pushing for perfection from the start.
Simplify MVP development
MVP development involves many moving parts, but it doesn’t need to be a slog from start to finish. Your MVP development process can go as smoothly as you are willing to allow it to, especially when you have the right guidance to get you from concept to launch. To learn more about MVP development and how your team can succeed at it, have a look at our ebook on the subject.