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The Value of the Right MVP Software Development Approach

Tina Lj.8 min readApr 10, 2024Business & Life
The Value of the Right MVP Software Development Approach

Almost everyone knows what MVP is, but the question is, do we know its importance?

As we have learned in the product discovery blog, nearly 30,000 new products are introduced each year, and 95% of them fail. How can we beat that statistic?

Many people skip the first step and forget to check if their product actually understands customers' pain points and needs. If you do this correctly, you can lay the foundation for a digital product transforming an industry.

In this blog post, let's see why even the most global digital products found value in simple, effective MVP and how Zappos tested the waters one shoe at a time (pun intended).

What value do you get from MVP in software development?

1. Quick validation of product market fit

The MVP software development stage is a phase where the core concept of a product is introduced to the market for the first time. This approach is great for quickly validating the product-market fit, saving businesses from investing in features that do not meet the target audience's needs.

MVP development allows for real user interactions and idea validation by focusing only on the core functionalities. This approach provides insight into whether the business idea addresses genuine pain points.

This process of gathering user feedback early in the development process ensures that the development team is on the right track before scaling the project further.

2. Cost efficiency

By prioritizing minimal viable product development, companies can significantly reduce initial costs associated with launching a new software product.

This method avoids the financial strain of building all the features at once, focusing instead on developing a product with just enough features to attract early adopters and validate a business concept. Custom MVP software development services are particularly adept at offering customized solutions that align with business goals while keeping the budget in check.

This approach makes it easier to shift focus and resources to the parts of the product that are proving to be most valuable or that need more work, as shown by what users are saying.

3. Faster time to market

One of the advantages of adopting an MVP development process is the faster time to market. Being able to launch a product quickly can be a decisive competitive edge.

MVP development services enable companies to focus on the key features necessary for launch, accelerating the development cycle.

By deploying a product early, businesses can start the cycle of feedback and iteration sooner, making it possible to refine and improve the product in alignment with actual user needs and market demand.

4. Improved focus on the core value proposition

The point of MVP software development is not just to launch a product quickly or at a lower cost but to ensure that the product carries a strong value proposition.

MVP forces teams to zero in on the product's core features that solve its users' primary problem. This enhanced focus ensures that every aspect of the MVP is dedicated to delivering customer satisfaction and addressing the specific needs of its target audience.

5. Easier to adapt and iterate

Flexibility and adaptability are benefits of the MVP development process. Since MVPs concentrate on a few features, it's easier for development teams to iterate based on user feedback without overhauling the entire product.

This iterative process is important for staying relevant and continuously improving the product to meet user expectations. In MVP development services, the ability to adapt quickly can mean the difference between a product's success and failure.

Regularly updating the MVP based on real user interactions ensures that the product evolves in a direction that is increasingly aligned with the market's needs.

6. You will build the right product for the market needs

MVP development is about more than just launching a product; it's about building the right product that fulfills market demands. By engaging early adopters and focusing on core functionalities, businesses can ensure that actual market needs guide their product development.

This market-oriented approach helps avoid the common pitfall of developing features that are not essential to the target audience. Moreover, by incorporating user feedback into the development cycle, companies can refine their products to serve their users better.

MVP software development is an effective strategy for aligning product development with market requirements and, in return, maximizing the chances of success.

Examples of MVPs throughout history in IT

Spotify’s lean launch

Spotify started with a simple idea: let people stream music instantly. At first, it was only available in some European countries and by invitation. This slow start helped Spotify handle the tech and cost challenges of streaming music while making it feel special and talked about. They used early feedback to improve, like adding offline listening and mobile access. Spotify's early version shows how starting small can lead to big success, focusing on what users really want and growing from there.

Our Head of Agile, Josip Osrečki, had a presentation at last year's Digital Labin conference about leadership and organizational constraints. He had an example of Spotify and its great success, but he reminded us that you can't copy-paste the same approach to your organization. Every organization is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. The principles of MVP must be adapted to fit the specific context and constraints of each organization rather than simply attempting to replicate another's formula for success.

As Josip said in his presentation, Spotify didn't succeed because of its model alone but because it continuously considered which model worked best for it and changed its processes and organizational scheme to adapt.

The launch of Facebook

Facebook, now a global social network, began as an MVP software development project aimed at Harvard students. Initially launched as "TheFacebook," its core functionality was simple—allowing users to create profiles, upload photos, and connect with other college students. This minimum viable product strategy had a single, compelling value proposition: exclusive social connectivity within the Harvard community.

The development team, led by Mark Zuckerberg, used this MVP to gather user feedback and quickly iterate on the platform's features.

Facebook's evolution from an MVP to a full-fledged product underscores the significance of starting small, focusing on core functionalities, and prioritizing user feedback.

Dropbox’s video MVP

Dropbox's approach to MVP development offers a twist on the concept. Instead of launching a bare-bones version of the product, Dropbox, led by Drew Houston, decided to validate its business idea with a simple demo video. This video demonstrated how Dropbox would work, showcasing its core features and how it solved the prevalent problem of file syncing across multiple devices.

This MVP video targeted potential users within the tech community, particularly on platforms like Hacker News. The response was overwhelming, with sign-ups skyrocketing from a few thousand to over 75,000 overnight.

This was achieved without a fully developed software product. This is an example of the MVP principle of validating market fit before committing to extensive development.

Airbnb’s minimum effort concept

Airbnb is a classic example of an MVP solution in the hospitality industry. The concept was simple: a basic website that allowed the founders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, to rent out air mattresses in their living room to attendees of a local conference. This initial version of Airbnb focused on the core functionality of connecting hosts who had space to rent with travelers looking for a place to stay, addressing the pain points of affordability and availability in the traditional hotel industry.

The simplicity of Airbnb’s MVP allowed for direct interaction with their target audience, enabling the founders to understand their users' needs, gather feedback, and improve the platform. This direct engagement with early adopters was crucial for refining the business model and scaling the platform to include various lodging options worldwide.

Starting with a basic but functional product can provide the foundation for building a revolutionary business. Through continuous iteration, based on user feedback and market analysis, Airbnb expanded its offering and caters to a broad spectrum of accommodation needs, firmly establishing itself in the market.

What lessons should you apply from MVP in software development

1. The importance of user feedback

Feedback helps us understand how users interact with the product, their pain points, and the features they value the most.

Successful MVPs, like those of established companies, rely on an iterative process where user feedback informs each development cycle. This approach ensures that the product remains aligned with the users' needs and expectations, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

For development teams, incorporating user feedback effectively means prioritizing changes that will have the most significant impact on the user experience and the product's market fit.

Moreover, gathering and acting upon user feedback demonstrates to potential investors and stakeholders that the product is evolving based on market demand, enhancing its viability and potential for success.

2. Find the balance between minimum and viable

One of the aspects of MVP development is striking the right balance between making a product minimum and keeping it viable. This balance ensures that the product, even in its earliest stages, offers enough value to attract users while remaining lean enough to allow for quick iterations.

The challenge lies in determining which features are essential for the MVP and which can wait for later versions of the product. A well-balanced MVP focuses on core functionalities that solve the primary problem for its target audience.

Think of it this way: It's about delivering a product that does less but does it well rather than a cluttered product with many features that don't fully meet user needs.

3. Market timing is everything with a minimum viable product

Launching an MVP is as much about timing as it is about the product itself. Entering the market at the right moment can capture the attention of early adopters and gain a competitive edge. However, the market is ever-changing, so you need to adapt quickly to new information and trends, and user feedback is paramount.

Successful MVPs often result from an agile development process that is responsive to market demands. This adaptability allows businesses to pivot their strategy or product offering in response to feedback, ensuring that the MVP remains relevant and continues to meet user needs. We know that a lot of time, agile is looked upon as a bad word, but it's important to treat agile as a philosophy, not a mere tool.

There is a fine line between sticking to a vision and being flexible enough to iterate on the product based on actual market responses.

4. Scale the product post-MVP

Moving from an MVP to a full product is a key step for any MVP development company. What you learn from the MVP helps you grow the product in a way that keeps up with more users and their needs.

Growing the product means adding new features users want, ensuring the product can handle more users and activity, and maybe even entering new areas. You should plan this growth carefully, choosing which improvements to make based on what users say, what you learn about the market, and what your main goals are.

A good growth plan also considers the tech you're using to ensure it can support growth. You might need to add more people to your development team or work with outside experts to acquire the skills you need.

What we learn from creating and refining MVPs shows how important it is to focus on users, respond to what the market wants, and plan carefully. These lessons are really valuable for any team or company that wants to make successful, needed products.

mvp development company

One size fits all doesn't work with MVP development

A real-life example of the importance of customizing MVP development comes from the early days of Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer . Initially, the founder of Zappos, Nick Swinmurn, tested the idea that customers were ready to buy shoes online (which was a revolutionary concept at the time).

Instead of building a full-fledged e-commerce platform with all the expected features, Swinmurn adopted a unique (for that time) minimum-viable product approach. He went to local shoe stores, took pictures of their inventory, and posted them online; if customers ordered a pair, he would then buy the shoes at full price from the store and ship them. This MVP may seem simple, but it effectively tested his hypothesis about online shoe sales with minimal initial investment.

No matter if you have an unpopular idea at the time, like Zappos, or something that everybody wants, employing a dedicated team for MVP development, can help maintain focus on the product's value proposition. Do not forget: just because you think something is great doesn't mean it solves the pains of your target customers.

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