What Is MVP in Software Development, and How Can It Make You More Productive?

Software Development
What Is MVP in Software Development, and How Can It Make You More Productive?
Article by Sumana Ganguly
Last Updated: March 08, 2024

So, you’re on your way to developing your project. You have everything planned out, and you are looking forward to the day you can launch and introduce it to the world. Before anything else, however, you may want to consider integrating an MVP in your development process.

What is MVP in Software Development? The acronym stands for “minimum viable product,” a process in producing both hardware and software materials. Its assimilation into your method can fast-track your end-product while also considering your end-user's feedback. Find out more about it and learn the benefits of incorporating it into your operations.

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What Is the MVP in Software Development?

An MVP is functional, a step closer to your fully developed product. It is meant to showcase minimal parts of the whole, featuring enough of the finished platform that your customers can sample and experience enough to get an idea of how it will be once completed.

The process involves the production of MVPs to make the most of programming efforts, boost value, and decrease cost. This was adopted from the manufacturing process known as the Toyota Production System. It is derived from Lean Software Development (LSD), one of the many software development methodologies.

The automotive company invented the method to optimize production and minimize waste. The difference is that it’s a non-tangible result. In developing software, a viable sample is just as crucial to assessing your target user’s response to the final product.

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Additionally, an MVP derives from the “Build, Measure, Learn” model, which is based on crafting an operational sample product that you can present to potential customers and gather and learn from feedback that you can use to guide your next steps.

Today, some of the most popular apps and programs started as MVPs, such as Airbnb, Dropbox, Facebook, Etsy, Spotify, Twitter and Uber. Companies looking to discover talent or invest in the next big thing also host hackathons where developers present viable output to prove their skillset and expertise.

Why Do I Need MVP in Software Development?

What makes building an MVP worth it? Investing in any project takes a lot of time, effort, and funding. This goes for the developers themselves and the financiers of the project. Setting a goal to build a viable sample product sets expectations for all parties. It can serve as a productive milestone marking the project’s progress.

An MVP allows you to connect your program with your potential customers before the final launch. By giving them a peek into how you’re progressing, you also gain insight into how they will receive part of the finished product on launch. For any negative feedback, you get the chance to shift your gears as needed and improve on your next steps.

Developers cited unclear direction (47%) and unrealistic deadlines (21.29%) as some of the biggest obstacles in a project. By integrating an MVP into your process, you can eliminate this by setting clear intentions from the get-go, along with the prospect of meaningful feedback from your potential audience.

For those looking for custom software development services, we recommend coordinating with your partner software development company to present a viable sample product midway through the project timeline.

While you can undoubtedly develop software without integrating an MVP into your process, expect to apply more updates after launch to cater to their feedback.

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What is the Process for Building an MVP?

Now that you know how integrating one can make the development process more efficient, what does the process of crafting an MVP look like?

Step #1: Pre-Production Planning

Start with the basics. Determine the foundation of your project. This is where creativity, research, and brainstorming occur for the software you will be developing. Decide on your first steps in crafting your program, how you and your team will share and delegate tasks, any metrics you will set to gauge your development progress, and how well and effective your MVP will be to your test audience.

You can also determine how you will approach the audience you will be presenting the MVP. This is part of market research, identifying precisely who your target customer is and what needs they have that your product will be addressing. Typically, you would have an idea who these would be since your program is meant to solve a problem that your customers have been experiencing.

Step #2: Testing Your Hypothesis

This is when you develop your initial product. The goal is to create the foundations for your software, each section that will function just enough to show your test audience how the end product will work. With this, you can evaluate how much your hypothesis applies appropriately to the problem you are looking to address.

Expect an adjustment period for your team as you go along while also working efficiently to build your MVP. In terms of building a demo, a prototype, and the MVP for your software, think of it as a mix of the two former items. The critical difference is the viable product is much closer to how your final product will be than a simple demo or prototype, as these two are more skeletal or experimental.

Step #3: Presenting Your MVP

Find your test audience through opt-in initiatives, either with incentives or an initial investment into your project. Some companies may opt to group the audience as closed beta testers. Some may keep it open to volunteers, while others may prefer to make it a paid experience to help fund the project and keep feedback as relevant as possible. After all, an audience who is financially invested (literally) in your project will consider their responses more carefully.

Ensure you’ve set relevant metrics to gauge your audience’s feedback. Set your questionnaires to measure responses that will help you in development moving forward, particularly as you polish your (next) MVP. Depending on how well your audience received the MVP, you will have to adjust whether to keep building onto the program you will keep testing or if you have enough data to complete the software.

Step #4: Application of Feedback

Take this chance to fine-tune your product. The point of developing an MVP is to learn precisely what your audience will think about your software, which can better guide your steps as you finalize everything. Once you’re satisfied with how much information you gathered from your test audience, you can work on finishing your project.

Not everything your test audience demands or declares is up for consideration. Determine what features to prioritize and include in the final software, depending on your vision for the project. Remember, this is your work – your solution to a problem you want to address. As user-centric as the process may have been to get to the final stages, you are the one to conclude the project and consider the parameters of a job well done.

Step #5: Launching Your Software

Launch the best possible version of your project, then work out the kinks as more users discover and experience it for themselves. The best part of today’s programming and development landscape is that you are free to update and evolve as you please. With each new group using your software, expect certain features to be added and adjusted as they provide you with feedback on how best to serve its purpose.

While building a viable product is a cyclical process meant to polish your work until it is ready for launch. It is also intended to make high-risk projects run as efficiently as possible, collecting fast input from the target audience to learn what their needs are, and then aligning this gathered data and aligning it with the solution you’re looking to present.

Expert Insights on MVP in Software Development

We asked the agency experts: “Why do you think MVP in software development matters?”

John Jung, Lead Developer at Evolve Media

“Developing a minimum viable product (MVP) is crucial in software development, as it allows teams to validate ideas quickly, gather valuable feedback from users, reduce development costs, and minimize risks associated with building a full-scale product. MVP helps [you] focus on essential features, iterate based on user input, and increase the chances of creating a successful final product."

Lucky Gobindram, General Manager at CXR.Agency

“In software development, an MVP is foundational for innovation and market alignment. It allows for real user feedback-driven refinement, ensuring resources are smartly allocated towards features that genuinely meet user needs. MVPs embody the essence of agile development, accelerating time-to-market while mitigating risks and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.”

Hari Om Tiwari, Program Manager at Promatics

“MVP accelerates product validation and market entry. By delivering a minimum set of features, MVP enables rapid user feedback, reducing development costs and time-to-market.

Early insights from actual users facilitate iterative improvements, aligning the product with evolving needs and preferences. This approach mitigates risks associated with building a full-scale product without validation, fostering adaptability and innovation. MVP's cost-efficient, user-centric methodology ensures that developers can efficiently allocate resources, prioritize essential features, and create a more targeted, successful final product.

Overall, MVP is a strategic and dynamic approach that maximizes the likelihood of user acceptance and positions the product for sustained growth in the competitive landscape.”

Christian Womack, Founder at QuestStone

“An MVP in software development is critical since it allows teams to validate core functionalities with minimal resources, gather user feedback early, and iterate rapidly. This lean approach reduces risk, focuses on essential features, and accelerates time to market, making it indispensable for successful, user-centered product development.”

Vladyslava Lesyk, Account Executive at Diffco

“MVP lets you build and test a basic version of your product. [It allows you to] see if [the product] works well and come up with ways to improve it. It could also help you get funding.”

Benefits of MVP in Software Development

The main benefit of building an MVP is receiving the initial impression from your potential customers before you complete the project and launch. MVPs benefit custom software developers the most since it is highly dependent on the client’s approval. Some things to consider should you decide to employ this method in your process:

Keep the balance between your intentions for the project and your test audience’s feedback. Remember that your goal is to provide a viable solution to your customers’ needs while also setting a standard as an industry expert.

While an MVP is meant to decrease expenses, as in any changes and shifts in gear, it’s always possible to come with additional cost. Factor these potential adjustments into your planning to be as prepared as possible.

Some developers may opt to fast-track their viable product build by starting production on it right away, which saves both time and cost. You also reach your target audience sooner and gain feedback quicker, which gives less room for uncertainty.

Having an MVP makes it easier to pitch your project to investors. Whether they get to be part of your test audience to experience the first chunk of your work or dive into it later in the process, it is a much simpler process to convince them how your vision will come to life with part of it already made.

If you're considering outsourcing software development, it's important to carefully evaluate your options and choose a reputable provider who can help bring your vision to life, including the creation of an MVP.

We’ll find qualified software development agencies for your project, for free.
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