May 26, 2020
7 Reasons Building an MVP is the Best Strategy for Your App Idea
No matter how well you've researched the market, there are always risks involved when you build a web or mobile app. You could discover after launching that your users are not interested in half of the product features or that the app doesn't fully address the most critical problem users need solved. This amounts to unhappy stakeholders and a significant waste of time and resources, as your fully-fledged app will need to be reworked to better fit market demands and alleviate user pain points.
Fortunately, building a minimum viable product (MVP) provides an alternative path to product development that allows you to avoid these common risks. Highly popularized by Eric Ries in The Lean Startup, an MVP is the most basic version of your product; it should have few features and focus solely on fulfilling one core user need. It is not a prototype, but a totally usable product trimmed down to the bare essentials. The idea is to release a fully-functioning product as soon as possible in order to let user feedback guide what new features are added. While the temptation might be strong to delay shipping your app until it has all the features and functionality you originally planned, there are very compelling reasons to go the MVP route. 1 In this post, we'll unpack some of the most important ones.
1. Reduce development costs.
Releasing a complex product with a lot of different features can turn into a very expensive mistake since user demand (or the lack thereof) can demonstrate that some of those features should be reimagined or scrapped entirely. Building an MVP, on the other hand, is a more cost-effective use of your resources because it limits development to the most crucial capabilities. After release, you can invest strategically in new features based on user data.
2. Cut down time-to-market.
Time is highly valuable in the competitive tech industry. Rather than spending a long time developing a whole host of features, the MVP strategy gets your app in front of users as soon as possible, allowing you to really leverage whatever makes your app unique.
3. Keep things simple.
Focusing your efforts on an MVP helps avoid feature creep and overcomplicated product design. An MVP centers your app on one key user need, ensuring a clean, understandable design that will be easier to expand later on.
4. Secure buy-in from investors.
Releasing an MVP allows you to test the app's viability in the market and see what parts of the product are most valuable to users. You can then use real data to demonstrate ROI and make a strong case for further development.
5. Start the learning feedback loop.
Perhaps the most useful part of the MVP process is the way it facilitates the build-measure-learn cycle. After creating an MVP, you can test your assumptions against user feedback and take what you learn to improve the product through iterative development. This keeps your approach Agile and allows you to continually adapt to what you learn from users.
6. Form relationships with customers.
As you collect feedback and continue improving your product, you can strengthen customer loyalty by catering the product to their needs. Shipping an MVP also allows you to get your app in the hands of evangelists and early adopters who can help grow your audience. 2
7. Make informed decisions.
You won't need to guess what will increase ROI or which new feature would fill the most urgent user need. Collecting feedback on an MVP gives you priceless insights on everything from where to allocate resources, how to monetize your app, or how to shape the ideal UX.
In short, building an MVP is a smart, strategic choice that will continue to pay off long after you've launched your app. At sophilabs, we help entrepreneurs determine what their MVP should look like through our tried-and-true product inception process. If you want to find out more about how we work, don't hesitate to get in touch for a free quote and consultation!
"Eric Ries – Building the Minimum Viable Product," YouTube video, 3:25, posted by Entrepreneurship.org, August 28, 2013. ↩
Suzanne Scacca, "Should You Create an MVP Before Creating An App?" Smashing Magazine, July 26, 2019. ↩