MVP Development: Process, Benefits, Types, Setup & Cost
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MVP stands for a minimum viable product. It is a particular kind of development technique, a ready-to-release application with essential yet limited functionality. MVP’s are used to test out business ideas, find a suitable business model, gather user feedback, forecast future profit, and get investments.
MVP software develops sufficient features to test the main hypotheses, and the complete feature set is designed and developed once feedback from the product’s initial users has been considered after the first version release. Our company has been developing MVPs for startups and enterprises dozens of times. You can see examples of MVP products in our portfolio.
Ensuring a product’s viability is probably the most vital aspect of the MVP development process. It’s equally important for startups, as businesses with limited resources and budget need to test their ideas, and for large companies in their R&D departments to test new products before full-scale product launch.
The reason why many businesses and startups fail isn’t that their ideas for products are imperfect, but rather that they don't entirely meet what customers are looking for. Here’s why MVP product development is highly important. Sometimes the product needs just a little rework for it to pull ahead of the competition. Thus, MVP development helps to know in advance whether your future product will pull the market or how to make a product that won’t fail.
In this article you’ll learn how to develop an MVP, the cost to build an MVP, team composition, and the benefits of MVP development for startups and enterprises from more than seven years of our successful MVP and product development experience.
Why most startups fail with their MVPs
You might think that MVP is not worth the investment if you are planning to launch the full functionality of your product. Or you might be 100% sure that your idea will fit the users’ needs and distinguish it from the competitors. But almost 90% of all new startups fail under the newest SmallBiz Trends research. So, let’s cover the most widespread reasons on why this happens:
Lack of research
First reason as to why startups fail with MVPs is that they skip the discovery and concepting stages. Discovery phase of the product helps to analyze the market, create the product's concept, build a roadmap, and design a prototype. However, oftentimes businesses decide to omit this important stage of developing an MVP and don’t analyze the market enough struggling to find the promising niche.
Lack of skilled human resources
The second reason for startup failure is the lack of experienced professionals, particularly in the development field. Sometimes, because the budget might be tight, it’s hard to hire experienced developers. Another reason might be that due to the lack of specific knowledge and experience in development details, startups tend to mishire specialists.
Incorrect choice of tech stack
The third reason is tightly connected to the second one – due to the lack of professionals experienced in specific fields, startups might make a wrong choice when deciding on the tech stack they use for their MVP. This may lead to the skyrocketing price of the whole development and make their MVP too expensive to support.
Lack of development steps
Sometimes, due to tight budgets, limited time frame, or lack of product development experience, businesses may skip such important stages of the development process as QA and software architecture. However, it can lead to critical errors, profit loss and even inability to release MVP.
How we set up the MVP development process
Let’s examine the usual MVP development process so that you have some understanding of the basics:
1. We provide an audit of an existing idea or a product
MVP product development is all about introducing those values to people to get their honest reactions. We outline those ideas, and then develop a viable MVP based on them. The question we answer at this stage is what needs the product fulfills or what problem it solves. That’s why our business analysts analyze the TAM (total addressable market), PAM (potential available market), competition, and market size.
2. We provide business requirements documentation
A business requirements document describes the critical activities of MVP development services that must be performed to meet the organizational objectives. It details the business solution for a project including the documentation of customer needs and expectations. The BRD usually contains agreement with stakeholders, provides a basic tech stack and roadmap of the development process, and describes what customer/business needs will be met by the solution. The BRD is important because it is the foundation for all subsequent project deliverables, describing what the system would look like from a business perspective.
3. We provide software architecture
Software architecture is an essential part of the MVP development process. It plays a significant role in how to design, make, sell, use, and support a new product. Put simply, it’s the strategy of mapping the function to form, making redundancies more apparent and better expressing the relationships between different features.
4. We develop a product roadmap
Once we’ve defined all of the needed elements and features, we determine their scope for the initial version of the product and create a product roadmap. A roadmap aims to communicate a product strategy and put product plans into action. It’s a guiding strategy document mapping out the vision and direction of product offerings over time.
5. We build and handover ready MVP to test out specific set of features
Once we’ve determined the key features, learned about pressing market needs, created a roadmap and business requirements documentation, we can create an MVP prototype with which we’ll start to gather feedback. The prototype should not be of poor quality: it should satisfy the user, even if certain elements are being held back. The product should be easy to use, visually appealing, and it should satisfy the main “pain point” that justifies its existence.
MVP development cost
Costs of MVP development for startups and enterprises depend on many inputs:
- product complexity,
- and time frame.
The number of members in a development team can also increase or decrease the price. You will typically need the following employees in a team:
- 1 Project Manager
- 1~2 UI/UX Designer(s)
- 1~2 Android/iOS Developer(s)
- 1 Frontend Developer
- 1 Back-end Developer
- 1 Analyst
What about the details of the complete MVP development and cost breakdown by stages? You can find information about the time and price for each stage of app development below. And you can understand the required budget and timing of your project.
1. Estimation, Research & UI/UX design
Time: 280 hours
Cost: $8 400
The development process always starts with the discovery phase. That is when a general overview of the product, its steps, and features will be discussed. We study your requirements, needs, and wishes for your project. Then our company creates a list of items for analysis.
We collect all the necessary data and process it to find patterns that are relevant to your expectations. And our company approves with you all details of your future MVP product.
After business analysis, there will be wireframing and prototyping. This stage is devoted to UX design, understanding the target audience, and creating user journeys and flows. The UX deliverables will be hi-fi wireframes and low-fi prototypes. Once the client has agreed to the prototype, that's when UI design starts.
Time: 640 hours
Cost: $25 600
Depending on its main purpose, you'll decide what technologies to use to implement your features. We together figure out what database to use and also what program languages and CRM. It's also critical to find out the best solution for your app realization to meet your timeline and budget, like using APIs integrations, SDKs, or building features from scratch as well.
3. Testing & Launch
Time: 240 hours
Cost: $6 480
The development stage happens along with continuous testing run by QA engineers – we do many different tests to check if everything works correctly in your application. Our team corrects errors if they occur. Hence, now you should get a clear understanding of MVP app development.
4. Creating technical documentation
Time: 40 hours
Cost: $1 600
The company's IT specialists create a document that contains all the necessary information about your application.
Assuming that your app is not overly complex and overflowing with features, it is expected that it will cost from $25,000 to $45,000.
However, if you want your app to contain a video conferencing feature, you shouldn’t spend time and money on pricey and time-consuming third-party integrations when working with us. We’ve developed our own video conferencing engine VidRTC. VidRTC is a customizable engine that is used for internal and external business communications. It can support basic features such as video calls, calendars, scheduling, and text messaging. VidRTC is a cost-effective, time-saving, and ready-to-use multipurpose tool which costs only $10 000.
Benefits of building an MVP
Starting the product development, you should keep in mind that most of the major reasons for product failures can be resolved by building an MVP before the release of the entire functional product. Here are the main MVP benefits for business:
Test your product in real market conditions
The MVP is almost all about research. It gives the opportunity to gather the necessary information to start the development process, then to enter the real market and field-test your research data. With the MVP development process you can define your target audience and observe how your potential customers react to your product’s concept in practice.
You can also learn whether the product’s features will truly solve an existing problem that your target user has. In marketing, this is sometimes called a “pain point.”
MVP development also provides the opportunity to expertise from experienced professionals, especially if you decide to hire MVP developers skilled in the industry you aim to operate.
It is undoubtedly the most significant advantage of a minimum viable product. That is because you’re not sinking a great deal of money into the idea before you have any real knowledge of how the public is going to react to it.
The MVP method ensures that the product is going to be viable once it hits the market. It is a way of being sure beyond a reasonable doubt that users are going to find it appealing which makes it almost entirely risk-free.
Minimum time to market release
This is another reason that this method has caught on so much in the modern business world. If you are executing this technique correctly, you can get your product out there in a much shorter time. The development process is streamlined because you’re incorporating feedback each step of the way.
Detailed software documentation with product roadmap
If working with the top-notch specialists with hands-on experience in your chosen industry, not only will you get the tested working MVP with market and competitors’ analysis, but also the detailed software documentation with product roadmap and a complete picture of your product.
MVT Types That We Build
Based on our more than seven years of successful experience in developing products of various complexity in multiple industries, we always suggest our clients start their development journey with an MVP. Here are several examples of MVPs we’ve created:
Parta app is an audio and video-conferencing solution that have a set of key features, such as:
- Private calls;
- Video rooms;
- Room moderation;
- AI-generated news feed;
- Gifts and donates.
We put much effort into creating a social media network app during the development process. Our team managed to deliver MVP in three months using new technologies to cope with the complexity of the app development and provide the client with a working, competitive application. However, using our pre-developed video conferencing engine VidRTC made our job much easier.
As a result, the list of technologies we used to develop a video conferencing solution for Parta Social consists of VidRTC, MediaSoup, React Native, Redux, Node.JS, AWS, and GraphQL.
The Locum App is a staffing platform for pharmacies and pharmacists. Widely used in the pharma industry, this app streamlines and automates the recruiting process in the UK pharmaceutical market.
Our development team was faced with the challenge of building an online MVV application that should solve the needs of both parties – applicants and employers.
Development of the application works effectively for both parties with two separate user flows. The application has a different admin panel depending on the flow, in-app messaging, custom notifications sent when the job is posted, and job sharing features — out of the app.
Dollar Shave Club
Softermii development team has created an MVP for Android version of the eCommerce app Dollar Shave Club. It provides men with personalized packages and delivery of razor blades, handles, aftershaves, and other male shaving products. However, the MVP version was a mono product e-shop with such features as:
- Buying shaving products in 1 click
- Scanning of a credit card for payment
- Sending a gift to the user's male friends using the mobile app
We A/B tested an MVP version to secure great performance results across all devices and social user groups. And our dedicated team helped boost the Dollar Shave Club's conversion rates which was followed by further product development.
Real Estate Association
The French Real Estate Association approached us to develop a mobile app used by realtors that can provide real-time information about the properties available for purchase or rental.
We started with market research and business analysis to define the key features and tools that a platform should comprise. Later, we moved to UI/UX design and coding. We developed a mobile iOS application that allows interaction between agents and clients. It helps to improve customer satisfaction and increase the number of successful transactions.
We introduced the following features to the MVP:
- real-time visibility of the market section with the option to geolocate and filter searches to identify properties that meet customer requirements
- detailed descriptions of property added to the platform
- collaborations between agents and agencies
How to Start Developing an MVP
MVP development usually starts with an idea. In the early going, you should have a clear idea in your mind concerning the primary values you want your product to have. MVP product development is all about introducing those values to people to get their honest reactions. You must outline them, and then develop a viable MVP based on them.
And if you want to save money and work with top-notch professionals at the same time, we suggest you contact us so that we could move through to the next stages of MVP development.
Our development team at Softermii has provided full-cycle mobile and web development services to clients from various industries. We can create the MVP of any complexity and for various industries from scratch to fit your business needs and market expectations.
We have a dedicated team consisting of Project Managers, Business Analysts, UI/UX Designers, Mobile App Developers (iOS & Android), and Quality Assurance Engineers ready to move into action with your project and make your product thrive. Drop us a line to start your MVP development journey!
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a common misconception that developing MVP only works for startups and fledgling companies. Nothing is further from the truth, though. MVP is a great option for all: starting from startup to large corporations.
Whenever you are developing new products or new features for an existing product, you should always have a viable MVP program in place. This could start by releasing a basic version of a new product developed for selected groups of users to test.
Costs of MVP development for startups and enterprises depend on many inputs: product complexity, features, size, design, and time frame. Assuming that your app is not overly complex and overflowing with features, it is expected that it will cost from $25,000 to $45,000.
However, if you want your app to contain video conferencing feature, you shouldn’t spend time and money for pricey and time consuming third-party integrations when working with us. We’ve developed our own video conferencing engine VidRTC. VidRTC is a customizable engine that is used for internal and external business communications. It can support basic features such as video calls, calendars, scheduling, and text messaging. VidRTC is cost-effective, time-saving and ready-to-use multipurpose tool which costs only from $10 000.
Major reasons for product failures can be resolved with building MVP before the release of the entire functional product as the MVP benefits for business are undeniable. Main benefits are:
- Viable product/risk-free application
- Minimum time to market release
- Test your product in real market conditions
- Early feedback
- Possible investments
- Detailed software documentation with product roadmap
- Market analysis, crash test, and expertise from experienced professionals
If the startup decides to develop an MVP version, there’s always a risk of mishiring due to lack of knowledge in particular fields, industries and processes. That’s why we suggest hiring a dedicated MVP development team with hands-on experience in needed areas. You will typically need the following employees in a team:
- 1 Project Manager
- 1~2 UI/UX Designer(s)
- 1~2 Android/iOS Developer(s)
- 1 Frontend Developer
- 1 Back-end Developer
- 1 Analyst
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