April 7, 2023
MVP is one of the core concepts of Agile methodology. Learn more about why it plays such a significant role in software development.
Agile methodology has transformed the software development process by providing a flexible and iterative approach to product development. One of the key principles of Agile is to develop an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to quickly bring a product to market and validate assumptions about user needs and market demand. This approach has been around for quite some time. Many businesses have proven that with an MVP, you can have a successful launch and release software that addresses the audience’s needs.
In this article, we will explore what an MVP is in Agile development, why it is important, and how it can benefit your business. Whether you are a startup founder, product manager, or software engineer, understanding an MVP in Agile can help you develop better products and improve your chances of success in the market.
Let’s take a step back and explore what MVP means in general. A minimum viable product (MVP) is the very first version of a product with just enough features to satisfy core customer needs and allow for feedback for future improvements. The term was first formulated by Frank Robinson and popularized by Eric Ries with his lean development methodology. MVP development can be applied to basically every industry to test the product's viability in the market and gather feedback from early adopters to refine and improve the product further.
For software development, MVP means a piece of software that has just enough features to satisfy early users and provide feedback for further updates. The goal is to iterate and improve the app or web platform based on customer feedback until it reaches a stage where it can attract a larger customer base. MVPs are often developed using Agile methodologies, which emphasize iterative development, continuous feedback, and customer collaboration.
The MVP is an essential concept in Agile methodology since it aligns with the core values of Agile, such as customer collaboration, early and continuous delivery of valuable software, and the ability to respond to change.
An MVP also supports the principle of iterative development in Agile methodology. With each iteration, your team can refine and improve the app or website product based on customer feedback, market trends, and changing requirements. This approach ensures that the product remains relevant and valuable to customers, even as the market evolves.
Additionally, by breaking down the development process into smaller, manageable chunks, teams can identify and address issues early in the development process, reducing the risk of failure and minimizing the cost of changes.
Now that we have described why the MVP is one of the core concepts of Agile development, you might want to know how exactly it can benefit your software solution. Well, there are four main points you should consider.
By focusing on building the MVP, Agile development teams can bring a product to market faster. This helps to reduce the time it takes to get feedback from customers and validate the product idea, which is crucial to the success of any product.
MVPs are designed to be simple, which makes it easier for early adopters to provide feedback. The feedback gathered from early adopters is critical in determining the future direction of the product.
By building an MVP, software development teams can reduce the risk of investing time and resources in a product that may not be successful. The MVP helps to test the product hypothesis in the real market and provides valuable insights into what users want.
The MVP is just the starting point in the product development process. Agile development teams use customer feedback to continuously improve the product and add features based on customer needs. This helps to ensure that the final product meets the needs of the customers and is successful in the market.
Creating an MVP for a particular software solution can have its own peculiarities depending on the industry and core feature list. There are, however, some key steps that are suitable for any Agile MVP development process. Let’s take a look at them.
The first step is to identify the target audience and the problem that the app should solve. The development team conducts research to gain insight into the user's needs, pain points, and behaviors. The team can then define the most valuable features for the MVP based on this information.
Once the features have been defined, the team should prioritize them based on their importance. The development team should create a backlog of user stories that describe the features and functionalities of the MVP, and then prioritize those features. This will guide the team on what to implement first and what can't wait for future iterations.
Finally, there must be a plan and a product roadmap for MVP development. It should be broken down into sprints, each with a defined goal and a set of user stories. The team should estimate the time and effort required to develop each user story and prioritize them based on their value. They should also identify potential risks and a plan for contingencies to mitigate them.
When the actual designing and coding start, the first step is creating wireframes. Wireframes are black-and-white screens of the app that show how clear and simple its user experience design is. They can help with further prototyping. Once they are created, the team begins the development process. The development process should be iterative, with each iteration focused on delivering a working solution that meets the user's needs and provides value.
During the design and development phase, the team (whether in-house or third-party) will work closely with you, the product owner, and other stakeholders, providing regular updates on the MVP's progress and getting feedback on the product's features and functionalities. This collaboration ensures that the product meets the user's needs and expectations and provides value to the business.
Once the MVP has been developed, the team can move on to the testing and validating phase. The goal of this phase is to validate the assumptions made during the planning and development phases, test the hypotheses about the user's needs, and ensure that the product meets the user's expectations. The development team should work with the product owner and other stakeholders to define the testing criteria and set up a process for collecting user feedback.
The testing and validation phase is critical to ensure that the product provides value to the users and meets the business’s goals. It should continue even after the MVP has been launched to ensure that the product continues to meet the user's needs and expectations.
When the testing and validation phase is complete and the MVP is deemed ready for launch, it can be released to a small group of users, i.e., early adopters. These users can provide valuable insights into the product's performance and usability, which can help the development team identify areas for improvement.
The feedback collected from the initial group should be used to refine the MVP further. Once the changes have been made and the scalability is improved, you can release the MVP to a larger pool of users and see what they think about your app or website. Collecting feedback is an ongoing process and crucial to the success of the product.
We have described the main benefits of building an MVP and how to build one for your project, but are there real-life examples to back up our claims? Yes, there are. Here are some of today’s most successful businesses that started small:
Dropbox: The founders knew from the beginning that building a full-scale cloud-based file-syncing platform would be time-consuming and costly. To test the idea, they created a simple video to serve as an MVP and showed it to investors. Now, the company offers a range of cloud-based features, including personal cloud, client software, cloud storage, and file synchronization.
Airbnb: Airbnb began as an MVP with a basic webpage featuring an ad for renting an air bed. Despite the simplicity of the concept, the ad generated interest and attracted three initial guests, proving the viability of the idea. Today, Airbnb has become a leading player in the hospitality industry.
Instagram: In its MVP stage, Instagram enabled users to share photos and apply filters, serving as a simple means to gauge market interest. The app was well-received by users, leading to the development of the robust feature set we see today.
Zappos: Zappos, an online retailer founded in 1999, initially began as an MVP to test whether a shoe store without any physical location would be successful. The concept centered around the question of whether people would be willing to purchase shoes without trying them on first. Since then, the platform has experienced tremendous growth, generating over $1 billion in annual sales.
Uber: Uber’s MVP served a simple purpose—connecting iPhone owners in San Francisco with drivers who accepted credit card payments. This fulfilled Uber's primary objective of offering affordable taxi services.
Spotify: The company's primary goal was to build the best music streaming service, so they centered their MVP around the most critical function—music streaming. They developed a desktop app and conducted a closed beta test. The MVP product, along with the freemium pricing model, proved to be precisely what people wanted.
Slack: Slack's team began developing their app in late 2012, and within months, they were already using their own MVP product. Their early adoption of the MVP approach paid off, allowing them to quickly make iterations and feature enhancements to the product.
Yellow has extensive experience building MVPs for all kinds of projects. We know how to approach this part of development, how to collect and analyze feedback, and how to apply the new insights to a full-scale solution. 99% of our projects go through the MVP stage to ensure it’s exactly what users want and need.
Good software starts with an MVP. To create one, you need to select MVP features. Read the article to know how to do it.Learn more
By leveraging our expertise in software development, user experience design, and project management, we can help you ensure that the MVP is developed on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards. We will provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the MVP development process, helping you make informed decisions based on real-world data and user feedback.
If you have an idea for new software and want to test the water before full-scale development, drop us a line.
Developing an MVP with Agile methodology can provide numerous benefits to product development teams. By focusing on the minimum set of features needed to deliver value to users, teams can reduce development costs, minimize risk, and get a product to market faster. In today's fast-paced and competitive market, developing an MVP with Agile methodology can help companies gain a competitive advantage and capture early adopters.
By embracing the Agile mindset and focusing on delivering value to users, startups and product development teams can increase their chances of success in the market and develop products that truly meet the needs of their users.
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