Minimum Viable Product in App Development

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One might think that clients who do not know what they want are problematic, but an equally common problem that many app development agencies often come across, comes in a form of a client who actually knows what they want and knows it very well.

Oftentimes people come to us with a great idea for an app that is well thought out with a huge list of features and functional requirements. The problem comes when the prospective client hears the price. An app of that size costs a lot, but the lack of market testing/validation deters most clients from going through with it, since the return on investment is unclear.

The way to get through this barrier is a method used by startups and large enterprises alike and is known as building an MVP or Minimum Viable Product. The concept consists of creating a fully functional app, but with slightly reduced features. In other words, some of the ‘lower priority’ functions have been delayed until the next release, with the view of capturing, engaging and learning from the market in real time.

For example, think Facebook, the first version of it certainly didn’t look like the Facebook as we know it today. They started out with a friend list and news feed and built their product from there. Uber is another example. They went to market with a great product, but I assure you, their first version didn’t include all the features and functions they had originally conceptualised and documented right at the beginning.

This development approach allows you to measure the response of the market to the solution you have provided. And not the entirety of the market actually; usually you will want to target a set group of users who will be able to see the potential of your product and the way in which it solves the given problem.

After launching the MVP, if the feedback is positive you can go forward with confidence and enhance your app with new functions and features, before going into testing phase again. Repeating this build-measure-learn process reduces the risk of investing a lot of money into a project that may not engage your target audience in the first instance. The key theory of this principle is to not eat the elephant in one go, but rather, take one bite at a time. This gives you the ability to assess if there is a possibility for long-lasting, sustainable growth from your app.

Now, somebody might say that shipping an unfinished product is not a smart entrepreneurial move and they will be right, except that we are not talking about an unfinished product. The point of MVP is to look and feel like a complete product. The user should not feel like something is missing if the MVP is built properly and adding new features and functions afterwards will only serve to improve the already built positive impression. And ultimately there is rarely a thing as a ‘finished’ product in the app-economy.

While the principle of MVP is a relatively young one, it has already taken root in the tech and business world. The ability to determine if a product will succeed before shipping its final version provides an incredibly powerful tool for entrepreneurs and is spreading at a staggering rate.

The App Team is based in Brisbane, Mooloolaba and Sydney and specialises in app development for iPad, iPhone & Android. Contact us today to find out how we can bring your app vision to life! 

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