What is Minimum Viable Product?

MVP - Minimum Viable Product, i.e. the Minimally Satisfying (user) Product, is a very simplified version of our application with only basic functionalities, which is used to verify our idea. In this article, you will learn whether it makes sense to create a product MVP, what is an MVP and what role it plays in the process of creating digital products.

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7th July 2022

Do you have to have a product to validate a startup idea?

No. You can validate an idea even without a finished product. What's more, you can also start selling a solution without a finished product. Set yourself a challenge: try to get the startup idea as far as you can without building anything. This could be getting to the stage of talking to potential customers, showing them visualisations of the finished product (still non-existent) or even selling it as a pre-sale. What do you gain from this? First of all, cheap and quick testing of an idea that customers want to pay for with real money, not promises or interest.

You can use an MVP for this purpose. What exactly is it?

Let's take an example from life - if we want to start running, we don't start by buying the best shoes and equipment, we just put on our regular old shoes and go running. We want to see if we will enjoy it. Our old shoes have thus become our MVP. Perhaps they are uncomfortable, not made for running, plus we don't have a watch with us to measure our heart rate or running speed. However, we are able to use our old shoes to check the most basic thing - whether we enjoy running and whether we want to continue our journey with the sport. So the advantage of such an MVP is to quickly check whether we like something or not, without spending a lot of financial capital on it. Often when looking at the success of start-ups such as AirBnB or Facebook, we think that their products looked impressive from the start - which was not the case at all. This is because we only got to know these products in their maturity phase. It is physically impossible, for example, to create a visually and functionally attractive application in a fortnight. Therefore, we should not be overly concerned that our product deviates significantly from our vision and expectations in the first attempt - the MVP is only the beginning of our journey with the product. The main advantages of building an MVP, therefore, are that the product can be tested in advance by real users and that the product can be developed according to real market demand and based on user feedback. The fact that our ideas about the product clash with the reality of customer feedback was not possible in a traditional business approach. Market research or surveys are not able to show the reception of our product to such an advanced degree, as the user does not interact with it directly.

How else will an MVP be useful?

1. You will be able to verify whether you have defined your target group correctly. 2. It will help you identify the most important mistakes in your assumptions about how users will use the application. 3. You will verify the product with real users who are not part of the team or close acquaintances - this is the first contact of the product with the outside world, users who will not understand the product concept before using it and will not be sympathetic to us. 4. You will relatively cheaply and quickly validate the business need for the product by focusing on a set of functionalities that are most important to the customer. 5. You will see which user expectations are met and which are not.

6. You will verify whether customers are willing to pay for your product. 7. You will discipline the startup team to focus on the most important functionalities and uses of our product. 8. You will involve users in the process of building the product. 9. You will increase credibility with potential investors by validating the business idea with real users. 10. You will reduce time spent creating functionality that consumers do not want or use.

The difference between an MVP and a prototype

Both an MVP and a prototype are ways to test our business idea. However, an MVP is a working product in its own right, unlike a prototype, which mostly mimics functionality and its only use is to gather feedback from users. A prototype is intended for testing only, and its creators do not assume that it will be used like a normal product. An MVP is, in theory, able to meet the needs of the customer and technically be prepared for long-term use in a natural way.

What to look out for when creating an MVP?

1. Focus on what the core functionality is. When building an MVP, focus on the basic idea so that, with a minimal budget, you build the right product to attract 'early users' who will leave us feedback. 2. Be prepared to collect feedback. The app should be prepared for this. The app's usage statistics should be clear and unambiguous and users should be able to rate the functionality, even in a forum, group or the app itself. 3. Minimise development costs. A shorter development time will definitely reduce the cost of creating an MVP. You will be able to use the funds you save to introduce functionality and develop the app after the feedback has been collected. Even if the solution is not polished enough, it is better to co-create it with the users than to come up with the functionality your customers need yourself. It is best to give them a voice, so that they themselves come with their problems, pointing out the shortcomings of our product. It is also worth sending an invitation to test our product to as many people as possible.

What mistakes are made when creating an MVP?

1. Limiting ourselves to a small number of undifferentiated users (e.g. a few people or companies with similar needs), which results in feedback that is not universal. 2. Testing MVPs with people who have too much knowledge of the product (e.g. members of the startup's team), making it impossible to verify that the product is intuitive and easy to use for the person seeing it for the first time. 3. Testing the MVP with people overly sympathetic to us (e.g. family or friends), who may not have the courage to give us negative comments.

How do you measure the success of an MVP?

An MVP is sufficient at the point where the founders feel that they are delivering a certain value to the users of their product. The most important thing here is to answer the question: will my product show the customer the future potential of the finished solution? Will the MVP verify my main assumptions and the problems my potential customers face? If the answer to these questions is yes, then surely the MVP is ready to be shared with the outside world. However, it is worth remembering not to leave the users alone when testing the MVP, i.e. not to send them the product or give them access to it, and then not to get back to them until a month later to collect the test results. It is advisable to observe how users use our product, asking them about their concerns or first impressions. Do not hesitate to ask them questions, discuss with them or analyse particular parts of our product in real time. Thanks to this "live" feedback, it is possible to automatically correct errors that have been identified or to implement helpful suggestions that have been made by users.

Is it worth outsourcing the creation of an MVP?

The MVP is the first real contact a product or its seed has with users, so it is good practice for the founders to have a key role in its creation, rather than an external team of specialists or another company. Ideally, the founders and first employees of a start-up should be predominantly people with a technical background who are able to take the concept and idea to the MVP stage themselves, i.e. the first "usable" version of the product. Then the question of outsourcing product development does not even arise. But what if there are no technically competent people among the originators? First of all, it is worth considering whether it is possible to test the idea in another way, e.g. by imitating the operation of the application. However, if this proves insufficient, it is worth looking for freelancers, a software house or a design agency to create an MVP for our startup. It will probably be cheaper to use freelancers, but a software house or a design studio will provide more certainty about the quality of the MVP. Outsourcing the creation of an MVP, however, comes at a cost, which the founders will have to bear out of their own pockets. Deciding to work with DevsPower, after analysing your idea, you will first receive a mock-up or prototype of your website/application. Once the initial version is ready, we start the verification process to get feedback as soon as possible and create the most satisfactory version.

How much does an MVP cost? How long does it take to create an MVP?

It is difficult to give a specific price range, especially since, in an optimal situation, the MVP is created at a very early stage of the startup's development by co-founders who do not draw a salary. Therefore, it is better to ask the question how long it should take to prepare an MVP. Here, everything will depend on the industry the startup is in and the product itself. Some software or applications can be created using open source tools, so that an MVP can be created within a week. It should also be noted that in industries that are very heavily regulated - such as the medical or financial industry - even the simplest MVP will have to comply with strict legal requirements.


The conclusion regarding MVPs is this - test, test and test again. It is a procedure that will allow us to eliminate many mistakes and stumbling blocks. Early testing is a key stage in any startup's success. There is a long way to go to become part of the mobile app industry. If the functionalities you offer fascinate people and encourage them to use your app - you will succeed. To do this, you need to plan and strategise throughout the production process. Preferably with a good partner such as DevsPower.


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