What is an MVP in Software Development? (A Complete Guide)

Do you want to build software but are unsure whether it will be successful or not?

Don’t you want to waste your time, money, or efforts on a software concept?

If yes, you have landed on the right blog post.

No one wants to build a software solution which has no future or no demand in the market. However, bringing an idea to the market is always a risk.

In fact, big giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Uber never invested efforts and money in one go. They also had to go through several processes of building a full-fledged software solution. Yes, these successful software solutions were once MVPs.

But what is an MVP in software development exactly?

As a leading software development company, we understand the importance of MVP software development. This is why we curated this complete guide on MVP software development to help understand this whole concept.

Read this guide to learn the following points:

  • What does MVP mean in software development?
  • What is the purpose of an MVP in software development?
  • How to build an MVP version of the software?
  • When to develop an MPV version of the software?
  • When not to develop an MVP version of the software?

Being a leading software development company, we have curated this complete guide on an MVP development.

What is an MVP in Software Development?

MVP in software development is building a product with minimal effort and having high capabilities of growing or gaining success.

    The MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product.

  • Minimum: Your efforts will be less.
  • Viable: You have a high chance of making your software successful.
  • Product: You build a software product to test on the market.

Even developing an MVP has a purpose, and therefore, it is highly popular among startups and even enterprise-level companies.

If you are excited to find the purpose of an MVP, check the next section, where we have shared 4 purposes for developing an MVP version of your software.

What is the Purpose of an MVP in Software Development?

Let’s better understand why it is essential that you build an MVP by discussing the purposes of MVP. Then, you will get a better idea of how MVP can actually help you.

  • You build an MVP to attract early adopters to validate your software product idea when it is in its development life cycle.
  • Having an MVP will help you receive user feedback at an early stage so that you can iterate and enhance the quality of the product.
  • Developing an MVP lets you minimize software development time and effort wasted on testing your product ideas before completing a full-fledged product.
  • After achieving appropriate test results, you are able to iterate the entire development process with user feedback, ideas, and solutions.

We have understood the purpose of building a minimum viable product. But let’s understand why you need an MVP software development for your startup business.

Why do You Need an MVP Software Development?

If you are in a dilemma of understanding whether you need to build an MVP or not, then you need to check the following reasons. We have explained some of the significant reasons why you need MVP software development.

  • Save on software development costs, you can develop an MVP, which includes limited features requiring fewer resources and time.
  • Test your business project, building an MVP is a great idea, as you are able to check whether your idea is future promising or not.
  • Get your first paying customers at an early stage and implement their feedback to enhance the quality of your software, you need MVP.
  • Attract investors and make them invest money in your idea, having an MVP is the right choice, as they will be able to find a promising future in it.

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If you are convinced of the purpose of an MVP and want to know how you can build an MVP version of the software, check the next section.

How to Build an MVP Version of Software

We have explained the step-by-step process to build software from scratch. Following these 6 steps will help you build an MVP, test your business concept, and learn from the feedback.

  1. Conduct Proper Market Research on Your Software Concept

    You need to ensure that your idea meets the demands of the target audience. Therefore, at the initial stage, confirm whether your software idea will fit the market needs or not.

    To conduct market research, you need to identify your competitors and evaluate their strategies and weaknesses. You must also ensure that you offer your customers a unique value proposition.

  2. Consult an MVP Software Development Company

    Once you have evaluated essential data, it is time to put it all together and consult with an experienced and reliable software development company to discuss your MVP software development requirements.

    In this stage, you would focus on resolving all your doubts, enhancing your software idea, and deciding on the tech stack to ensure you are heading toward developing a successful solution.

  3. Validate Your Software Concept with Tech Consultants

    Even though you have discussed your doubts with the dedicated software development team, it is essential that you again validate your software concept. This is to ensure that you are making no mistakes while building an MVP version of the software.

    To validate your software concept, you can:

    • Find a problem that you want to solve with your software solution
    • Find the right target audience
    • Define the USP of the future product
    • Set validation goals
  4. Create User Flow of Your Software Concept

    Your team would create a design process to ensure that the designs are convenient for the users and are easily able to navigate your software. The user flow will make sure that nothing is missed when it comes to offering the best user experience.

    At this stage, you will also be able to determine the different stages of software development to reach the main objective. Your goals should focus on the end users and how they will interact with the software.

  5. Define the Features of Your Software

    Moving ahead, you would be required to decide on the features you want to add to the software. Then, prioritize in a way that you add only the required and essential features. To do this, you can think of the demands of users and how the decided features will help them.

    Suppose you need more help in defining features. In that case, you can categorize your software features based on their priorities, such as high-priority, medium-priority, and low-priority features.

  6. Launch Your MVP & Iterate Constantly

    So after everything is decided, build your first MVP version and make it ready to launch in the market for a successful test attempt to see how users perceive your software and find their opinions and feedback. It is the best way to make a product that your customers love.

    Therefore, you constantly need to evaluate the requirements or demands of users and see how you can prioritize the features for the next development phase of the MVP version.

    Despite having a full-proof MVP development process, there are some scenarios where your MVP can go wrong and fail. There might be different reasons for this. Therefore, we have included this topic in our guide to make you aware of such scenarios. Have a look.

Why Does an MVP Fail?

Owning a startup business and investing a lot of resources, money, and time, you would surely not want your project to fail. Therefore, it is essential that you know why an MVP fails.

  • A minimum viable product could go wrong if you lack understanding of the problems of your users or are not able to solve your users’ problems.
  • If you can’t beat your competitors by offering something new to your customers, you push your product towards failing.
  • Targeting the wrong audience for your MVP or choosing the wrong channels for doing marketing would result in MVP failure.
  • By avoiding feedback received from your early adopters, you are maximizing your chances of failure as much as possible.

Before you go on, you need to summarize nearly all the reasons for MVP failures so that you can actually keep those in mind at the time of minimum viable product creation.

Along with this, you should also be aware of when it is apt to develop an MVP version of the software. So, let’s find out such scenarios when you can create an MVP.

When to Develop an MVP Version of Your Software?

Here are a few situations for developing an MVP version for your software.

When you:

  • Have an idea or business concept and want to test it in the market to learn more about the target audience and customers’ demands
  • Are unsure about implementing specific features and want to keep on enhancing the software by testing features each time with iterative development
  • Want to launch your idea quickly in the market to gain a competitive edge over others
  • Want to develop a monetization strategy for your software by analyzing what strategy is exactly working in your favour
  • Want to test the UX and usability of software to ensure that people engage with your software longer and provide lifetime value
  • Don’t want to take risks and want to focus on crafting meaningful large-scale software by investing time, money, and effort, like Facebook and Amazon

With this, we will also discuss some scenarios when it is not ideal for building an MVP. As MVP comes with its own limitations sometimes, it is better if you know such situations beforehand.

When Not to Develop an MVP Version of Your Software?

After discussing with our experienced software developers, we have curated the list of scenarios for not developing an MVP.

When you:

  • Do not have a unique idea to offer to your users and don’t know how to solve their challenges
  • Want to integrate a lot of features into your software at the same time and build a full-fledged software
  • Choose to build low-quality software as your MVP instead of building software with a minimum feature because it could lead to tarnishing your brand in the market

We will also discuss a section where we have mentioned the top examples of software which were MVPs once. So let’s dive deeper to find these examples.

Top 5 Examples of the MVP Versions in Software Development

We are going to discuss the top MVP examples which were earlier built as minimum viable products. However, these software solutions didn’t stay MVPs for long after receiving huge compliments from their respective users. You have probably heard of these names, but you may not have known that they were MVPs once. Find out here.

Dropbox logoDropboxInitially, Dropbox started out as a demo video MVP, not a physical product. In this demo video, Dropbox began to explain the benefits of storing data in one place. Dropbox explained the core value proposition and shared the importance of sharing files. So after the launch of Dropbox, it acquired more than 1 million users just within 7 months.
Foursquare logoFoursquareWhen Foursquare was launched in 2009, it had only one feature that allowed people to check in at different locations and gain badges. Later, people really started enjoying using this feature and loved the services offered by Foursquare. This led the owners of Foursquare to create a solid user base and become a full city guide for travellers.
Airbnb logoAirbnbInitially, the problem was identified by the founders of Airbnb itself when they faced challenges in booking a hotel in San Francisco. Later, they set up mattresses in their rooms and advertised the same. It became a hit, and the founders quickly understood that this idea would be going to be successful. This is how the platform grew from there, and now, it is estimated at USD 5.99 billion and is used in more than 191 countries.
Facebook logoFacebookIn January 2004, it started as Thefacebook with minimal features, which is only used to connect with friends and families. The Facebook profiles were quite basic, with less information. However, the founders of Facebook from Harvard University realized this idea was worth expanding, and then they gradually added more complex features with time. Now, it has roughly 2.93 billion users as of the second quarter of 2023.
Amazon logoAmazonToday Amazon is successful, but it was an MVP before. Most people know that Amazon started as a platform to sell books online. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, used to purchase books directly from distributors and sell them to customers whenever he received an online order. High sales gave him a push to offer more products through his platform, and then soon he acquired a warehouse, and now, he is one of the top billionaires in the world.

We have checked some of the popular software, which was once an MVP. However, their founders and investors believed in their ideas and continued to enhance their services to make the software more successful and stand out from the crowd.

Now, let’s check some of the myths which are associated with an MVP software development and debunk them. This will help you make the right decision and build a successful MVP solution.

4 Myths About an MVP in Software Development

Apart from discussing just facts in this section, our main aim is to help you debunk some of the common misconceptions which are associated with MVP in software development.

  1. The MVP Development is Only for Startups

    No doubt that MVP is the right solution to test your ideas in the market and attract investors owning a startup business. However, this is not the case.

    Because even when you build your first version of the product, you are better able to know your target audience without investing much time and cost.

    You will be able to analyze the market to understand the market demand of the users and discover new opportunities. So yes, enterprise-level companies can also build MVPs.

  2. An MVP is a Lean Startup Methodology

    Even this is one of the most popular misconceptions that you will hear about MVP. This misconception leads enthusiasts to put technology before anything to test their ideas.

    However, the keystone of a lean startup is to validate the target audience and development. And this is why most successful products significantly focus on this.

    Facebook is one of the best examples, whose only idea was to connect college students through a platform. This was rolled out only to test the feasibility of the idea before the full software development process.

  3. A Minimum Viable Product Doesn’t Have Any Use Cases

    This is definitely not the case with minimum viable products. As an MVP has the most basic features, it helps you to pick the right set of features for your software with utmost vigilance.

    Using MVP, the right kind of use cases are created just to identify the most appropriate set of features. So definitely, an MVP has use cases.

  4. The MVP is a Great Way to Make Quick Profit

    In some situations, you might make quick profits with an MVP solution. However, this is not the basic idea of an MVP launch. The aim behind launching an MVP is just to validate your ideas.

    In this process, you might receive negative feedback from your users. But you constantly need to focus on that feedback and continue to go back to the storyboard to enhance the quality of your software.

    MVP plays a great role in designing a better product for your business that ultimately enhances the quality of your software. However, this is why it is wrong to expect quick profits from an MVP.

Want to Know How Much It Costs to Build an MVP?

Contact us with your requirements. We will validate your ideas and help you with free cost estimation and timeline.

Want to know more about the role of MVP in software development? Check the below section, where we have addressed some of the frequently asked questions related to MVPs.

FAQ About an MVP in Software Development

  1. Which are the common mistakes to avoid during the MVP development?

    Here are some common mistakes you must avoid while building an MVP version of the software.

    • Having an inadequate software development strategy
    • Adding a lot of features to the software
    • An oversized development team that leads to investing extra money
    • Considering too much feedback received by the users at a single time
  2. What is the difference between MMP and MVP?

    The minimum viable product (MVP) is a product that has sufficient features to attract early users for your software and test your business concept and enhance the software performance with an iterative development process.

    On the other hand, the minimum marketable product (MMP) is a solution that is ready for the market. Therefore, it is also known as MMF (minimum marketable feature), which aims at offering the smallest set of functionality you integrate to drive any value.

  3. How do you measure success after building software?

    Here are a few things that you can consider to measure the success of your software.

    • Check for user engagement and the pattern of their usage
    • Check for the number of downloads and uninstall rate as well
    • Percentage of active users and the ratings
    • Calculate the CAC (client acquisition cost) = money spent on the channel/users acquired through the channel

Want to Develop an MVP Version of Your Software?

This guide has helped you walk through the complete MVP development process, including the steps, purposes, examples, myths, and some FAQs. As you know the purpose and have understood MVP in software development, it will be easy for you to make the right decision.

However, if you want to take an opinion or guidance from an experienced technical consultant before developing your MVP, get in touch with our software development team. Being a top software development company, we have experience building over 300 software solutions.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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