MVP for App Development 101

By Sara Mehdi on 28th October, 2020
It’s hard to imagine how a company such as Facebook used to operate in its early days. Or how other major tech companies were in their early days. But then, we see how successful they are today but here’s the thing: even successful companies started off from scratch and sometimes even rock-bottom! The success of each business that is enjoyed in the later years, is often a result of how well they were able to get the fundamentals right.
Yes, the software industry is unique and it often doesn’t take THAT much time to create something that offers a lot of potential, validates a wide range of ideas, and still succeed in providing users with a working product. This is because the groundwork is done way before the launch of the final product… in the form of an MVP.
In fact, Minimum Viable Products or MVPs are often the beginning for many aspiring startups and have also been the first pillar of success for many of the world’s largest Internet-based companies. Amidst a huge undisputed value, MVPs introduce to the startup journey, it isn’t surprising at all to see that many big companies initially started their play with an MVP and have now since achieved massive fame and fortune and success.
So, here’s the question… how to ensure your own success with MVP development? Have you completed your plan for an MVP and created a high-fidelity prototype? The fun begins with MVP development, which is also one of the longest and most resource-intensive phase. Why? This part of app development requires the design team and programmers to sync up and begin a crossover phase – that takes the prototype from design to development!
The Right and Wrong Way to Build an MVP
The road to MVP development is relatively short and straightforward when compared to the other IT and software development projects. There are a number of things that bring the entire project crashing down. This means there is a right and wrong way to build an MVP and you HAVE to choose the right way!
What Should an MVP Do?
Ideally, an MVP should be able to deliver users the most complete experience possible, even from the most minimal set of essential features. The main idea behind an MVP is to build and market a working product that allows users to complete their goals in the fastest way possible, and then with each subsequent release of a new version, allow faster loading time and more features.
Long story short, the following is an essential MVP creation checklist that should be considered before starting your own project.
MVP Checklist
Before starting on this, go through the following questions:
  • What value (time or money) does the product offer?
  • Who will use the product?
  • What problem do you want to solve?
  • How much (and when) revenue will the product bring?
  • How are success and failure determined by you?
  • What is the product’s core functionality?
What is the right way to build an MVP?
Adopt an Agile Outlook
What is Agile? It’s a software development methodology that far surpasses traditional methods due to the high number of success rates and advantages that developers and clients can enjoy. There are a number of different methods and practices that fall under the Agile name.
This methodology was introduced in the early 90s, and since then has become the project-management method of choice for savvy software-development companies. What does Agile methodology help to do? This method assists teams in responding to the unpredictability of constructing software.
Apart from the higher project-success rate, agile also provides the developers and client with many of the following benefits:
A Quicker MVP Release
Change and redirection are common occurrences in software development, and of course, MVP development isn’t immune to this. One of the main advantages of agile is that change and redirection are expected, which makes it easier to manage
A Higher Quality Product
Any bugs or issues that appear in the development phase can be dealt with and removed straight-away. Also, obstacles can be maneuvered around more easily. In addition, new opportunities can be found and implemented to make the application perform better.
Clearer Communication & Greater Transparency
This is a soft skill that is often neglected when it comes to MVP development. In actuality, it’s just as important as any of the technical aspects of development. The Agile outlook encourages client involvement and feedback right from the start of development and promotes open channels of communication. As a result, the client is more engaged in the project and is even able to contribute ideas as well as provide direction of what they want.
Conduct Application Testing
This is VERY important. Testing is a vital part of software development, and yet is often disregarded and considered as a time-wasting activity by most clients, especially when developing their MVP. It doesn’t make sense to skip over this seemingly unnecessary step, but the urge to do so becomes higher even though the time frame associated with MVP development is only three to four months in most cases, which is a short duration. Application testing MUST be considered part of the developmental process, not as a separate task. After all, the quality of an application is only as good as its ability to pass tests.
The testing process in software development aligns with the method used to develop that software. In the agile method, application testing is a continuous process and is carried out throughout an application’s lifecycle – from the time when the first pieces of code are written to the main development phase, and right through the introduction of new features and functionalities.
This is why the main advantage of continuous application testing is that the MVP is not only developed at a faster rate but it is also released with fewer bugs.
An example of a successful MVP development is the one made by Facebook. While the original story of how Facebook began its startup journey doesn’t sound like a normal MVP fairytale, it certainly ended that way. How did it start though?
Mark Zuckerberg and three of his classmates initially started a website called Facemash, while still studying at Harvard University. The concept of the website was fairly simple – the users would be shown two pictures (side-by-side) of students and would have to choose which student was hot and which was not. The website was supposed to be a ‘for Harvard students only’ sort of thing. Unfortunately, the idea never came to fruition, even Zuckerberg and co actually went ahead and stole pictures of students from the university’s Facebook by hacking into the servers.
Even though the university had a face book for each student (books that displayed a photo of every Harvard student), the idea was to compile all of the information in one place. Unsurprisingly, the website was shut down by Harvard executives only after a few days after it was released. Zuckerberg also faced a string of charges and the website was sold for $30,201 only. Anyway, what was the MVP idea? Facebook (although back in the day it was known as thefacebook) lacked many of the services that we use today when it was launched in January 2004. The website application was originally created as a universal directory for students at Harvard University so membership was restricted to Harvard students only. However, the site became quickly popular which meant expansion wasn’t far away.
Just a few months after its release, the application was adopted by the students of three other top American universities – Yale, Columbia, and Stanford. On September 26, 2006, Facebook opened its services to everyone with a valid email address aged 13 years or older. This was the official start of the Facebook that we know and use today, although it was very different from what we are used to now.
Do you see what we see? Developing a successful MVP is possible but only when proper protocol is followed, from beginning to end. Plus, you might not have the necessary tools, resources, and methodologies to implement the strategy which suits best according to your MVP development requirements and goals. Get in touch with Alfabolt today and learn about the requirements of your app’s development.