A Guide to MVP Development for Startups: Accelerating Your Time to Market
For startups, a product launch is a lynchpin in your company’s history and an early indicator of success. Thus, a strong product development process is key, even more so in the early stages of your business.
Whether you are building a product, web app, mobile app, or another type of software service, time to market is critical. Creating an MVP — a minimum viable product — can help accelerate the software development process in a variety of ways so you can launch more quickly.
What Is MVP Development?
MVP development is a strategy to create a version of a new product with the core features that will satisfy early adopters. These early adopters become your test group. Then, by gathering real-world feedback, you can refine your business ideas and evolve your product.
Rather than launching a final product, you are constantly assessing what your target audience needs, iterating new ideas, and updating as you go along. This optimizes the agile app development process by integrating DevOps strategies for continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) tactics.
When you develop an MVP, the goal is to bring your product or service from ideation to commercialization as quickly as possible while your development team continues to iterate and improve your product.
The benefits of an MVP development strategy include:
- Faster time to market
- Acquire early adopters to help refine product development
- Gather real-world feedback
- Test and validate use cases
- Attract early investors
- More budget-friendly
The MVP Product Development Process
As you develop a product and build an MVP, there’s a process. MVP product development demands the right resources to support the software development process.
Ideation is the process of creatively thinking through business problems to develop solutions. Startup ideas are identified and researched until the team can determine whether ideas are viable and worth pursuing.
Taking something from idea to product is another crucial step. This requires defining and refining how the product will operate.
This discovery phase should include market research, business analysis, and the development of use cases or scenarios. In simple terms, the goal is to answer the question: what will the product do?
Startups also need to determine the estimated costs and potential revenue and outline a basic low-fidelity design, usually in the form of storyboards. The product development team must agree on a commercialization model, such as subscription, freeware, licensing, etc.
The next phase is to create more high-fidelity prototypes to illustrate how the system should operate. This involves creating wireframes and screen flows and working on backend development to support the proposed system.
Personas should be developed as you continue to define the user experience. Early focus group testing across use cases should be conducted to continue idea validation.
With initial feedback in hand, a detailed design process can begin. In this phase, development teams are making decisions about how the MVP product is going to be built, including application design and application architecture.
Each stage of the design should be thoroughly documented so that it can be referenced (and, if necessary, adjusted) during the build and validation phase.
Build & Validation
As you can see, there’s a lot of work upfront before you start to build the MVP product. Without laying the groundwork of the previous steps, the build may deviate from your product vision or fail to serve your target market.
It’s only after these steps are taken that you should move to the build and validation step. Here, you execute the detailed design, typically in phases. This stage must be iterative as your team compares the build against your product vision; the detailed design is likely to change as you learn through the process of building, and changes in one phase can domino into the others.
In practice, development teams are writing the code as testers produce test cases, ultimately culminating in a working version of the MVP product.
Commercialization involves the process of incrementally releasing the product, from alpha testers internally to beta testers outside the organization to early adopters to a more general audience. At each step, additional feedback is gathered for further development.
For many startups, there is never really a final product. Feedback loops continue to produce new ideas or product improvements that continue to be refined and developed as you move on from a minimum viable product to a more robust product.
Ongoing development support should be factored into the planning to provide a roadmap for how the product will scale over time while continuing to optimize the backend. As the user base grows, you need to scale your capacity and product support efficiently to satisfy your users.
Why You Need a Partner for MVP Development
The MVP development process can be especially challenging for startups because it requires many different skill sets, some of which may require niche expertise. Startups often don’t have all the resources available to fill every skill gap. A long hiring process can slow things down when getting to market quickly is essential.
To successfully execute an MVP strategy, startups should consider working with a trusted partner that can either fill in the skill gaps with outside expertise or help support the entire development lifecycle.
The Benefits of an MVP Development Company
When you work with an MVP development company as a partner, you can significantly accelerate the time to market.
The benefits of partnering with a company specializing in MVP development include:
- Faster development cycles
- No waiting to hire — you can get started with a team immediately
- Specialized software developers to fill skills gaps
- Flexibility to adapt to changing development needs
- Proven methods to accelerate MVP product development
When you work with KMS Technology, for example, you are working with a proven partner that has extensive product development experience and can help guide you through the entire software development process or help with expertise and staffing in key areas.
Accelerate Your MVP Product Development
KMS Technology has proven experience with internal MVP product development that’s resulted in exits for highly successful companies, such as Kobiton and Katalon. With a full lineup of software engineering, technology consulting, and digital operations, KMS can help accelerate MVP development for startups for faster time to market and more successful long-term results.
We can help fill skill gaps to maximize your product development while minimizing your development timeline for your custom MVP.
At KMS, we don’t just build software, we build software companies.
Get in touch today and let us show you how we can help.