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MVPs: The Importance of Developing Minimum Viable Products

When you scroll through your favorite mobile applications on your phone, or browse through your favorite website, it‘s easy to forget that many of them started in the same way… a simple idea that evolved over time.
Before Snapchat became the number one app for social media enthusiasts, it was the brainchild of a Stanford University deserter who rejected the internet’s status quo of permanency. The cultural phenomenon, Pokémon GO, would be nonexistent if not for combining its developer’s previously laid framework with the popular Pokémon cartoon from the mid-90s. Google Maps would not exist if the search giant’s founders had decided to pursue a school project other than creating Google.

All great applications, regardless of their purpose and design, were crafted by practicing the fundamental concept of continuous iteration, resulting in the creation of Minimum Viable Products or MVPs.

What are Minimum Viable Products?

Minimum Viable Products, commonly referred to as “MVPs,” are defined by a “development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters.” On a more basic level, it means that a piece of software is launched with the intentions of monitoring user feedback and implementing updates that improve the software later on.

Why You Should Develop with MVP in Mind.

Here are several key reasons why you should develop an MVP…

1. Reduce your likelihood of failure.

While there is no fool-proof way to avoid failure, you can minimize the likelihood of catastrophe. Cutting back on the amount of launch-day features will reduce the potential of scope creep, or the act of losing sight of a project’s original goals. Instead, you are able to focus on the needs of your intended customers and the technology you wish to provide them.

2. Promotes future growth.

If your customers enjoy your app, there’s a strong chance that they will eventually want/expect even more from what you are able to offer on day one. Adopting the MVP philosophy gives you the opportunity to impress your audience on launch day while empowering you to delight them for many updates to come. Keep in mind that the developers on today’s mobile app stores have groomed consumers to expect frequent software updates; an MVP strategy will prepare you to keep up with the competition, big or small.

3. Building a Minimum Viable Product is easier!

Even the most successful developers must deliver applications within a specified budget and timeframe. By allowing you to focus your attention on initial design and a few great features, the MVP ideology will inevitably help you get your app to market faster while spending the least amount of money.  The sooner your product is available to the public, the sooner it will begin to generate a viable revenue stream for you, thus giving you better capital to invest into future updates.

minimum viable products

MVPs are Not an Excuse to Slack Off.

By this point, you understand that MVPs embrace the “less is more” approach to developing. However, keep in mind that although Minimum Viable Products are designed to be improved upon as time goes by, they are not an excuse to release a “half-baked” piece of software.

Your MVP should be as clean and functional as possible. A sloppy first release can actually deter users from your product, while a great first effort can attract more users, thus providing a larger pool of feedback for future updates. The idea is to find the sweet spot between offering “just enough” but not the whole kit and caboodle.

The Bottom Line is…

Building a Minimum Viable Product is going to increase the chances for success on your product or project. If you want your project to succeed, avoid launching a full-featured application right out of the gate. This way, your app will have much more opportunity to grow and even thrive throughout the foreseeable future.

Tom established Swip Systems in 1995 and has been providing business automation, software development, web application, and mobile app solutions ever since. As a business owner himself, he’s aware of the challenges and what’s necessary to stay competitive, which is why he is on a mission to help business owners grow and maintain profitability through technology. Tom is also the founder of Midwest Manufacturing Leaders (MML) and a keynote speaker.

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