In the world of startups and entrepreneurship, there is a lot of pressure to create an MVP (minimum viable product) as soon as possible. The problem with this ‘sooner’ approach is that it often leads to a sub-par product that doesn’t have all of the features promised in the original idea.
To avoid this, entrepreneurs must take the time to create a checklist for building an MVP before they even start coding. This checklist will help them determine what features are necessary for their MVP and what features can be added later when they have more resources.
Before we jump into the checklist, let’s take a brief look at the basics of MVPs.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
An MVP is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers. It allows founders to collect feedback from users and then update the product with ideas from this feedback. The purpose of an MVP is to test whether or not there is a market for the product.
Picture Credits – Unsplash
Questions to ask yourself before building MVP
According to Michael Seibel, the CEO of Y Combinator, there are three aspects to building a lean MVP – Building quickly, limiting functionality, and appealing to a smaller section of users.
So, when you build an MVP, it is essential to ask yourself the following questions.
- What problem is the product solving?
- Who is the target audience?
- What are the core features of the product?
- What kind of feedback would you like to receive from your users?
- How will you measure the success of your MVP?
Once a founder answers these questions, they should start thinking of the steps to execute them.
Founder’s checklist to start building an MVP
A typical checklist to start building an MVP looks like the following:
Have a clear idea of the product and its purpose
Building an MVP is the first step to bringing your product into reality. When you conceived the idea for your product, you might have thought about intricate details. However, when you build an MVP, you don’t necessarily need to get into the details and aesthetics of it. It is enough to build just the essential features and functions. For that to happen, you need to have a clear idea of the product and its purpose. So, make sure you are well aware of the essence of building your product to serve its purpose.
- Be mindful of the key features of the MVP
Being mindful of the key features of an MVP will help the founders to build just the needful in the best possible way.
- It should be a small enough project to finish in a short time.
- It should have just enough features so as not to confuse potential customers.
- It should be launched as soon as possible, even if it has some bugs or flaws.
- The MVP should provide evidence of the product’s viability and convince potential investors they are backing a winner.
- Know your customer and their needs
Knowing your customers is crucial in building an MVP because it is built for them. You might have a eureka idea that might not be practically needed by the customers. So, building on a eureka idea that doesn’t serve the customer’s needs is a waste of time, resources, and money. Thereby, founders must thoroughly know their customers and their needs before building their product.
Picture Credits – Unsplash
Validate Your MVP Idea
Validating your MVP idea is a crucial step in product development. Having a great idea and believing it will succeed is not enough. It would help if you validated your idea with real users before you invest significant time and resources in developing it.
It would be best to start by defining the problem you are trying to solve for your potential customers. Then, create a prototype of how your product will solve that problem and get feedback from potential customers on whether they see value in it or not. If they do, then you can move forward with building out the entire product or service. If they don’t, you might need to go back to the drawing board and develop a new solution or pivot into an entirely different business model.
Make a prototype or product mockup
While designing the functions and features of a product as an idea, many tiny details of the product are to be developed and tested for the result. However, for an MVP release, choose the utmost vital features and functions and build a working prototype of those. An MVP is more of a mockup than a fully developed product. Therefore, build a bare minimum prototype of the product and show what it will look like.
Know the target market for your product
Before putting so much effort into building an MVP, it is essential to be well informed about the market for that particular product. Knowing the nook and corner of the market helps founders prepare for the worst. Carrying out a SWOT analysis will come in handy for founders to build their MVP.
Choose the right approach to build your MVP
- Many founders think the best way to build an MVP is to focus on the user experience. While this is not a bad strategy, it is not always the best. The right way to build your MVP depends on what you are trying to achieve and what you are trying to test.
- There are many approaches to building an MVP:
- The first approach is called a Lean Approach. This is where you build an MVP without planning and start creating the product.
- The second approach is Design Thinking, which is when you must design your product before making it.
- The third approach is called Scrum, in which you need to develop and test your MVP in short sprints to create a prototype that can be improved later on.
- The final approach is the Agile Approach, which focuses on iterating quickly with customer feedback.
Many factors will affect your decision about which approach to take. Some of these factors include:
- Your company’s budget
- The complexity of your product and features
- The timeline for releasing your product
So, depending on all these factors, founders ought to zero in on the right approach to building the MVP.
Have a team with complementary skills
A team with a complementary skillset comes in handy in this competitive market. In today’s scenario, having a great idea and bringing it into reality alone is not a big deal because there are many competitors in the market. Thereby it is essential to identify and project the product’s USP, and having a team with complementary skills would greatly help.
Be prepared for change
At times, what founders perceive will not have the scope to be implemented entirely. Many modifications may arise due to technical issues, resource allocation, budget availability, etc. Henceforth, it is mandatory to be open to change.
Picture Credits – Unsplash
The key to a successful MVP does not just have an idea but being able to execute it. It would be best if you had a good idea, the right team, and the necessary knowledge and resources. The founders’ checklist for building an MVP comes in handy for founders to not only help them identify the essential features, but also help them focus on the core of their product. The checklist also allows founders to think about what they need to do before launching their product, which is extremely important if they want to avoid mistakes and save time.
Ready to start building your MVP? Reach out to us now! Let’s build a solid MVP for your business together.