What is an MVP in Software Development?

What is an MVP in Software Development?

We’re sure you’ve heard the term MVP before. Chances are, you might even be thinking of Lebron James or Stephen Curry and while both athletes have been considered two of the NBA’s most valuable players, we’re talking about a different kind of MVP. We’re talking about an MVP in software development, also known as a “minimum viable product.”

Launching your product with an MVP

An MVP is a most valuable tool for a variety of reasons, but perhaps one of the biggest reasons is that it allows teams without technical skills to launch their product faster. As you know, the quicker you can get your product or software in front of the market, the faster you can get user feedback to help put a final, marketable product in the hands of your audience.

What is an MVP in software development?

So, what does MVP mean? And why is it important for launching new software of latest product? Well, for starters, it’s no less important than a “most valuable player.” In fact, an MVP in software development is a product that sets the fundamental foundation for supporting a hypothesis or vision. Much like Lebron James or Steph Curry, an MVP in software development carries with it the promise of a product’s future success, just as star basketball players carry their teams toward championship wins. 

Boiled down, an MVP is a bare-bones product or software designed for use by early adopters whose test use can either prove or dismantle a hypothesis for functionality. By using a rudimentary set of “test” features, a product can be tested by users and their feedback can be gathered by developers to further MVP development and improve the likelihood of success of a digital product

Because an MVP lacks automation of backend processes, it appears automated from the front end which allows users to test the software and help developers create a better user experience. 

For turning an idea into a digital product, creating an MVP is the best way to begin software development because it allows a developer to get the product in front of users as quickly as possible. This means testing and feedback can happen almost simultaneously which provides developers and product managers with invaluable feedback for improving the product before its next release. Basically, there is no final product without extensive development, and that development relies on good, old-fashioned user feedback. 

You see, with user insights and feedback, developers can begin the task of fine-tuning a product or software. That means cutting out features that didn’t appeal to users, improving functionality that halted user success, increasing user satisfaction through better design, and in the end, creating a more robust software product users will love. 

What is not an MVP in software development?

Now, you might be thinking, “Wow, an MVP sounds a lot like a prototype!” You might even be tempted to call an MVP in software development a prototype. Let’s get something clear — while it may look, feel, and maybe even act a little bit like one, an MVP is NOT a prototype. 

So, what is a prototype? A prototype is essentially a mock-up that allows you to convey the idea of your digital product or software’s functionality without being functional at all. In other words, it means that the product or software doesn’t need to actually work, it just needs to be able to help a developer get the first feedback on design or UI/UX elements. This way you can easily spot where users get confused while clicking through your prototype and make sure to fix it in the next stage. 

The downside to prototypes? In fact, prototypes are thrown away after testing while MVPs serve as a basis and first iteration of the final product. This is time consuming and expensive. As you already tap into your valuable development resources and spend time drafting and developing your prototype.

Why the development of your MVP is important

Alright, so what’s the value of an MVP? If it’s not the end product and it’s not a prototype used to sell an idea to an investor or potential client, then what’s the value? 

The value is in the vision. Much like storytelling, successful software development relies on ideas like “what happens next?” and “where will we end up?”. Like many great writers, you may have a pretty good idea of what you’d like your finished product to look like and how they’d prefer for it to perform. But in getting there, the development needs to take some twists and turns. 

And these twists and turns come in the form of user feedback. Perhaps just as important as the vision itself, user feedback determines the functionality, user satisfaction, and ultimately a product’s success. Stick to the MVP mantra: Learn – Build – Measure … repeat! 

At the end of the day, there is nothing more important than your user’s satisfaction. Which relies on listening to user feedback to make improvements that will determine the success of your digital product. That is, why a minimum viable product is your most valuable player. 

At Venture Leap, we help entrepreneurial teams build and launch their digital products. Get in touch or book a free session below if you want to know how can take your idea to the next step and develop a minimum viable product that works.

Dr. Daniel Werner –
Co-Founder Venture Leap

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