What is Minimal Viable Product (MVP)?

MVP isn’t just an acronym for Most Valuable Player. It’s also a term used often in the software world: Minimum Viable Product. What is an MVP? Well, in a nutshell, it’s the bare bones piece of software that fits its essential purpose. For example, for a music player app, a screen with a big fat play button that plays all the songs in your Music folder. It’s a starter software to the bigger picture!

Whether it’s for commercial software development, to sell to the public (or give away for free, or with add-ons), or for internal purposes, developing your MVP first is a great way to go about software development.

Let’s dive in and learn a little more.

What exactly is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

An MVP gets to the essence of what your software is really about. It’s the basic function that it needs to perform, without any of the bells and whistles.

So, let’s say that your software development project is to build an app that lets your sales staff access all their sales data in your company CRM while on the go. You’d like to connect it up to other systems, add automation, and other functionality - but that’s all bigger picture.

You might find for this that your MVP is actually the CRM company’s own app. It’s already good to go, even though it’s not really what you want, the basic functionality is there. Or you might find that it’s their web app, that your staff can access through their phone browser.

If these aren’t options, then you’ll need to build an MVP for your CRM app. This might include a contact list, the ability to take notes for each contact, and access to a scheduler, all with the CRM backend.

Why not just build the whole thing?

There are a lot of benefits to building an MVP instead of trying to build everything you want (or even half of what you want!) at once. These include:

You have a fully usable product fast

Even though it’s not exactly what you want, the ability to get up and running quickly with a new piece of software can save time and effort resources while the rest of the product is being built.

Being able to test out your software developer’s talents and scheduling abilities

Consider this like a test of your developers’ abilities. It’s a great way to get a clear idea of how the rest of the project will go.

It’s easier to build on

Building an MVP first means that you can add functions and features as need be afterwards with the guarantee they’ll work - or you can at least roll back the changes and know you have a working product. It’s a good idea to have regular software updates that contain one or more features. By working on small pieces at once, it makes software schedules much less likely to blow out.

It’s a great way to get stakeholders on board with a tentative project

Superiors or potential investors don’t quite see your vision? By building an MVP with a limited amount of resources, you have proof of concept right there.

It’s cost efficient

By building an MVP, or even build as you go beyond that, you can easily stick to budgets, and not worry about running out of funds before the project’s finished. If the well dries up, you have a useable product, and can continue if and when the funds free up again.

Using an MVP as a sounding board for UI

Software needs to be usable! If your users hate your UI, you’re going to have issues. If you want to get some quick user feedback on UI, you can build your MVP and then test away. With this MVP you’ll then be able to swap out design ideas based on feedback and really nail your look and feel before building further.

Building your Minimum Viable Product

To find your MVP it’s important to work closely with your chosen software developer. Explain your project, and then say that you would like to build the Minimum Viable Product for your ultimate vision.

Your software developer will help to work out with you just what exactly your MVP will look like, and from there provide cost and time estimates to make it all happen.

Are you ready to start your project and get that MVP going?

Choose a software development house that’s experienced with helping clients to determine their Minimum Viable Product. At CodeFirst, we can guide you to finding the perfect MVP requirements and get your project moving quickly.

Get in touch with us for bespoke software development. We’ve helped clients just like you to build iterative software with regular releases, so you have functional apps, websites, and desktop applications ready to use sooner.