All guide to MVP development for enterprises. Bringing a new software product to market can present unique challenges to enterprise companies. Bureaucracy and investments of time and money leave little room for experimentation while opening the door to risk.
A minimum viable product (MVP) allows companies to build and test the product idea quickly and cost-efficiently. With an MVP, you launch with a minimal feature set to test the market and refine your software project based on feedback from early adopters.
MVP product development enables you to identify shortcomings faster, so you can refine your product for a more robust release.
What is MVP?
A minimum viable product, or MVP, is a product with enough features to attract early-adopter customers and validate a product idea early in the product development cycle. In industries such as software, the MVP can help the product team receive user feedback as quickly as possible to iterate and improve the product.
Because the agile methodology is built on validating and iterating products based on user input, the MVP plays a central role in agile development.
What is the Purpose of a Minimum Viable Product?
Eric Ries, who introduced the concept of the minimum viable product as part of his Lean Startup methodology, describes the purpose of an MVP this way: It is the version of a new product that allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least amount of effort.
A company might choose to develop and release a minimum viable product because its product team wants to:
- Release a product to the market as quickly as possible
- Test an idea with real users before committing a large budget to the product’s full development
- Learn what resonates with the company’s target market and what doesn’t
In addition to allowing your company to validate an idea for a product without building the entire product, an MVP can also help minimize the time and resources you might otherwise commit to building a product that won’t succeed.
The Challenges of MVP Development
The goal of MVP development is to bring your product from ideation to commercialization efficiently.
Enterprise companies need their software developers focused on core products that are already driving revenue. An MVP product may be a risk for enterprise businesses because it can divert focus from existing products and tie up developer resources.
Additionally, enterprises may not have team members with the specific skillsets needed to execute the MVP product. Hiring full-time developers lengthens the time to launch and can be difficult given shortages, especially if the project requires specialized skills.
As an alternative, enterprises should consider a software development partner, where they can leverage the skills they need on an as-needed basis.
This gives MVP development teams more flexibility. For example, if they think the MVP needs AI and then they realize they don’t during the Detailed Design phase, they won’t have invested in a role they don’t need. Similarly, they can accelerate delivery of the MVP because offshore partners enable a continuous delivery cycle over a nearly 24/7 period.
These are just a few of the reasons so many organizations turn to an MVP development company like Twendee. Engaging with a partner for MVP development can help take your product idea to launch on an accelerated timeline.
Essential Steps to Launching a Successful MVP Product
Whether you get outside help or use an internal project manager to guide your team, there is a process you need to use to create and launch a successful MVP product. Here are the key steps to getting started.
Outline the Product Vision
Your MVP team should start by clearly identifying the vision for your product by asking:
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the revenue model?
- What is the user experience and user flow?
- What are the use cases?
This step requires a fair amount of research. You need to make sure there is a defined need for your product and a business use case that justifies the expense of building and maintaining your product. An MVP product allows you to cost-efficiently test the idea before you invest the time and money on full-blown development with all the features.
An effective MVP focuses on one idea with the intent of building the right product with a minimal budget and minimal timeline. It can be tempting to throw in additional features and options, but keeping your vision focused on essential features for early adopters is crucial. Often, it’s more difficult to decide what to leave out than what to keep in.
The more people you bring into the decision-making process, the more things they’ll want to add to the project. That’s why it’s important to get buy-in from the top of the organization. You’ll want to foster wide support across the company’s leadership team to achieve an approved business case. With broad support, the project is less likely to be cut due to budget constraints or re-orgs. Enterprises often contend with a high level of bureaucracy, so the wider and higher you go for approval, the more likely the project will be to succeed.
Buy-in also helps reduce scope creep so that you can build and launch efficiently.
Establish a Technology Leader
Appoint a lead for your project within your organization. Whether you outsource development work or do it in-house, you need to make sure the right person is leading the charge. Your project leader will manage the tech stack, timelines, and deliverables and serve as the main point of contact for a contracted technology partner.
Determine Timelines & Milestones for Delivery
Speaking of timelines, you will also need to establish your start date and a hard launch date. In most cases, you should expect a launch date of at least six months after you begin your MVP product development
Manage Resource Allocation
In most organizations — no matter how big your team is — you will find areas of the software development lifecycle where you’ll need additional support. This might be because your team lacks the expertise or bandwidth to execute.
The sooner you can identify skill gaps or resource gaps, the better off you will be. This may require up skilling team members, hiring new team members, or outsourcing part or all of your development process. That takes time.
The key takeaway here is to evaluate what needs to happen at each stage of the software development lifecycle and identify where you need additional support. Teams rarely have everything they need at the start, which is where projects get delayed or shelved due to lack of resources.
Projects also need different resources at different times. For example, fleshing out ideation is a vastly different skill than writing code. By assessing the needs at each stage, you can line up the resources you need ahead of time to make your project run more smoothly.
Embrace the Software Development Lifecycle
The software development lifecycle (SDLC) is a proven model for creating a structured workflow. There are several different models that companies use, such as:
- The waterfall model
- The spiral model
- The agile model
- The DevOps model
The method you use will be determined by your project lead. There are typically seven phases in SDLC. Each plays an important role in bringing your product to market.
Phases of the Software Development Lifecycle
- Ideation: Brainstorm ideas to solve problems or create solutions for your target user group.
- Requirements: Collect and design your project requirements and deliverables. This includes defining your tech stack, programming languages, backend and frontend, and tech infrastructure.
- Design: Develop the architecture of your system and the elements needed.
- Development: Build the software for your MVP product.
- Testing: Test your product to find bugs and defects. Test products with early adopters and key stakeholders to evaluate design and feature sets.
- Deployment: Prepare and launch your software.
- Maintenance: After delivery, support your MVP product.
Most MVP products go through this SDLC multiple times to go from an MVP to a fully-built product. After launch, software developers take the feedback from early adopters or core users to enhance the product. This takes the team back to ideation and then they work through the seven phases.
During the development and testing phases, support is crucial. If you don’t have the right people or resources on your team, you can get stuck or fail to make the right decisions. Make sure you account for any additional team members, expertise, or resources you need.
During testing, it’s important to do real-world tests with real users. While alpha testing uses internal testers, beta testing uses real users, usually a select group of engaged customers. Both phases occur before the MVP is released. Organizations should line up their beta customers before the testing phase to avoid the potential for slowdowns in delivery.
Working with a Partner for Enterprise MVP Development
Working with a partner for MVP development ensures you have all the resources you need and the experience to produce quality MVPs.
- Fill in staffing and skill gaps in your team
- Reduce the time to recruit, fire, and onboard new team members
- Eliminate the need to train in-house resources
- Keep in-house resources focused on core products
- Flexibility to adapt to changing development needs
Perhaps the biggest benefit of working with an MVP development partner is you don’t need to wait. You can get started immediately. When you work with a proven partner with extensive product development experience such as Twendee, you can be assured of high-quality output and cost-efficient processes.
We can help fill skill gaps to maximize your product development while minimizing your development timeline for your custom MVP. Twendee has proven experience with MVP development for enterprises. Our MVP approach and software development has resulted in exits for highly successful several Asia and Europe companies. With a full lineup of software engineering, technology consulting, and digital operations, Twendee can help guide the MVP development process, get you to market quicker, and produce long-term results.
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