A Step-by-Step Guide to Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)


What exactly is an MVP? The MVP concept is defined as a combination of "minimum needs" - anything with the basic elements required to satisfy the initial clients. The next step is to collect feedback that will help with future product development. The MVP enables a team to gain the most validated customer learning with the least amount of effort.


However, "least effort" does not always mean "least" functionality to be developed. Also, keep in mind that the MVP needs to be usable, reliable, and sensitive to user expectations as you design it (empathetic design). This sets up the structure for leveraging user feedback to improve the next version of the product and evaluate whether it is sustainable.

Why do you need an MVP?


Build a conversation: Creating a prototype model that can be used as a jumping-off point for future discussions and provides unique visual points of reference.


Identify the problem earlier: Putting the first idea into action by sharing the model with a few prospects and testing it with real users are part of the approval process. This allows for understanding any problems that may arise with the product.


Save time and money: Starting the actual development process after a few rounds of refining the software concept is a significant and motivating step toward creating a fully-fledged solution. It also saves months in development reiterations.

How to build an MVP?


Step 1: Start with market research: According to a CB insights survey, 45% of businesses fail due to a 'lack of market need,' which means that customers don't genuinely need your solution.

Ideas do not always correspond to market need. Before launching an idea and embarking on an MVP Development process, a business must make sure that it meets the needs of its target audience. Surveys are useful for any company. The more knowledge a company possesses, the better its prospects of success. Likewise, keep an eye on what your competitors are offering and how your product idea might stand out.


Step 2: Clarify your unique value proposition: What is your unique solution? For whom are you building this solution specifically? What pain points do they have? The answers to these questions clarify your value proposition.

Your MVP must provide the most essential functionalities that define your unique solution. Otherwise, you will not get relevant feedback for your business. The design must also be sensitive to your specific audience, those with the pain points you identified.


Step 3: Prioritize your MVP features: If you are doing an MVP right now, you probably had a brainstorming session with your colleagues in which everyone was so excited that you now have a long list with excellent features. Now look at that list, go back to step 2, and categorize all features from your board according to their relevance to your value proposition.

You should have priorities 1, 2, and 3. Priority 1 means you have to include them in the MVP, Priority 2 means you can include them if you have enough time and money to spend, and Priority 3 is nice to have features for future iterations.

This step is essential because if you do it right, your problem-solving solution will reach the market in time. If you're doing it wrong, you'll spend time and money on functionalities irrelevant to your market, so you will probably end up with a failed MVP.


Step 4: Build your user flow: Even if people need your unique solution, without a friendly user flow, they will not even consider your product. Think of the user flow as a car dashboard. No matter how powerful your car is, you simply can't drive it without a dashboard.

Your MVP must come with a design that builds a great user experience so the users (or investors) accept your solution as a viable option. Often B2C startups focus too much on functionalities and less on the product's appearance. There is one more thing, the chances for your solution to be unique in the world are close to zero.

In most cases, your solution is more accessible than similar ones from competitors. Here is where user flow makes a difference. It is how your product feels, what puts you outside the market, or what makes it lovable.


Step 5: Launch your MVP: Once you decided the essential features and the user flow, you are ready to develop and launch your MVP to the world. Keep in mind your MVP is not a lower quality product that the final one, it still needs to solve real problems to real people and it still needs to be engaging and pleasing to use.

"The main reason why products fail is that they don’t meet customers’ needs in a way that is better than other alternatives." - Dan Olsen, author of The Lean Product Playbook


Step 6: Listen, learn, improve: After your MVP is launched, the process still goes on. Now focus on listening to the market, collect data from your users, pay attention to the feedback, and go back to your product to prioritize improvement opportunities and build. Build a methodology for collecting data, such as A/B testing.

Until now, you built based on your research and hypotheses, and from now on, you will build based on the market's direct and indirect feedback.