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Why an MVP is so important for Software Development Projects

By Mike Henstridge

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What are the risks in software development?

Custom software development can be risky. Even if you are pretty sure you did everything right, there are always doubts. Will users like the application? What if something goes wrong? What if I invest all this money, and it doesn’t pay off? Some people think that it’s only right to release the end version of the product. They forget that this may take quite long, and meanwhile, the business cases can drastically change. To avoid all these risks, in software development, as well as in many other branches, there is such thing as an MVP – the minimum viable product, and FiveSixTwo can tell you all about it.

What is an MVP?

An MVP is a software application that has the smallest set of features that delivers value to the end users. At this stage, it is important for developers to collect feedback from the initial users so they can continue their work with more precision and understanding for the users’ expectations. After considering their response, they design and develop the complete set of features.

How do you define an MVP for your project?

We have already established that an MVP for a software development project is a software application with the smallest set of features to deliver value. But how do you define this set of features? How do you choose what is important at this very moment? When do you start working on the real product? I love this article on how you can define your MVP that answers all these questions. In short, it breaks this process into five easy steps:

  • First of all, look at your software development project and define the primary goals of the application.
  • Step two is to define the main process a user has to go through when using it. It may be comprised of several tasks.
  • Next stage: make a list of features for each of these stages.
  • Prioritize features inside lists.
  • Finally, define the MVP based on the priorities. Features on the top of the lists represent your MVP and the rest is a long-term vision of how to improve the application.

Why is it important to start with an MVP?

Let’s talk about an MVP’s role in your software development project and why it is so important. First of all, you must remember the three key characteristics of an MVP. It is supposed to have:

  • Enough value for employees to willingly use it
  • Enough future potential to retain early adopters
  • Sufficient regular feedback to guide future development

These features will help you understand if you are going in the right direction. The reaction to the initial set of the software’s features will show you if you properly understand the people’s needs, what functionality should be developed more, and what can be dropped altogether. Experience shows that gathering insights from an MVP is less expensive than going all the way with product development, i.e. releasing a product with more features. Just because developing more features means more investment and more risks if the product fails due to incorrect assumptions or for another reason.

Do not be scared by this process though. If you don’t feel confident enough to define an MVP for your project on your own, and you feel like you need help developing it, have FiveSixTwo help you with this, using the extensive knowledge gained by years and years of custom software development.