MVP app development – Lean and agile way to develop anything

Minimum Viable Product in the world of mobile apps is the one and only way to go. Its advantages far outrank the negatives, better, there virtually aren’t any negatives. So say not just me, but developers, app owners and users. When you finish reading this, your doubts will be but a confused and unimportant memory.

What is MVP development process?

Definition found online will tell you plenty, but it won’t give you whole picture. Why do developers encourage MVP approach? What does the client get out of it? How do the users benefit from it? It’s all tightly intertwined and the effects of such a work model are far more satisfactory to all sides than traditional ways.

I am going to use coffee not only to write, but also as a comparison to app development.

Lean 

So you have an idea for an app. Full of features, options, available on all the platforms, able to service millions of users around the world. Your own ‘’Full Cream Double Shot Extra Foamy cappuccino with a heart shaped chocolate and nutmeg sprinkle on top’’ – complicated, attractive, tasty and a future bestseller.  But how do you know if this is what people really want or need? There is a great book by Eric Ries “Lean Startup”, which is worth reading. MVP to the rescue!

Start from the basics

The very first version of your app should be more like a basic latte. Something people know, like and are willing to test from a new vendor. Make sure your app`s MVP version has its main feature(s) included. This will give you a viable product you can already release and get users to familiarise themselves with. An app like this will be relatively cheap and quick to create by your developer and cost only a fraction of the overall budget.

Base on facts

With the app live you can continue the development based on facts instead of assumptions. Meaning, the app will get tested by real users, who will give you their thoughts on what can be added, what’s wrong with it and indicate where to go next. As a bonus, it will be in the market early and by the time it’s fully developed will gather a fair amount of users and a good position in search ranking. Learn as much as you can, launch only valuable features. Startups often waste money on building things they don’t need.  This is how to loose potential. Focus on facts, tell a story and give mvps at initial stage.    

Collect feedback about your app

With feedback from users you will know how your ‘’regular latte’’ is doing as is, and get extra information how it can be improved. If no one’s asking for extra foam, maybe there’s no point investing in developing it (yet). You will be able to address bugs and deficiencies much more accurately than by using in-house testers. This will also naturally reduce the need for testing process and overall price of the project. It’s also good way to build user friendly app.

Scaling – which way do you want to go?

MVP approach gives a great insight into future scalability needs of your product. You can keep adding foam, sprinkles and strength to your latte, but what if the latte as is becomes so popular, that people want it in more places than just one coffee shop. You will need to scale up this way first.

A mobile app will have restrictions as to how many users it can service comfortably, without clogging up a server. It also has geographical restrictions – language or countries it’s available in. With data on the app`s usage you can now prioritise what to do next. Build an MVP and then open more coffee shops, or concentrate on turning the latte into ‘’FCDSEF Cappuccino’’ (with sprinkles of course).

Minimum viable product + agile = successful mvp mobile app development

We, app developers are all about agile these days. Not just us, you – the client should be as well. I can’t really think of a business that would thrive or even survive in this day and age without flexibility of approach. Like with the coffee. If the barista can’t adjust to customers` needs and customer in turn can’t accept the barista`s solutions then no happy campers here.

Priorities change as needs arise

Here, the MVP and the possibility of adjustments, modifications and growth falls nicely in line with agile app development. When working with an app development company you will find doing so in stages to be the most comfortable way for both sides. It will give the developer the ability to adjust to your changing requirements as the work progresses and you get the option of continuous control over the project. The combination of MVP and agile approach to app development can be a real lifesaver in tough situations.

Allow your project to pivot

If it turns out you need a major adjustment to your product development that was not included in the project, your developer will be able to propose more than just ‘’Want more? Pay more’’ option. Listening to your early adopters may help you make the decision to change business model based on user experience with your current MVP product. You could eg. postpone development of a less important feature and spend the money on what’s urgently needed. In general mvp app development cost is lower because you don’t waste money o things that are useless. If your cappuccino has a major flaw, like bad quality of coffee beans, then you will want to fix it before adding any extra bits and complicating the situation even more.

As you can see, an MVP approach to software development has its undeniable advantages. For all projects with an outlook to evolve the product according to needs and wishes of users, as well as owner`s requirements – MVP is the way to go with realising ideas. From a developer’s point of view – we love it. Any respectable software house aims to develop the product, not just make and forget.

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Paweł Czerniewski, Content Writer

Writer and a technology enthusiast from Melbourne, Australia working at itCraft in Poland. He writes IT-related content, researched with industry professionals, for passionate audience interested in mobile app and software development.