There’s a lot of things to consider when you’re developing a mobile app. Obviously, you need an initial idea, an app development partner, marketing plan, and all sorts of technical support as you move towards your launch. Learning the intricacies of your app as it applies to your target audience might be the most important step you can take, and for this, you’ll need an MVP. No, not a Most Valuable Player (because that’s clearly you!), but a Minimum Viable Product. You need something solid and tangible to present to your market…and it doesn’t need to cost a ton to make or have all the bells and whistles like you might think. Let’s explore what an MVP is, and how your enterprise app can use it to maximum advantage.
What is an MVP?
Explaining the concept of an MVP isn’t such a simple task. There are several different ways to define one, so we’ll start with one technical definition, and a theoretical one.
“A minimum viable product (MVP) is the most pared down version of a product that can still be released. An MVP has three key characteristics:
- It has enough value that people are willing to use it or buy it initially.
- It demonstrates enough future benefit to retain early adopters.
- It provides a feedback loop to guide future development.”
“You’re selling the vision and delivering the minimum feature set to visionaries, not everyone.”
So, you’ll want to find a point in your mobile app development process where you have identified multiple target audiences, developed the app to a point where it can provide solutions for each particular user, and deliver it to them in a pragmatic and measured way. Sounds easy, right?
After all, huge success stories have started with concise MVP testing. There are so many benefits if you work through this process, but you need to be vigilant in this crucial phase.
What Are the Goals in the MVP Phase?
When you are entering this phase of testing, you’ll need to make a list to determine what exactly you want to accomplish. Here’s a quick list of common desired outcomes while presenting your MVP.
- Determine the actual demand for your app on several varied audiences.
- Compile research and feedback from your ideal audience, and how it works for them (or not!).
- Reduce and refine your timeline.
- Avoid potential financial losses from unnecessary implementations
- Help your development team focus in on key issues.
Remember, this is just one segment of all the extensive testing that you’ll be doing on your mobile app. Don’t ever stop, no matter which phase you’re in. Even after your app launches, you’ll need to be continuously testing the UX, technical utility, and target group reactions. The MVP might be the most essential part of all this, so make sure to think critically throughout.
What Exactly Should You Give Them?
This is a subject of much debate. Basically, you need to pay extra attention to all three words in MVP, and one is not more important than the other.
Minimum: You need to think streamlined and basic here. Going above and beyond by packing all the possible features you can think of into this testing phase is not what you’re looking to do; it can make your feedback muddled and confusing, and your users overwhelmed. Condense your key features that solve problems, and distill them down to just a few essential and relevant solutions.
Viable: The dictionary tells us that the biological meaning of the word viable means capable of sustaining life under certain environmental conditions. This should inform you how to proceed when formulating your MVP. Different target audiences will determine whether certain features will “survive” the testing process, and it’s the particular match of feature-to-user connection that you need to pay close attention to. Think of it this way: you are providing a small solution to a small problem for a relatively small sample size. While you have that laser focus on those small things, you also simultaneously need to be feeding these smaller solutions into the bigger picture to make your app truly viable.
Product: A fairly obvious definition, perhaps, but it bears examination on what you’re going to present. While it’s likely a simple representation you’ll be giving your users, it should have at least some of the intuitive UX, slick art design, and unique functionality that you plan to have on your finished product. Walk that line between too many and too few relevant features, so you can get the clearest feedback possible.
What Should You Take Away?
Let’s assume you’ve gone through all the development and strategizing steps and have gone on to present your various MVP to your target audiences. What feedback and solutions should you be getting back from it?
- What part of your app is challenging for the users to find the solution to their pain points?
- Do the users have another app they can refer to that does the job better than yours? What particular feature works better for them?
- Have you actually addressed the issues that your users look to find a solution for? Why or why not?
There will be many more specific questions and answers you should be seeking, but these three questions are the overarching tenets that should dictate how you process all this information. It’s a balance of keeping these small details right in front of you, while keeping the vision of your big picture in mind. Succeeding at the MVP process is quite possibly the stage that you will find what your mobile app truly needs to be. Now that’s valuable.
Are you interested in building an MVP for your app idea? Check out some information about our approach to app development and don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation!