What is MVP and why do you need it
MVP (or minimum viable product) — the first version of your app with cut functionality. It reduces the time and budget for development. As a result, you hit the market faster and get feedback from first users. Creating a good MVP means finding a balance between the minimum and the useful.
Let’s highlight the main things MVP helps with:
- validating an idea with a working product
- reducing the number of risks
- getting feedback faster and improving the product
- hooking up first users
- finding investors for your project
Many super-successful startups began with MVP too. Here are some examples for inspiration:
- Uber was created to connect drivers and passengers
- Dropbox started as an application for syncing data over the Internet
- Airbnb matched people who had a lodging, and those who needed it
- Spotify was planned as a platform that gives users access to all music in the world
How to build a startup: minimum team to develop MVP
There are many key roles in creating a project: UI/UX designers who design the interface of your application, frontend and backend developers who write the code, QA engineers who check the code out. The question is where one can find them all. Let’s look at the main approaches to building a team.
Building your own team is not an easy task, especially if this is your first experience in product development. It’s the case when you have to rent an office, buy equipment and pay subscriptions to all necessary programs, and — the most difficult thing — find and hire employees. Doesn’t sound scary? Then go ahead! If you have an unlimited budget and are willing to take on the leadership, you will get a well-coordinated team that can solve any problem.
How to build a startup, if you don’t have a large budget? The first thing that comes to mind is hiring freelancers. We all know that you can find a person who is ready to complete your task for a minimal cost at freelance markets. But what’s the catch? The catch is the quality of services — no one guarantees a freelancer you hire will have enough experience.
Wanna hire people and chill? It won’t work like this with freelancers. When dealing with them, you are responsible for communication and micromanagement. What if the designer lives in the US and the developer lives in Asia? You’ll have to keep them in touch. This is where CTO as a service for startups can be very beneficial. Instead of trying to find and choose all of the freelancers yourself, you just hire a good CTO, that can get everything up-and-running for you, and then just intermittently pop-in to make sure that everything is working smoothly.
Hiring an outsourced team means investing money in the quality of your future product. When you contact an agency, you will have everyone you need! Experienced developers, professional designers, and QA engineers, they all at your service. And the icing on the cake — a project manager. Who is this? A project manager is a person who takes care of all problems and saves you from headaches — they estimate the scope of work in accordance with your budget, plan all deadlines, keep you up to date and solve any issues popping up during the development process.
Even when we’re talking about working with an outsourced team, you can choose the wrong horse. Not all guys are as good as they say. To make sure that a company is good at developing software for startups, go read reviews on Clutch or Upwork.
You are to decide how to build a startup: choose wisely, examine the approaches thoroughly and make your choice.
Okay, the approaches are clear. Let’s get to the development steps!
How to build a startup: basic steps to develop MVP
1. Market research
To blow up the market, you need to understand it. To understand it, you need to identify and study the main competitors. Have a look at those who are already in your niche and study their advantages and disadvantages. The gathered data will help you identify a feature set of your future product — the set that will make your product not just a copycat of the existing solutions, but something new.
How else can market research help you?
- Choice of the platform. It is difficult to understand which platform to go to first right from the get go. However, market research can help you choose between web, desktop, and mobile too. Analyze your competitors and look at their features — this will help you understand why most of them chose web or mobile apps.
- Feature prioritization. Since we are developing a stripped-down version of the product, it is important to define the core features. The rule is ‘keep an eye on your competitors and you’ll get a clearer picture of your product’. In this case, it is easier to decide which feature will be decisive for the success of your app.
Learning from other people’s mistakes is cool — that’s why ignoring market research will be a mistake. Will you improve ready-made solutions or create something none of your competitors have? The choice is yours!
2. Do UI/UX design
Cool UI design is something that hooks up users from the first seconds, and UX is something that makes users go back to your app again and again.
First, let’s define what is UI and what is UX:
- UX or user experience is the beginning of any project. UX designers study UX patterns, think through the information architecture of the product, create a layout, work out navigation and write all user flows. The user understands how the app works thanks to a well-designed UX.
- UI or user interface is about making your application user-catchy. UI designers work with ready-made layouts: add visual elements (colors, buttons, fonts, images), create cool UI-animations, and prepare UI-kit for devs.
It’s not possible to make a perfect design right away — you will need time to edit it.
What you need to pay attention to is the technical feasibility of the design. Technical feasibility is about matching design tasks with development tools. For example, if you decide to use React Native for the mobile development of your product, it’ll be hard work for developers to implement complex animations.
You don’t need to worry about anything when working with an outsourcing agency. Teamwork is well-coordinated, so future interfaces are always discussed many times. You won’t have to look for more people and spend more money!
We have already mentioned that you need frontend and backend developers. Don’t know how they differ? Let’s clarify it.
The frontend is about the part of the app users interact with, and the backend is responsible for performing tasks users want to do via connecting it with the server and databases.
As a rule, the development process begins with defining a tech stack — tools for implementing your idea. Your business-goals and features affect the choice of suitable ones. If you are not so good at understanding the development process, ask a professional for advice.
The development process always goes hand-in-hand with the testing process. The task of QA engineers is to find all possible errors and bugs. They check every part of the app by running scripts with different settings on different devices, as well as by thorough manual testing.
The answer to ‘How to build a startup’ seems to be here. But there must be something else, right? 🙂
4. Release and validation
So, we have come to the most interesting part — the launch of your product.
If you think this is the end, you’re wrong. Work on the product has just begun! There are many more iterations ahead, and you need to be prepared for them.
After the product is released, your task is to quickly take feedback from first users. How do you do this? Well, for example, you can conduct a survey or ask users to write a review. Based on the results of the gathered feedback, you’ll get a clear vision of what needs to be changed: something will be added, and something will be permanently deleted. Don’t worry if your app gets a lot of negative reviews — you can use this to improve your product in the future.
You are now not just a person with a cool idea, you are the creator of a product. It’s time to go to investors. It’s easier to get funding and promote an idea with a working MVP. But hey, if going at it alone seems scary — try to find a development partner. And, if you don’t know where even to start looking, check out our guide on how to find a developer partner for a startup.
MVP is an important stage for those who want to create a startup. It allows you to explore the market and quickly test the business idea to understand whether it is worth developing your product in the future or not. The process is not easy yet interesting. Remember that giants like Facebook or Amazon also started with MVP.
Have an idea but afraid to start because you don’t know how to build a startup? You’re missing your opportunity! The only way to achieve goals is to invest a lot of time and effort in your project. Go test your idea and see what happens.