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Choosing MVP features

Two techniques that will help you pick MVP features

Around 70% to 90% of startups die every year. Failory did the math – roughly 123,300 new beginnings fail daily, and this means approximately 85 per minute. Research says the main reasons are lack of background research and bad advance testing.

At Purrweb, we always say testing is crucial and at the MVP stage can save the life of your startup. But how do you decide what features are necessary when building an MVP? Do not miss this guide of the MVP development agency on how to prioritize MVP features!

Wait, what exactly is MVP?

MVP stands for a minimum viable product and it is used to test business ideas. Minimum means simple and clear, and viable means that customers should benefit from it. The main purpose of this stage is to collect feedback from users about the product.

Long story short, your final product is a glazed sprinkled donut. To check on the idea and test the recipe, you create a prototype – a plain donut. Dough is key, and if it does not taste good, toppings will never help. Therefore you give the plain donut to your friends and neighbors and ask for their valuable feedback to see what can be improved.

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How do I select MVP features to collect fruitful feedback? 

What to include in your MVP is always a big matter. To start with, there are no recommendations on how many features an MVP needs — it depends on the available budget. We suggest two techniques that will ease the selection process.

User Story Mapping is a method of recreating users’ journey through your product – from opening an app to purchasing the product, and building a story map. It usually consists of 5 steps.

  1. Define benefits. What is the main goal of the product that distinguishes you from a competitor? The answer should be no longer than one sentence. Let’s take donuts as an example again. The primary goal is to make customizable donuts with a great, chewy, velvety dough with contact-free delivery.
  2. Recreate the journey. Be inventive, put the customer first, and think about different steps and scenarios. For instance, to buy a donut on our app-to-be, a user goes through 5 stages: browsing, providing address and delivery instructions, managing order, paying, and delivering.
  3. Write down MVP features for each step. For successful browsing, you need a catalogue or sprinkles and fillings, a search bar, a customization page, best sellers (for those, who can’t decide) and etc. For paying, you need different options – pay with Debit/Credit Card, with Apple Pay, with Google Pay, or with PayPal.
  4. Rank MVP features from must-haves to won’t-haves. The main criteria is to what extent it will help to finish the purchasing process and how often it will be used. Let’s say the catalogue and the customization page are the most important features for the idea, while best sellers is not a crucial feature yet.
  5. Map the MVP. After you have ranked everything, the number 1 features in each step are must-haves for your MVP. Second and third place is nice-to-have, and if you feel you need it for testing – feel free to include it in the prototype.
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Another method is MoSCoW prioritization technique — yep, there is no connection between the technique and the capital of Russia 🙂 — that helps you break down all possible MVP features into 4 categories.

Choosing MVP featuresMoSCoW technique helps to make a list of MVP features

First of all, you and your team have to define the primary criteria for prioritization – it can be customer’s benefits, complexity, cost and etc.

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  • Must have is the most vital category. These are MVP features you cannot live without. You should discuss with your team: will the product work without this feature? If the answer is no, it is undoubtedly a must-have. For our donut startup, being able to choose the quantity is definitely a must-have.
  • If your answer is ‘probably so’, it’s your should have. Here go MVP features that are important and add significant value, but the product can live and function without them. For example, being able to filter donuts’ prices from low to high.
  • Could have group is also called ‘nice-to-have’. It is always nice to have these features, but the product could succeed and benefit without them. Here falls our best selling donuts page.
  • Will not have is a category that includes extra MVP features that are not vital or important at this time, but you wish to have them in the future. Just write them down and come back after your MVP has been successfully tested. Let’s say it would be nice for our customers to be able to choose priority delivery, but let’s be honest – it is not that necessary right now.
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All features in the must have category will be in your future MVP.

Let’s sum things up

While you have been reading this article, around 126 startups failed. Don’t let your idea end up the same! Be mature when choosing minimum viable product features and constantly test, test, test before launch. Pick features wisely using our techniques. And remember, quantity matters – the more insights you gather, the greater the chances for success.