What is an MVP, and why is it necessary? Minimum viable product examples

Iryna Hnatiuk


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March 3, 2024


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The definition of MVP

The notion of MVP, which stands for Minimum Viable Product, was first introduced by Frank Robinson in 2001 and gained popularity thanks to Eric Ries and his book The Lean Startup in 2011. The definition of MVP is quite vague in different sources. However, we can single out two main categories – low-fidelity and high-fidelity. Each of them has a different purpose. Low-fidelity MVP is just a concept – not software or a fully blown website, which helps to understand what problems the user wants to solve, and how effectively the solution can work. There are following types of low-fidelity MVPs – customer interview (asking potential users questions about crucial aspects of your future product ), blogs (writing about the future product and getting feedback from your target audience), forums (analyzing and participating in discussions related to your product), split testing (comparing two or more versions), landing page(the initial stage of brand communication), explainer video, paper prototypes (sketches or user interface), the”fake door” (getting users to sign up for a nonexistent product to check demand), audience building, ad campaign (exploring market validation), micro surveys (one or two questions about the product).

High-fidelity MVP

In this article, we will focus on high fidelity MVP – a basic version of a product that allows getting user feedback to understand what further development should be like and better match users’ needs. This software with minimalistic design and core functionality – just sufficient for deployment – is aimed at testing if the product is commercially viable on the market through getting feedback from early adopters, identifying a competitive price, and, consequently, building and optimizing detailed marketing and growth strategies. How minimalistic should an MVP be? For instance, some apps are overloaded with functions that may turn unnecessary and waste time and money. Therefore, it is a significant risk to develop a fully-fledged product without market tests. An MVP should perfectly perform its vital function – do something that will create value for users – meet the end goal and address pain points. It’s a reliable way to find out if the idea is worth investing or not.

Types of high-fidelity MVP

  • Piecemeal – developing an essential functioning feature set to present the app to users. The features are derived from multiple sources.
  • “Wizard of Ozz” – creating an impression that the client is using a final product while it is still being developed. Human workers perform functions that are supposed to be automatic. The automation is implemented at later stages.

The goals you can achieve:

  • Save resources as you will know for sure you are putting money and effort into something that stands a chance for success.
  • Analyze consumer trends and how your product matches them to build a successful promotion strategy.
  • Secure early adopters for your product.
  • Start building your brand.
  • Be ready to present the product to potential investors.
  • Check product scalability

Importance of MVP for a startup

It is common knowledge that many startups fail. One of the reasons is they build their business on assumptions. From marketing research to product development – everything requires a professional approach. In most cases, it is better to involve outside consultants and partners to eliminate risks. Startup development is a complex process. Founders should be able to persuade potential investors that their product is a money-making machine with high ROI and demonstrate it. A high-fidelity MVP is a perfect tool for this – it is not just a concept; it is a working app that speaks louder than words.

Examples of MVPs

Instagram. It used to be only a set of filters for users to apply to their photos, which could be later saved locally on their device. It quickly became widely demanded and nowadays is a massive app with multiple features.

Uber. The service originated in San Francisco in 2010 and started with a simple interface that connected smartphone users with transportation services (initially, there were only three cars). User comments and rates served as a basis for continuous improvement.

Pebble. Despite the MVP’s simplistic design and a minimal set of features, the smartwatch founders raised a whopping $10 million on Kickstarter.

Foursquare. It had a predecessor – Dodgeball, a location-based social platform that was eventually acquired by Google. So, the founders were not building a completely new product. Although the MVP had very limited functionality, it quickly became very successful, so the founders added lots of sophisticated features.

Frequently Asked Question

1. How long does it take to develop an MVP?

On average, it takes only 1-2 months.

2. What is the budget?

$15,000 – $20,000

3. What are the success criteria for an MVP?

It should be clearly defined before you start the development process: e.g., a thousand paying users of the product over a certain period.

4. Is it for startups only?

It is a great way to play safe for any company – start with a basic working model, identify problems, and find practical solutions in several iterations.

5. What is the next step after building an MVP?

The following steps would be validating your idea by getting user feedback and if it is positive, then developing a scaling strategy for the product, finding the right target audience and market, and building a Minimum Marketable Product.

Build an MVP with Blackthorn Vision

Our company has extensive experience in developing minimum viable products for RemiPeople, SmartCloud, Impact, etc. As a result of our cooperation, the clients could assess the market potential of their software, secure investments, and scale successfully in the future.

We use Agile methodology based on instant feedback and constant iterations for maximum development speed. It means building your MVP will take the shortest time possible – and it is often critical for winning competition. Even if you have just a basic vision of what your app should do, we will develop a presentable product that you can pitch to investors. Contact us now to learn more, and let’s make it happen!

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