What are the Best Practices for MVP Development?
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Building an app for your business is a brilliant idea when you are planning to take your business to a new greater level. An app brings mobility to your business and brings in a host of other benefits including the lucrative customer loyalty to your kitty. it can get really expensive and add to that the fear or unpredictability of how the app is going to fare among the customers, and you have a lot to think about.
The app that you are building is exciting you and you might think that it is definitely going to be an absolute hit. But think about it, of the millions of apps on the app stores, how many actually make it big! So, there is a definite chance that your might fall flat too in the worst scenario and in the best scenario might need more work than you thought it would. There is absolutely no way to ascertain the fate of the app before it hits the app store.
It is for this reason, it is important to first develop a Minimum Viable Product or as it is called an MVP. An MVP is essentially the basic version of the actual product that has only the basic functionality. Now, such a product is developed with either of the two objectives – first, in order to determine whether the product (app in your case) works in the real-world scenario, and second, in order to see whether the market is ready to accept the product. On top of these insights, you also receive a lot of data through this launch which can help you evolve your app into better future versions.
However, when it actually comes to planning and developing a strong MVP for your app, it might be tougher than you think. There are going to be a bunch of tough decisions that you would have to take about the strategy and the approach that you would be adopting for it. As you plan to build your MVP, you would have to make sure that not only does it work but can also serve as a suitable test for the final goal they have set for the product. We have compiled a list of ten best practices that are solid gold when you are on the way to building your MVP.
1. Define A Goal
They say – Well Begun Is Half Done! This holds true for every project that I have ever come across. Now you might begin working on a project with great enthusiasm and passion, but if you fail to set a goal before going on full steam ahead, then you might be setting yourself up for a failure. Hence, when you set out on your journey to develop your MVP, you should know clearly what your app is supposed to accomplish and how is it supposed to accomplish it. In addition to this, you must also be aware clearly of who is it that you are targeting as the customer base or the audience for the app.
If you were to have a clarity about these things, then you would be able to proceed with a clear focus going forward. When you are aware of the needs of your customers and know how to meet them, then you have a foundation for a successful product journey. Emulating this as a best practice will give you a clear vision, going forward.
2. Be Clear About Your Functional Requirements
If you have set out on the path of developing an MVP, then you know that you would have to develop a basic version of the app that you aspire to build. But when you are building a basic version you would have to make sure that you are only including those features and functionalities that form the core. The idea of the MVP is that you should keep everything minimalistic, and this exactly why it is of extreme importance to know what it is exactly that you absolutely must include in order to meet the customer’s needs. Once you have this clarity, it will help you in working out the budget with a lot more accuracy and come up with a realistic schedule as you embark on your journey. Doing this might be really profitable because it could give you an insight into the future prospects of the app and give you an inkling about whether it is going to be viable and if not then you can consider this as a natural and strong stop loss point.
3. Develop Alternates (Just in Case)
Putting in all your eggs in the same basket is never a smart idea, which also holds true in the event that you decide to build an MVP for your mobile app. Not all ideas make it to the end of the race, there are certain ideas that might end up in the bin, and this happens in the development phase as well. Now, if you are one of those who began just with the one super cool idea that you thought would reign supreme over everything else, you are going to be in deep trouble if this one ends up in the bin.
When you do not develop any alternates, you are putting yourself in a situation where you might have to go back to the drawing board and pull it all together before beginning from the scratch. It therefore stands to reason that you spread out your efforts and resources into developing multiple prototypes parallelly. This means that in case one of your prototypes fails, you would have other options to fall back on.
4. Share the Plan & Ensure Clear Communication
Good communication is key to the success of any project. It would be safe to say that in any situation, any project, any organization, and any other context, it is important that every person or entity that is involved is on the same page. One good practice is to get everyone together on one platform and lay the whole plan out, let everyone understand what it is all about, which roles would be assigned to whom, and who has authority and responsibility where. This ensures that no one steps on any toes and that no process goes unattended due to false assumption.
Another great thing that happens in such situations is that everyone involved in the project gets a clear understanding of their role in the larger scheme of things. It gives them context and a sense of belonging for the whole project. Doing this would also set a tone for an environment which has its foundation in creative collaboration. It is this robust foundation which would finally lead to the success of any venture, because after all, it is not a one-man job, right?
5. Be Far-sighted
Change is but a permanent phenomenon. The market changes, the economies evolve, the industries adapt, new technological advancements keep coming up all the time! When you are in the process of developing an MVP for any market or any industry, it is important that you consider the market as a living breathing creature that evolves perpetually. It is good to be aware of the current market scenario and design something for the current market environment. However, in keeping up with the current market conditions it is not wise to overlook the medium and long-term trends.
When you pay attention to the long-term trends you set yourself up for a longer and bigger success instead of simply making a quick buck and then fizzing out completely. If you choose the current trends and begin developing a product based on that, chances are, you are going to end up with something that would have been relevant sometime in the past.
6. Have A Clear Business Plan
I should not have to even put it here, but well here it is, and it is here for a reason. Building an app with a strong purpose and functionality is one thing, but it is also important that you have a business plan ready for it. It is quite common for the developers to underestimate the seriousness of creating a first version of any product. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is simply to go ahead with the belief that you can put a model up without considering the aspect of revenue and later when you think it appropriate add the revenue generation in to it. This might sound all good in theory but when it comes to the practicalities and the realities, you are setting yourself to fall flat!
Let’s say you have a great app and offering your services for free and the app gains a great deal of popularity. Now that you have gotten off the ground, you are thinking about introducing a revenue generation model, but the catch here is – who is going to want to pay for it now? It is a fact that getting people to suddenly start paying for something that they were getting for free is really tough. And, it is for this reason that you must have a clear business plan for your app, right from the start!
7. Keep Your Spirits High
The road to success is neither smooth, nor uneventful. You might be taking a few steps towards success and then have to take a couple of steps back during the whole process of development. The entire process of development, starting right from the conception of the idea right up to the execution or implementation is long winded and can get tough.
At this stage it is extremely important that you keep in mind the different elements of the project that you and the entire team is passionate about. It is this passion that would help you stay motivated even if the progress of the project faces some hiccups. Find your own source of motivation while remembering that it is only through perseverance that any measure of success may be achieved.
It is better not to begin with a rosy picture, but have a very realistic yet positive attitude, so that you can combat small setbacks and keep working to move ahead in the space.
When you are developing an MVP for your app, you might have a million little things and maybe hundreds of big things that would keep vying for your attention. As you get further and deep steeped into the development process you might feel overwhelmed and may feel that you are getting pulled from every possible direction. It is only natural that things would get chaotic, but if you give in to this chaos, you have a good chance of focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time.
Hence, it is of absolute importance to have the team come together and list out the priorities of the project and create a list of all the essential tasks. This list can effectively become a guiding list for the entire team while deciding how each member would be spending their time and their resources as they move through the development process.
9. The Launch
“Every Plan Seems Great Until the First Contact with The Enemy” goes the saying. This is true even in the context of your MVP. Now, you might feel like you have a brilliant product in your hands, but when you finally launch it to the general public and put it out there, you never know which way it is going to go. Once the product is out in the public space, and the customers or visitors begin using it, then you would start noticing the real problem areas. Hence, this process is definitely not the end of the road, but a way ahead for you to understand the way the targeted audience is going to react to it.
10. Tweak & Adjust
Now that the app is out there in the public and it has gone live, it is important that you plan ahead in order to address any issues or glitches that come up. It is important that you maintain the momentum with a new product or app. If people begin using your app and realize that there are problems and it doesn’t really perform according to their expectations, they are going to leave, and chances are that they are never coming back. Though it is true that most of the prospects or customers would understand that there would be hiccups in any new app, but this patience would quickly wear out! So, it is important that you put a suitably efficient system in place that can allows you to tweak the app and make needed adjustments.30 minutes