How to Choose Core Features for an MVP

MVP - the best way to test your business concept early on and save your money
Fri May 26 2017

The notion of an MVP (a minimum viable product) is widely known by any person who has ever been connected to the startup world. The 2 people who started to popularize this term were startup gurus Eric Ries and Steve Blank. They define an MVP as a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

However, when it comes to an MVP development lots of people get confused about it. Some people say that an MVP is just a landing page that provides the customers with the most necessary information. Some people say that it’s a fully functioning product with the most of the features (but in such case it’s rather a v.1 of the product but not an MVP). Others say that an interactive prototype is already an MVP.

But the problem is that this notion is far more complicated and there is no a certain list of features that can be acquired to every single MVP. The approach to building an MVP is highly individual.

Now, let’s find out why it’s critical to have an MVP for your startup.

  1. The first and the most appealing reason for any businessman is that it helps save your money. When you are just at a very beginning, you can’t be sure that your idea will win. Therefore, you need to test it. At the same time you don’t want to spend much money on something that you think may not give you much profit. In such case an MVP is something that you should build first.

  2. Secondly, if you have an MVP you can go to the market at test your idea. In that way you can find early adopters of your product.

  3. Moreover, by connecting early with the users you can find out what they think of your product, what features they find the most useful ones, what features they lack and, in general, understand, if they’ll use the product in future.

Unfortunately, many people confuse minimal with simple. If you build an MVP, it doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice the quality of the product. Yeah, that’s right, build a product with little features, but anyway, the product should be a high quality one, that will perform at its highest capacity.

So, we’ve come to a conclusion that an MVP is crucial for your startup. However, the next and the most difficult thing is how to find those features that are necessary to be built.

Well, first of all, you should define what your target audience is. Of course, you’ll have various types of users that will buy your product in the future. But, at the beginning, it’s necessary to hit only one particular audience. Think of your user persona: gender, age, education, hobbies and what their problems your product will solve.  

The second step is to write a storyboard. In other words, you should think of the way that your user will go through while using your product.

Once you’ve outlined the persona and the storyboard, the next step is to decide what feature are the MUSTs for your MVP and what feature are the NEEDs. MVP supposes that you will build a product that has the functions that are the most necessary for the users. The words “It would be nice to have this or that feature” shouldn’t be said while you are building an MVP. Think critically. Once you’ve found the minimal features, look through them again. For sure, you’ll find something that can be excluded from it. And repeat this process until you feel that there is nothing else to be cut. In other words, your MVP should be focused only on those features which are really necessary to test and validate the idea.

When building an MVP it’s good to remember about Pareto principle which says that: 80% of the features you build require on 20% of your efforts, whereas, the remaining 20% of the features will need 80% of your efforts. So, while building an MVP you’d better pay your attention to those 80% and take from them the most relevant ones.

It’s also a good idea to create a list of feature for every stage of the development process. Then prioritize the list of feature inside the list. Answer yourself the following questions: How important is this feature? How often will it be used? How many users do you expect to use this feature? and so on. It’s also a good idea a grade the features from 1 to 10: 1 - the least important, 10 - the most important.

Start testing your MVP as soon as you can. Remember, that if it takes you months to build the product then it’s not an MVP. Usually, a simple MVP shouldn’t require more than a month to be completed. Don’t be afraid to launch it if some features are still not completed. At the same time, don’t be scared of any complaints that you get from the customers. If they say that something doesn’t work or works not in the way they expect, that’s great! This is exactly what you created the MVP for - to improve your product and make timely changes before you launch it to the wide audience.

To test is the feature is necessary or not, you can simply create a button for it and measure how many users will click on it. Such way will help you find out what you should add in the future or what you should exclude from the product.

Also, you should think of your time and budget even before you start building an MVP. The case is that if you are short of time and money resources, you’ll be able to choose from the features that you want to implement only those that fit your time and budget constraints.

At Brocoders we help you transform your idea into a real business analyzing it and making necessary researches. We’ve worked with many startups but whatever the project was, we always advised our clients to launch an MVP.

As a rule, we start from finding out the core feature that are crucial for your MVP. Once the core features are outlined, we help you prioritize them from the most important to the least important ones. And after we move to the development stage, that  never takes more than 3 months.

So, a Minimum Viable Product - is the product that can solve your user’s main problems better than any other existing product. After you’ve built your MVP and proved that it’s exactly what your clients need, you can move to the next step and build the next version of your product.

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