Let’s start by explaining what an MVP actually is. A minimum viable product (MVP) is a term used to describe the first draft of a product, whose purpose is testing. Minimum means that the product needs to have a minimum amount of features and has to be working on a minimum level. On the technical side, MVP doesn’t need to be aesthetically pleasing nor cool. It has to be a snippet of its full potential, so when developing MVP it’s advised to focus on the most important feature (or features) that will make your product stand out. Product differentiators, if you will.
Let’s say you’ve got a brilliant idea. Now there’s a lot of work ahead of you. The first important question is: does your idea provide a solution to a real-life problem? If the answer is yes, then you’re on the right track. Think deeply about your potential customers - would they really need your product? How would they benefit from it? You need to write all of these ideas down - the more, the better. It’ll be useful in the development stage.
It’s definitely better and more common to use outsourcing when developing your MVP. At the start of your startup, you’re probably dealing with a tight budget. Hiring an in-house team of developers would drain your finances. But the biggest advantage of having a dedicated software house for your project is that you gain skilled specialists that can help you with business strategy, market analysis, and prospects. With their insight, your MVP has a much better chance of being successful.
Before you start hiring people for the development of your MVP, you need to establish your budget. Some MVPs are cheap because they’re made like landing pages and their functions are limited only to signing up. These types of MVPs can work for some occasions i.e. with a limited budget and a small number of functions. On the other hand, there are MVPs that are almost as good as the final product only lacking final adjustments.
If you’re trying to test out your idea, which is the actual purpose of any MVP, you don’t need to splurge on it. Be rational. At the end of the day the startup way of doing business is all about small steps and making improvements. So it’s definitely better to release a limited but functional and ready for improvement MVP than to release an expensive app without testing it and fail in the beginning.
The development process of an MVP can take up to three months, depending on the complexity of the project and the abilities of your team. However, the goal of this process is to deliver as fast as possible. After all, you want to start testing ASAP.