#MVP, #product
30 March 2021
Julianna Sykutera

10 Most Common Mistakes During MVP Development

Before starting, we first have to know – what is an MVP in the context of software development? MVP is an acronym that stands for “Minimum Viable Product”. Basically, it’s a version of a product with a basic set of features which represent the core functionalities of the final product (app, website, landing page etc.). The purpose of the MVP is to test the product with potential customers. Based on their feedback it would be decided which features to keep/change/remove, or whether the project is viable at all.

MVPs are especially important for startups. Most of the time, startups are founded by young entrepreneurs with an idea for a product but few resources. To be able to prove to potential investors that their idea truly has merit, the company needs proof – which can be provided by the MVP. MVP software development usually requires less time and money compared to developing a full-fledged product. Therefore, a startup can have a huge advantage if it’s able to provide proof-of-concept as soon as possible!

Startups and founders with no experience in MVP development will undoubtedly have to cross many hurdles in their work. These can significantly delay the deployment of the MVP. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes developers are prone to make during MVP development, and what can be done to avoid them!

What can go wrong during MVP development?

Even though this is only version 1.0 of your product, MVP development is quite a hassle.

1. Ignoring market research

The first step in project development is the market research, and for a good reason. Analyzing the market is essential as it will give the first indication on whether the project is worth pursuing or not. Otherwise, you might end up spending a bunch of money trying to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist or develop a product that is not unique/superior. After conducting this investigation, some business owners choose to completely ignore the analysis results, and resolutely go forward with their idea. While this can pay off for some, for most it’s a dangerous game to play. The project could easily fail while consuming a lot of (ultimately) wasted time and money.

2. Over-complicating the MVP

The MVP does NOT have to be perfect. The very definition for MVP states that it should consist of the very basic features that represent the product. Unfortunately, many companies ignore this and go overboard with implementing features which are not necessary at this point of the product development. Primarily, this will mean adding time and costs to the MVP development, leading to a delayed launch of the product. This delay defeats the very purpose of the MVP! The project scope should be determined in advance and strictly adhered to in order to avoid piling on too many irrelevant product features.

3. Minimalism

On the other end of the spectrum, developers can over-minimize as well. Sometimes, out of fear of cluttering, they end up not including features which could be important for the customer. It’s important to strike a balance, because even if the term MVP has “minimum” in it, it still has to be viable. 

4. Choice of development method

Once the project scope has been determined, the developers usually choose a development method for their project. There are quite a few software development methodologies to choose from: Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, Lean, Scrum, Feature-Driven Development, and others. The project parameters will dictate the choice of methodology. But even if it works on paper, it doesn’t mean that it’ll work out in reality. The wrong choice of methodology can severely slow down the startup MVP development. Inexperienced founders might be better off hiring an MVP development company, which can save them time and money in the long run. 

5. Selecting the wrong development team

Startups usually don’t have the money to hire an entire development team and start off with only a handful of employees. In this case, one employee can have multiple roles and job positions, which can significantly delay every step of the process. Some startups might make the conscious decision of spending most of their resources to hire a team. However, it’s unlikely they will know if the team members will be able to cooperate successfully. If the founders lack experience and/or knowledge in coding or MVP development, it’s a good idea to think about outsourcing to a software house. Companies dedicated to MVP software development have well established teams whose members work well with each other and are able to produce the MVP on time.

6. Lack of communication

In every step of the MVP development process, communication is key! Whether it’s within a development team, or between the team and the customer, the project is likely to fail or be seriously delayed if communication is inefficient. Check out our blog post on Communication Practices to see how you can improve.

7. Not prototyping

The MVP is kind of a prototype for the final product. However, the MVP itself needs a prototype too! You don’t just jump right into the project without having an idea for how it will look like! Developers come up with a variety of prototypes for the design of the MVP in a short amount of time, and which require less effort because the developing phase hasn’t started yet. This way ideas can easily be scrapped, modified, or adapted. Once a final design has been agreed upon, and work on the MVP actually starts, it’s much harder and costlier to make those changes.

8. Not preparing for scaling

Scaling in this context means to update the features and capacity of the MVP to closely resemble the final product functionalities.  If you want to be competitive, you need to be prepared to scale your MVP to a usable product quickly after receiving user feedback. While this requires a lot of technical preparation, it’s something to seriously consider. 

9. No monetization plan

The MVP might be amazing, and the product well received. But are people willing to pay for it? You can’t develop the MVP first and then think about the money later. You need to have a well thought-out strategy for monetizing your product. 

10. Ignoring user feedback

You’ve launched your MVP and have received the feedback from the users. After all, that’s a big reason why you made an MVP in the first place. Hence, the worst thing you could do is – ignore the results. The product should be changed or adjusted based on user criticism and interaction data, making the MVP evaluation by users extremely important. After all, if your potential customers don’t feel that their needs are being addressed, why would they choose your product?

Conclusion

Not all MVPs are successful. Creating an MVP for the first time is bound to be a challenging and frustrating task. Many companies end up burning through their resources too quickly due to a lack of planning or experience. This is why we’ve made this post – to serve as a useful guide for businesses preparing for MVP development. Always keep in mind the option to outsource your MVP development to experienced software companies.

Our team has already delivered dozens of MVPs for our clients so you can count on us!

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