MVP Development | Launch Plan, Skills, Investments

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Development Guide - ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft has been providing end-to end software development services for startups and enterprises since 1989 and practicing iterative Agile software delivery since 2007.

MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: THE ESSENCE

Minimum viable product (MVP) development is building a software version with core features and minimalist design, using basic infrastructure. Deploying an MVP, you verify business assumptions for custom software and test the demand for a new product, with minimum investments.

MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

The number of MVP development steps and their duration will vary depending on the complexity and novelty of a solution, as well as a minimum viable product type. Below are the typical MVP development steps.

Step 1. Discovery and MVP planning

(2 weeks – 1 month)

Business analysis FOR PRODUCTS

  • Product idea generation.
  • Target market, customer, and competitor research.
  • Creating a product concept.
  • Identifying the selling price.
  • Planning a KPI dashboard for MVP.

Check a sample KPI set for MVP

An informative KPI set can be lean and have, e.g., 3 key groups:

  • Customer acquisition (e.g., the number of signups, the number of downloads, customer acquisition cost).
  • Customer engagement and satisfaction (e.g., CSAT, shares/reactivations/invites).
  • Predicted revenue (e.g., customer lifetime value, predicted monthly recurring revenue).

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Business analysis FOR CUSTOM ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE

  • Identification of business needs and business process improvement options.
  • Project stakeholder interviewing and analysis.
  • Software idea conceptualization.

Feature road-mapping

  • Feature outline for the full software version.
  • Feature prioritization for the full software version based on user stories, user scenarios, prioritization techniques (e.g., Kano and MoSCoW), cost-benefit analysis, etc.
  • Deciding on MVP functionality.

MVP architecture design

with attention to:

  • High-level design of the final solution (if the MVP won’t be re-built in the future, but further improved in iterations).
  • Performance requirements.
  • Information security requirements.
  • HIPAA, FDA, PCI DSS compliance (if needed).

Planning MVP integrations

with third-party systems (if needed).

Choosing a technology stack

for the optimum MVP development time, costs and efforts, software reliability (if the MVP is to stay and be further improved in iterations, the full software version should be kept in mind in the course of all considerations).

Step 2. Proof-Of-Concept (optional) and rapid prototyping (optional)

(~2 month)

To demonstrate the software concept in a sales context, give an understanding of how the software will work to stakeholders, or check technical feasibility of software based on a highly innovative idea.

Step 3. MVP development project planning

The main focus areas are:

  • MVP development project scope.
  • MVP development project deliverables.
  • MVP development budget planning.
  • The PM methodology (most often, one of the Agile options – Scrum, extreme programming (XP), etc.).
  • MVP development project timeline.
  • MVP development project schedule and breakdown into iterations and deliverables.
  • MVP development project risks charter.

Step 4. MVP development

No-code MVP development (~1-2 days)

The demand for a new product or an application’s ability to meet business needs can be first tested without actual coding and with minimum possible investments. Your MVP can be:

  • A ‘landing page’ MVP (for products) – text or video presentation that introduces your idea to a target audience to evaluate the demand via requests or sign-up forms, and also analyze the interest in the features and prioritize the development accordingly.
  • A ‘flintstone’ MVP – advertising new software and faking the automation of processes you want it to perform, handling them manually behind-the-scenes.

Note: If a no-code MVP turns successful, plan a code-based MVP soon enough to be ahead of competitors and not get overwhelmed with the processes executed manually (a ‘flintstone’ MVP case).

Code-based MVP development

The types we recommend considering are:

  • Single-feature MVP – implementing one key feature of future software that creates the core value.
  • 'Piecemeal' MVP – creating a product/a custom application version comprising its basic features out of ready-made elements (created by you in the previous projects or available open source). Later, you are likely to update or replace the reused parts.

The development of a software-based MVP has the following stages:

1

MVP UX design

2

MVP UI design

3

MVP coding

Step 5. MVP launch and further iterations

Software gets deployed to the production environment ready for use. Complex MVPs can be first moved through testing and staging environments so that the team could safely introduce changes or catch remaining mistakes before releasing software.

Monitoring how users communicate with the MVP, the project team:

  • Validates or redefines user stories.
  • Identifies arising risks and updates a risk management plan
  • Adjusts feature/features.

If the MVP gets market validation or shows positive changes in business processes, it can be completely rebuilt or further improved to cater for the needs and expectations of a growing number of users.

Project Manager

– oversees an MVP project, including delivery on time and on budget, preventing feature creep, etc.

Business Analyst (BA)

– elicits functional and non-functional MVP requirements, technical limitations, defines MVP modules and integrations with other systems.

UX Designer

– performs UX research, designs minimum necessary user interactions with an MVP, and information architecture, conducts usability testing.

UI Designer

– working closely with UX designers, creates aesthetically pleasing, custom visual style of the user-facing MVP interface.

Back-end developers (1-3)

– builds the MVP server side and APIs.

Front-end developer

– creates the MVP client side.

Quality Assurance Engineer (optional)

– designs and implements the test strategy, plans and cases, validates the developed MVP and produces test summary reports.

Additional talents can be required, depending on the nature of the project, for example, you may need to draw on the skills of data scientists, 3D designers, etc.

All in-house

Pros: 

  • Direct supervision over the MVP development process and team productivity.

Cons: 

  • High costs.
  • No quick access to specific competencies.
  • Prolonged MVP project start (if you don’t have a development department yet).
  • All hiring and managerial efforts are on your side.

Partial outsourcing of technical resources

Pros: 

  • Optimal resource usage at peak times.
  • Quick access to specific tech knowledge when required.

Cons:

  • Project team coordination, quick and quality MVP delivery concerns and risk management are on your side.

Full outsourcing of technical resources

Pros: 

  • Fast MVP development project ramp-up.
  • Established communication and processes within the technical team.

Cons:

  • Project team coordination, quick and quality MVP delivery concerns and risk management are partially or totally on your side.

Full process outsourcing

Pros:

  • Vendor assumes full responsibility for the team arrangement and management, MVP development process establishment and coordination, quality of the results and related development risk management.

Cons:

  • Vendor risks are higher.

Start Off with MVP to Go Big

At ScienceSoft, we have established processes and pre-selected teams with all the tech knowledge and skills to deliver your MVP – from initial design to development and launch – in a speedy and lean mode.

TECHNOLOGIES WE RECOMMEND USING IN MVP DEVELOPMENT

ScienceSoft recommends considering popular clouds (Azure, AWS) to quickly lay the foundation for a modern cloud-native application able to take advantage of the cloud elasticity and scalability and multiple ready-to-use cloud services (messaging, service discovery, AI, VR, IoT, data science, and more) offered by cloud providers.

Microsoft Azure

Description

Leader in Gartner’s quadrants for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services, Full Life Cycle API Management, Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service (EiPaaS).

  • Ready-to-go services for advanced functionality (IoT, AI and machine learning, blockchain).
  • Globally spread Content Delivery Network.
  • Built-in containerization and orchestration tools.
  • CI/CD management tools for automated building, testing and deployment.
  • Scalable serverless data storage.
  • Azure free account allows free access to popular Azure services (including Azure Virtual Machines, Azure SQL Database) for 12 months and access to more than 25 Azure services that are always free (including Azure App Services, Azure DevOps, Azure Machine Learning).

AWS

Description

Has been leading Gartner’s quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services for 9 consecutive years.

  • Ready-to-go services for advanced functionality (e.g., AI and ML, blockchain, media broadcasting).
  • Global content delivery.
  • Built-in containerization and orchestration tools.
  • DevOps and CI/CD tools (AWS CodeStar AWS CodePipeline).
  • Scalable serverless data storage.
  • Some AWS services include a perpetual free tier that offers enough capacity to validate MVP.

Power BI Embedded

Description

Power BI is a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms. With Power BI Embedded you can:

  • Easily embed reports and dashboards into an application.
  • Start quickly with an extensive library of data connectors, fully documented APIs and SDKs.

Pricing (with Azure nodes):

Pay-as-you-go pricing model: from $1.0081/hour to $32.2506/hour depending on the node type chosen and the number of nodes deployed.

The investments for a launch of a software-based MVP vary a lot – from approximately 1/10 to 1/2…1/3 of the final software cost.

The grand total for MVP development depends on a multitude of factors:

  • Application type (web, mobile, desktop); number of platforms supported (for mobile).
  • Number and complexity of features.
  • Uniqueness and complexity of design.
  • Number and complexity of integrations with third-party systems (e.g., ERP, accounting software, DMS; one-way or two-way integration).
  • MVP performance, availability, security, latent capacity and scalability requirements.
  • Necessity to maintain existing data (for custom enterprise software MVP in case of migration).
  • Location of MVP development (US, Europe, Asia) in case of outsourced development.

BUILD THE RIGHT MVP WITH SCIENCESOFT

With hundreds of successful minimum viable product development projects under our belt, we can help with:

MVP development consulting

Our consultants:

  • Help with your idea conceptualization.
  • Define MVP functionality.
  • Determine MVP tech stack and architecture.
  • Advise on disruptive techs (AI, machine learning, big data, AR/VR, etc.).
  • Help comply with GDPR, and your industry standards and regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, FIPS, and COPPA.
  • Deliver a detailed MVP implementation roadmap.

End-to-end MVP development

Our team takes over:

  • Product/enterprise application idea conceptualization and feature management.
  • MVP UX and UI design.
  • MVP development and testing.
  • Integrations with third-party systems.
  • MVP launch and support.
  • MVP performance evaluation and further iterations.

About ScienceSoft

A US-based IT consulting and IT service company, ScienceSoft has been helping startups and enterprises envision and build software since 1989. Contact us if you want to quickly verify your software idea with a high-quality MVP.