Updated: May 10
Over the years the MVP concept has become an integral part of product development strategy. Even for companies that work outside the IT or software industry, MVP is treated as an indispensable strategy. In today’s consumerism and hyper-competitive driven world, there probably won’t be any major company that doesn’t use this tried and tested concept.
But what really is MVP and why it has emerged as an important strategy?
What is MVP?
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. It is essentially a rough version of the digital product (mobile apps & software) that is laced with bare minimum functionality. It is certainly not a fully functional product. It is an experimentation that needs constant validation.
Conventionally, the bare minimum functionality is enough to get the product tested in different phases. Based on the feedback and outcome garnered in these different phases, the product’s future course of development is decided.
What is Agile Methodology?
The agile way is to efficiently manage a business project essentially by breaking the project into several different phases. However, speaking strictly in the context of MVP, Agile Methodology is considered the most effective process to turn a rough vision or experimental product into a final digital product. Just like in other business projects, Agile in MVP necessitates employing constant learning, continuous product enhancement, taking feedback, pivoting and team collaboration.
Agile Methodology is further classified into various types including Kanban, Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Crystal, Dynamic Systems Development Method, Feature Driven Development (FDD) and Lean Software Development.
Among all these frameworks, Scrum and Kanban are by far the most popular among IT and software development companies.
Benefits of using Agile methodology for building an MVP
Among the many reasons why companies use the Agile frame for MVP product development, here are some of the most prominent ones for you.
1. Agile breaks MVP product development into small iterations and phases.
This gives enough scope for carrying out introspection for bringing new changes as well as improvements to the product.
2. Agile encourages and prompts continuous collaboration between all the important stakeholders.
Product owners, project managers and software developers. This allows pivoting and bringing changes into the product in a more real-time and responsive manner. Simultaneously, it helps in saving enormous amounts of time and energy as well as mismatched expectations.
3. Since MVP in agile is characterized by constant feedback and a trial & error process, it leads to a reduction of risk.
Notably, every iteration phase is geared toward adding value to the product, which eventually helps the company in making a near market fit product. More importantly, the company manages to minimize the risk by not building a product that goes against the market expectation. The company is also spared from
4. Minimum viable product in agile is equally characterized by predictability and visibility.
The continuous collaboration, iteration phases and constant feedback bring a considerable amount of predictability as well as visibility to the project. The company is in a much better position in predicting the final outcome. Besides, it gets a rough estimation of the time and energy required to complete the project.
Important steps in Agile project management for building an MVP
Agile methodology broadly includes 6 steps while it is deployed for building minimum viable product or otherwise.
1. Defining the fundamentals of the project:
Define all the fundamental aspects of the project explicitly. These aspects mostly include the final goal of the project, duration, budget requirement, team members and so forth.
2. Product breakup:
This methodology is inherently geared towards delivering the final product through a shorter product life cycle. This life cycle is broken into different aspects that essentially help in tracking the development of the product. These aspects include roughly defining the key features of the product, expected flaws, having clarity about the strengths and weaknesses of the product so and so forth. Without a doubt, product development is an important part of the project.
3. Iteration phases:
The short product life cycle is classified into short iteration phases. Something that has already been amplified in the above paragraphs. The team has to clearly define the timeline of these short sprints and the targets set for each sprint. Equally important is to define the workload of each team member during each sprint and make sure that the workload is divided evenly.
4. Sprint review and introspection:
After the end of each sprint, the team needs to sit down and review the progress it has made during the iteration phase. Needless to say, all the important stakeholders will be involved in this detailed feedback session. After taking into account the feedback garnered after the testing phasing, the team has to decide upon the future course of action.
Building a minimum viable product through Agile methodology offers overwhelming advantages to companies across the board. The biggest benefit is that it helps companies to launch a product without investing large capital. This invariably helps companies in reducing their risk capital and prevents them from putting undue stress on their balance sheet. Due to such intrinsic advantages, most companies will continue to use MVP and Agile methodology in the foreseeable future.