Building a Minimum Viable Product Mobile App

July 25, 2019

App development can be costly, so it is vital that you only develop features that your customers really need in the beginning (A Minimum Viable Product) and then expand on these features as revenue streams are created and you have a greater understanding of the market.

An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a very simple version of a big idea stripped down to a single function, while maintaining the overall vision of the idea. It is an excellent method of validating an idea before committing to develop the full mobile app.

The majority of app ideas fail as a result of poor market research, and building an MVP can be used to gather feedback from your users with the least amount of effort, and then ultimately building a product that will be profitable. The priority features can then be identified after the MVP, and added to a development pipeline for the market-ready product so you don’t develop features that your users don’t need.

If your project requires investment, an MVP is usually essential for investors to even consider your idea  – even at early stage investment.

Consider this example:

A fruit farmer (Albert) has identified a need for an app to manage the full process of a farmers crop growing and sales cycle. It is a big idea and that has many features including:

  • Estimated times for crop delivery based on growing cycles
  • Expected crop size based on growing cycles and season
  • Administration of the delivery, shipping and cold storage process
  • Management and communication with external suppliers
  • Cost benefit analysis across different buyers in different regions and currencies

Albert is fairly confident that his ideas fulfill a need, but has limited budget and wants to get to market quickly.

Albert has two options:

  1. Develop the full idea, which may take up to 12 months, cost upwards of R1 million, and has a very real chance of not being profitable.
  2. Develop an MVP of a single idea that via market research is the most important.  This takes around 4 months, and around R250k to develop.

Albert opts for option 2  – developing the cost benefit analysis tool – and the idea is very well received by his test group. He then refines and launches the app, establishes a large user-base and recurring revenue through a subscription model, and then then uses this revenue to expand on other features that his customers have requested.

What are the Disadvantages of an MVP?

There are some theories that an MVP could hurt a company as they face the potential risk of imitation from competitors, or in a highly competitive market the risk of customers switching to a competing app that enters the market with a greater list of features.

These theories are not valid in my view, as an MVP should merely be a learning vehicle used to achieve a market ready product. The word “Product” in MVP is perhaps misleading, and creates the perception that it should be released to the general public, which in my opinion is not correct.

In summary, some of the characteristics of an MVP are:

  • A simple, single idea
  • Quick and cost effective to develop
  • Minimises the work effort undertaken on unproven ideas
  • Provides features that are customer focused
  • Is a learning vehicle and not a released product

 

Refresh have a full in-house team to guide you through the full process of scoping your idea, developing your MVP, and scaling the project based on feedback from your user base. Have a look at our pricing guide here, and our preferred MVP development tool. (Flutter)

When you are ready, give us a shout for a proposal and estimate for your app idea.

 

 

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