How To Develop An MVP Using Agile Methodology
So, you have an excellent app or software idea, the next breakout solution that potentially disrupts your industry. Or your solution solves your customers’ pain points once and for all. How do you get it from concept to launch? One proven approach to software development is the agile methodology.
Agile can get your app into users’ hands faster than ever when applied correctly. This guide explores how to build your minimum viable product (MVP) in agile methodology.
Let’s start with defining what an MVP is in agile and what this approach means for your software development process.
MVP In Agile Defined
Agile is a concept that streamlines project development by changing your mindset about change and uncertainty. Simply put, the MVP in agile is about:
- Encouraging collaboration within your team, and
- Putting the customer first
Some agile principles include customer satisfaction, teamwork, workflow simplicity, and incorporating feedback.
You can use the agile methodology to develop your minimum viable product (MVP), which is:
- The simplest version of your application
- The first draft of your product that works, or
- The most practical stand-in version as you develop the complete solution
Therefore, MVP in agile means creating your solution’s simplest working version using the agile approach to development.
Why Agile Works for MVP Development
Of course, there are different approaches to product development, such as waterfall and DevOps, but agile leverages MVPs better than the rest. Some methodologies focus on creating the ideal product packed with features.
But they fail when they hit the market since real-world customers need only a fraction of the features. With the agile approach, you strip down your product to its bare bones and focus on practical features based on your customers’ feedback. This saves time and resources to get your solution to the market. Other benefits of the agile methodology MVP approach are:
1. Priceless Customer Feedback
The agile methodology gets your MVP out to your customers as fast as possible. You’ll gather valuable feedback about features and functionalities to inform your development process in the future.
- If your MVP hits the right spot with your users, you can improve upon them and deliver an even better product
- If not, you can correct your course and test other features based on that feedback
- If you’ve missed the mark, you can stop your project altogether and avoid wasting resources or making further losses
2. Test Your Core Functions
The agile methodology MVP approach allows you to add more features after testing rather than launching an untested feature-packed product. You present your core product features to your target market to see what resonates the most. Once you establish your MVP, you can identify your user profiles, product usage patterns, and monetization opportunities.
3. A Simple, Affordable Product
The agile methodology MVP approach saves significant resources during development and offers your product at a reasonable price. Since your product has no bells and whistles, you spend less on growth and give your customers good value for money. You can spend more on features and increase pricing as you develop your product.
6 Steps to Create Your Agile Methodology MVP
The agile methodology MVP process is straightforward for any product, including software solutions. Keep the following steps in mind as you think about your MVP:
1. State the Problem You Intend to Solve
Your product should exist to solve your customer’s problem; otherwise, there’s no need for it in the marketplace. A successful MVP should solve at least one core problem and gather enough attention from your target audience to offer their feedback.
2. Identify Your Competitors
The ideal MVP is 100% unique, but this is rarely the case. Conduct thorough competitor analysis to see which products already exist in the marketplace. Understand your industry or sector to temper your expectations as you create your MVP in agile. Otherwise, you place too much faith in your product and miss out on crucial data to support your concept.
Note: Use competitor analysis tools like Searchmetrics, Google Trends, Kompyte, and SimilarWeb to monitor your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.
3. Express Pain Points as Features
The easiest way to communicate your product’s value to your audience is to express your feature set as the answer to their problems. For example, if your solution helps customers to keep up with their medications, your core feature would include the following:
- Sending reminders as push notifications on their smartphone or smartwatch
- Uploading photos of the medications as visual cues
- Crossing off each of them after taking, and follow-up reminders if the user fails to mark the medication as taken.
In this example, your agile methodology MVP solution solves a real problem that your customers need to improve their health outcomes.
4. Identify Your Must-Have Features
Choose the essential features for your MVP in agile using the concepts below:
- The Pareto principle: 80% of your customers will use only 20% of your features.
- The prioritization matrix: Identify high impact/high urgency features compared to low impact/low urgency features.
- The MoSCoW approach: Identify your must-have, should-have, could-have, and won’t-have features.
Note: Involve everyone in your team when prioritizing your MVP features. Choose solely what improves your strategy and competitive advantage.
5. Develop Your Product
You’ve clearly outlined your MVP features and target customers at this stage. The next step is to begin your MVP in agile development. Your development process follows the principles of build, measure, and learn, a cycle that integrates experimentation with user feedback to inform your choices.
You must verify your assumptions or theories about your product, place the MVP into users’ hands, and decide whether to proceed as planned or pivot your approach or features.
6. Correct Your Strategy
As you gather feedback about your MVP, go back to the drawing board and ask yourself, “Is this what my customers want?” Listen to positive and negative feedback to understand which pain points need attention.
Ask for feedback through reviews or customer surveys to gauge your MVP’s performance. The agile methodology MVP process gives plenty of room to adjust and improve your product as long as you pay attention to user feedback.
5 Common Agile Methodology MVP Mistakes to Avoid
Entrepreneurs often get so excited about their products that they make common mistakes and miss their chance at success. Other than lacking capital, businesses fail because they do not know their target market and rush towards unrealistic goals. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when you use the MVP in the agile approach to developing your product.
Missing Your Niche
Your product can’t be everything to everybody, but it can be the world for a select few. That’s the essence of knowing your niche: you’ll know exactly which problems you’re solving for whom. Once you know what you do and do it well, you’ll get happy, loyal customers who will stick with your product from MVP to complete development.
Delaying Your Launch
An MVP in agile is the skeleton version of your product, and many entrepreneurs hesitate to present this to their target audience. Unfortunately, the more you procrastinate your launch, the more you dwell on assumptions.
You can’t know if your solution is viable unless you experience real-life market conditions. Similarly, many entrepreneurs fear negative feedback because they’re wholly invested in their product. However, criticism is a normal part of MVP development, so use it as a learning experience to improve your product.
How your MVP looks and works are crucial to its success. However, some entrepreneurs overlook basic design principles because the MVP is just a basic version. Others obsess over perfecting a gorgeous UX/UI and unnecessarily delay their launch.
Finding a balance between keeping your MVP simple and meeting essential design principles like balance, contrast, and proportion is key. You want to create a positive first impression and make your MVP easy to understand and use.
Adding Too Many Features, Or Not Enough
When it comes to MVP development, extra features complicate your product. At the same time, incomplete features make your MVP unusable. Choose the smallest number of features that add value for your users, then increase your functions as you test your product and gather feedback. Remember the Pareto principle above and focus on the 20% of features your target audience will use.
Failing to Learn
To understand what is MVP in agile, think of a science experiment. You begin with a hypothesis, then gather evidence to validate or disprove it. An MVP is a way to test your concept, so all feedback is important.
If feedback points towards a successful product, increase your investment and add more features. If it points to failure, then make the tough choice to stop and start over. Learn from the agile MVP process methodology to build solutions your customers actually need.
How To Accelerate Your MVP In Agile Concept With Sphere Partners
The agile methodology MVP process is a startup’s biggest creative challenge. If you follow the guidelines above, you’ll have a concrete idea of what is MVP in agile and what to expect. The next step is to find the right software development partner to bring your concept to life.
Sphere Partners have over 15 years of experience in MVP in agile development to accelerate your vision. Our global team of developers and designers implement your MVP in 5 simple steps:
Step 1: Visualize to understand your idea from the end-user and beyond to capture the workflows and differentiation of your product.
Step 2: Prioritize the must-have MVP features using the MoSCoW framework to define your product’s initial scope.
Step 3: Develop the MVP feature set through custom code and third-party APIs integrations.
Step 4: Validate your MVP’s features and functions with a thorough stakeholder review and prepare for launch.
Step 5: Continuous iteration to incorporate customer feedback, expansion of existing features and introduction of newly prioritized functionality into your next versions and builds.
In addition, you can trust Sphere Partners to:
- Conduct competitor analysis to understand your product’s market viability
- Professionally manage the unexpected but inevitable challenges into your MVP roadmap
- Demonstrate the MVP in agile meaning throughout development and launch
Sphere Partners are ready to bring your MVP concept from a great idea to a finished solution in your customers’ hands. You can entrust your solution to our unmatched expertise and proven success in agile project management. Contact us to begin your MVP in agile journey today.