Is Market Research Necessary Before Minimum Viable Product Development?

Executive Director at GoodCore Software, a leading software development company based in the U.K.

Frank Robinson promoted the term minimum viable product (MVP) in 2001. He defines it as a “right-sized product, big enough to cause adoption, satisfaction, and sales.”

But that’s not the most descriptive explanation, is it? So, what’s an MVP? And why is it important for digital development?

What’s An MVP?

Does your business depend on investors? If yes, then you know they only invest if you provide a practical application and proof of success. The MVP is an elementary version of a new product with enough functionality and features for early customers and investors to explore.

Eric Ries promoted MVP production in his book, The Lean Startup. He opines that it helps “collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

MVP creation allows software developers to produce an engaging product that gives investors a preview of its value. Developers base future product development on user feedback and reviews.

Benefits Of MVP Development

So, an MVP allows businesses to test product ideas on early adopters in real market conditions with minimum risk. MVP development delivers other benefits, such as allowing businesses to:

Develop a product based on user needs.

Choose the core features of the product.

Boost the development team’s learning curve.

Validate product-based assumptions quickly.

Reduce production costs and time.

Create an agile and iterative process.

Explore if your startup is worth investing in.

Reduce chances of failure.

Starting MVP Development

There are many types of MVPs. Testing your MVP with different users and running focus groups usually gets you the best value. MVP software development offers users a product with essential features and core capabilities.

We’ve explored the value and benefits of developing an MVP. Now, let’s talk about how to create one.

Research is crucial before beginning MVP software development. Scope your MVP before you start building it. There are many great ideas floating around. Some end up as successful products; others never get beyond MVP development. Your decision to build will cost you, no matter what the outcome.

You should have a clear knowledge of your users and competitors first. It’s all about collecting enough of the right data. Stakeholder analysis and competitor benchmarking can direct your product decisions better. Initial research also helps in choosing key features later.

Conduct both qualitative and quantitative research through:

Co-creation.

Agile product testing.

Agile sprints.

Customer interviews.

Focus groups.

Surveys.

Online insight communities.

Factors To Investigate When Developing An MVP

You’re in the running for market success if your MVP attracts and engages early customers. Quick adoptions confirm that your product and concept are viable. Enhance user experiences and add advanced functions when launching your final product.

Consider the following criteria when planning your MVP:

What are your MVP’s value propositions?

Your value proposition is your one-line answer to what you do and what you offer. It should address the following:

What specific problem will your MVP solve, and what’s your target market?

How does your intended audience currently solve the problem?

How will your proposed product or service solve the stated problem?

What benefits will your solution offer your target audience?

Why is your solution better than any competitor’s product?

Which product-based assumptions should you validate?

Assumptions will surface from the answers to your value proposition and your elevator pitch. Determining which assumptions should be tested should help you:

Decide if building an MVP for your business idea is worth the investment.

Establish KPIs and performance metrics to measure MVP success.

Finalize key features for MVP development.

How can you validate product-based assumptions quickly?

Brainstorm which features are critical to your MVP’s success. To determine the fastest way to validate your product, ask yourself:

Will this feature prove or disprove an assumption?

Does this feature showcase my value proposition?

What You Need To Ask And Know Before Developing An MVP

Some startups never reach their potential. The most common reason for this is they didn’t conduct thorough market research before launching their business idea.

Identify goals that align with company objectives.

Take a step back from MVP building and think of your company’s goals and objectives. Match your company’s mission statement with your MVP idea. Does the MVP (especially if it’s your first business product) follow your mission statement? Will its projected value align with your business objectives?

Identify your product’s business and market needs.

Is there a sufficient market need for this expected product? Gather data that supports or refutes your solution. Qualitative research data validates existing gaps in the market. Remember, negative answers save time and money and are as valuable as a yes.

Identify early adopters for your MVP.

Engaging with early adopters is crucial. Your first customers test your product and provide valuable feedback. Determine their online and offline locations and reach them where they are, such as through:

Social media platforms.

Social media videos and ads.

Landing pages.

Digital ads.

Snail mail.

PR campaigns.

Find your customers. Follow them, talk to them and get to know them.

Identify your MVP’s biggest risks.

Conduct a thorough market and competitive analysis of what risks your product idea will face. Categorize them from high-risk to low-risk to determine roadblocks. Create a table that lists the type of risk, stakeholders to test, dependencies and ways to test. You may waste investments early in the process if you don’t get the right information.

Conclusion

Market research provides data about your potential customer’s expectations and needs. The right research will help you create an MVP that:

Displays adequate value so that customers begin to use or buy the product.

Advertises enough future benefits to keep early adopters engaged.

Prepares a feedback loop that will direct further development.

Fulfills your customers’ needs.

It’s time now to build and launch. Use the build, measure and learn cycle to keep improving. Feedback measures progress, examining pain points helps you learn and revisions keep you building.

Follow this iterative process to build the best version of your product. I hope it’s the “next big thing” that captures the market.


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