FAQ on MVP Development for Startups
What MVP Is All About?
MVP stands for minimum viable product, the very basic version of the new product with the optimal set of features enough to test the hypothesis whether the core startup idea will find its demand among clients. Building such a product as a MVP startup is all about getting the initial feedback from users or, in this case, early adopters. First introduced by Eric Ries in 2008, the approach of developing a minimum, yet enough for validated learning, version of the product is now widely applied not only by startups, but by large corporations launching new product lines as well. The main benefit of this methodology lies in receiving the first feedback as early as possible and tuning the business concept according to it further. One of the most common examples in IT world is going for hybrid mobile development for the new app instead of coding native Android and iOS products.
Outsourcing product development is an optimal solution for startups
Importance of MVP for Startups
All these issues can be tackled through the implementation of a minimum viable product or MVP. Startup founders are likely to search for financial support among angel investors, banks or crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but to attract contributors they have to prove, that the idea of the venture is not completely abstract – it is feasible, and that the project has potential to succeed. MVP is a working solution, as it is a material embodiment of the startup idea, which gives the would-be investors understanding of what they are contributing to. Besides, launching a sort of demo helps the owner see users’ reaction to the product, its weak points and drawbacks. At the same time MVPs are usually low-cost and fast to execute.
Startups connected with IT sphere, namely mobile application development, have a whole range of questions to answer, like “what platform to focus on? what framework or language to choose?” and many others. Years of experience in mobile app development have shown that the best solution for young startups is building a hybrid MVP. Native application development by MVP startup developer, unlike hybrid, means twice as many human, time and consequently financial resources spent for coding and maintaining two separate applications (for Android and iOS operating systems) by two separate teams of developers, which is definitely an unattainable luxury for young startups.
Is the MVP Method Suitable for All Technological Startups?
There are two types of innovations startups may be based at:
- sustaining (satisfying existing market with predicted needs)
- disruptive (offering products to the new markets with assumed needs).
MVP will work great for testing disruptive innovation, but will fail in applying it to the product based on sustaining innovation. MVP startup engineer can launch MVP when startup doesn’t have defined audience yet, when it suggests solution to the new problem or new emerging needs. In this case the innovation lying behind the prototype would be enough reason for early adopters to purchase or sign up for the product.
Why Opt for Multi Platform Development
Hybrid MVP product development development for startups is an effective and cheap option for a few reasons:
- It is a multi platform development which means that one code can function on devices with different operation systems.
- A number of free tools and frameworks like Apache Cordova eases the development process and gives the application access to native capabilities of the device, which hybrid apps do not possess initially.
Besides, in case of updates, users of hybrid applications don’t have to install them manually, since everything is done automatically for them, given that they have internet connection. Thus, multi platform app saves budget and time of the startups and provides fairly good user experience. Eventually, only after hybrid MVP is released and proves to be worthy, all the downsides are eliminated and investments for further project completion are made, entrepreneurs might precede to developing costly and time-consuming native mobile applications.
Infographics with the information on hybrid development, such as technologies used in hybrid mobile development, popular hybrid apps, pros of hybrid apps and statistics on using mobile apps and IT solutions in UK business.
What Challenges Are Facing Startups Starting out Their Product Development?
New MVP startups are usually struggling with the problem of finding the best technologies for building a basic version of product enough for testing their hypothesis for a very limited budget. Despite of having great innovative ideas in mind and clearly seeing the target audience, not all startup companies have enough resources to properly plan, prototype, implement and test the product. Another problem is limiting the scope of possible product functions. Since MVP methodology assumes leaving out all fancy product features leaving only those, which would actually let the prototype work, it’s not always easy to define which scope of possible features is really essential for design and product development.
What Are the Signs That Can Indicate You Should Turn to Outsourcing Product Development?
There are several signs, which may point at the need of outsourcing MVP web development, they include:
- absence of MVP project management experience. Success of the prototype depends much on how thoroughly it was planned and project management experience is the key to detailed and correct planning. Many startup owners come from non-IT fields and have never managed building a technological product from scratch. In this case turning to a full-service agency is highly recommended to have successful MVP startup development.
- lack of resources. Sometimes startups simply have no reasons to keep the whole team of developers and designers in their office, since the business itself operates in a different industry. In this case hiring and educating in-house team sounds unreasonable, and outsourcing product development to IT company and for MVP startup coding would be the most affordable and effective solution.
- lack of technological expertise. One of the key advantages of cooperating with large outsourcing companies for MVP startup web development is their ability to advise the best technological solution and possible frameworks suitable for minimum viable product development. So if a startup has an idea of “what” they would want to do, but not “how” to do it, outsourcing product development will be the optimal solution, which solves design and product development issues at once.
Does Turning to Outsourced Product Development Can Be Dangerous?
Working with third-party vendors always assumes the risks from different business aspects: from confidentiality to simply not having the product done. But there are the measures, which could minimize such risks during minimum viable product development, they include:
- always request signing NDA prior to sharing any product concepts and project plans to avoid issues with sharing confidential data about your MVP startup programming,
- request basic mockup of the UI before signing up to ensure you are on the same page with the MVP startup development company,
- inquire about the past company experience in relevant markets to test their qualification,
- get the precise estimate and agreed milestones to avoid overcharging,
- request references to prove company credibility.
What Are the Stages of Working with an Outsourcing Company?
Working with an outsourcing company is quite straightforward: a client submits the project requirements and receives an estimate split into milestones from the Project Manager. Additional details and questions from the development team about MVP startup engineering are discussed with the client during the phone call. Client and Account Manager agree to the delivery dates and payment schedule and client signs the contract meaning the start of the project which usually is native or hybrid mobile development. Within the agreed time frames a designer prepares the wireframes and UI/UX mockups, the client reviews and comments on them. Once the design is approved, developers start coding the product and deliver it within the agreed deadline. Before the product goes for review to the client, it passes QA testing and possible bugfix. After completing the adjustments requested by the client, the company delivers the final product.
Our Experience with Hybrid App Development for UK Startup
One of the latest Mobilunity experiences of multi platform application development was the GLEAT project founded by ambitious UK startup. GLEAT is a mobile app which connects people fond of dining in and delicious home-made dishes. When GLEAT CEO and co founder Mirko Lagattolla started cooperation with Mobilunity, there already existed a version of dining application which needed debugging and modification. The process of testing and fixing was neither long nor challenging due to the fact that this was a hybrid MVP, and developers and QAs had to work with one code only. On the whole, the issues with the existing app were corrected within 10 days and immediately the Discovery phase for a new upgraded version of the app began.
A screenshot of a hybrid mobile app GLEAT developed by Mobilunity for UK startup
This example again proves, that cross platform hybrid apps are the best choice for MVP software development of startups, as this is the right way to spare money and effort and deliver a product worth of investments.
Can a Company with the Ready Product Request Improvements of It from the Outsourcing Company?
There are no limitations of the types of companies, which could benefit from outsourcing product development to dedicated IT companies. Even if the company already has existing products and would like them improved or fixed, it may still turn to the outsourcing company. Such companies as Mobilunity provide full-cycle MVP development services for startup from basic prototyping to custom systems development in addition to website maintenance, marketing and client support services. So whatever request online company may have in mind, the task could be outsourced and effectively done.