Minimum Viable Product: The Key To Testing Your Business Assumptions In App Development

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Development is an acknowledged strategy that has been incorporated by big, small, and medium enterprises globally. The general goals of MVP development are to validate the app idea and test the market. However, it is important to know that the goal of a particular MVP development must be specific and measurable.

Business assumptions you can test through an MVP

Though MVP development has general aims, it is necessary to know the exact business assumption that the MVP would work towards validating. Some of these business assumptions include:

1. There is an existing need for the services this app would be able to offer.

An app idea typically stems out from a perceived need. If the perceived need turns out to be non-existent, then the app might not be necessary at all. This is why it is important to validate whether the problem, concern, or need that was originally observed truly exists. Only when the need, problem, or concern exists would there be room to accept a solution for it.

The invalidation of such need may potentially lead to the altogether postponing of further app development. It would be better to know at the start, when the development is still ongoing, rather than discover it after the fully developed product is launched.

2. This app idea caters to that need.

Whether the app’s services are able or not able to cater to the need is an assumption until tested. Will these services meet the need? To what extent will the need be met? Are these services the best possible way to cater to this need? These are some questions that could help gauge the relevance of the app idea in catering to the need.

It is possible to start off with a bunch of app functions and app features yet not optimally cater to the need. Instead of doing so, making use of an MVP could help in determining which app functions or app features are considered central and vital to catering the need. It could also assist in differentiating the ones that are unnecessary and need not be included.

3. There is an existing market for this app and its services.

Products and services are typically released with target audiences in mind. Companies tend to make use of customer profiles that contain demographic information about their target customer. In relation to the first assumption, it is also important for these target customers to find the solution relevant and worth pursuing or purchasing. Through making use of specific types of MVPs, the existence of such a market could be either validated or invalidated.

This assumption also covers the law of demand and supply. Even if there is an abundant supply, the question would be whether there is a demand for it. The same goes for app development. It is important to test the demand and the degree of the demand in order to know how that demand can be met through the app. An MVP could help in achieving that.

4. The market would agree and accept the solutions that can be offered through this app.

Though app ideas are developed as perceived solutions to problems, it is no guarantee that the market would agree that the solutions offered through the app is what they are looking for. Making use of an MVP would help product owners to get live feedback from the market itself. Such feedback could aid in the further development of the app to suit market needs.

5. The market would be willing to pay in order to avail of these services.

Whether the services are worth paying for or not is another concern. There are those who would opt for free services over paid ones. Would the market value your app’s services as something worth paying for either on a one-time or consistent basis? Making use of an MVP could help product owners gain relevant insight to answering that question.

Unless validated, these assumptions remain as assumptions. Instead of proving or disproving these assumptions through the actual app launch, companies can choose to make use of an MVP in order to navigate strategically.

Depending on the specific assumption, a specific type of MVP may be developed and used.

Types of MVPs

Not all MVPs are the same. Different kinds of data could be generated and different goals can be met depending on the type of MVP that is used. Essentially, there are three overarching questions that could help in determining the type of MVP to be developed and used.

  • What problems, frustrations, or needs do you see?
  • What solution can you offer?
  • What amount would the customer be willing to pay for your solution? Is an existing viable market present?

The aforementioned business assumptions can be categorized further into these three questions. Those business assumptions can be tested with the use of specific types of MVPs.

Image 1. Questions and Hypotheses for Market Validation (Source: “Ultimate MVP Guidelines” by ICTS Custom Software)

1. What problems, frustrations, or needs do you see? Does this need actually exist?

This question generally refers to the problems, frustrations, or needs that led to the creation of the app in the first place. To answer this question, these type of MVPs can be put to use:

  • Customer Survey MVP
  • Email MVP
  • Audience-building MVP

2. What solution can you offer? Will the market agree and accept your solution?

An app or business idea in general typically stems out from being able to devise a solution to a presenting need in a specific market. These MVPs could help in answering this question.

  • Landing Page MVP
  • Explainer Video MVP
  • Ad Campaign MVP
  • Single Function MVP
  • Single Market MVP
  • Wizard of Oz MVP
  • Software MVP

3. What amount would the customer be willing to pay for your solution? Is an existing viable market present?

Willingness to pay is another concern to consider. These questions can be dealt with through these MVPs:

  • Pre-order MVP
  • Crowdfunding MVP
  • Sign up for trials MVP

Choosing which type of MVP to incorporate would depend on the kind of question it aims to answer and the specific assumption it aims to validate.

The reality is, though, that just because an MVP is used does not guarantee that the goals could be met. It is important to not just build and use an MVP, but to build a good MVP and use it well.

What makes a good MVP?

What sets a good MVP apart from a bad one? In general, a good MVP must be able to:

  • Cater to the most basic need of the target customer
  • Generate feedback
  • Retain users
  • Have a narrowed audience or focus on a single market segment
  • Emphasize testing
  • Have a contained launch

App success and failure can only be determined once validated. Every business and product owner starts the venture with success in mind. However, this thinking does not always coincide with reality.

Utilizing MVP development before finishing the entire app development process could help business and product owners make small but significant decisions and adjustments along the way. It could also help in making decisions that pertain to the bigger picture. This leads to a greater edge in navigating through the market. It may also further help the eventual launching of the product.

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ICTS Custom Software

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