How to Build a Killer MVP App: Introduction


How to Build a Killer MVP App: Introduction

Over the last 15 years, Grio has collaborated with companies of all sizes—from Bay Area startups to Fortune 500 companies—to create hundreds of exceptional software solutions, including MVPs, B2B apps, and consumer-facing products for global brands.

Though there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to building an app, we’ve discovered that starting your journey with your Minimum Value Product (MVP) is a great way to set yourself up for long-term success. 

In this blog series, we are taking our hard-won wisdom and sharing Grio’s ten essential steps for building a killer MVP. However, before we dive into each of the steps, let’s discuss what an MVP is and why you need one.  

What is an MVP App?

Screenshots of a minimum viable product (MVP) for IoT startup, Sutro
An MVP App for IoT startup, Sutro

An MVP, or minimal viable product, is essentially the bare-bones version of your app. The MVP app-building philosophy focuses on designing and building out only the most essential pieces of the app to meet the needs of your target users.

An MVP app is a great approach for a wide variety of companies and business objectives because it allows you to quickly and efficiently put your app in front of users to measure its success. The MVP approach supports minimal, yet must-have features, with a mindset that is restrained and ruthlessly efficient.

Though an MVP app only includes the “minimal” features, it still requires a variety of components and services behind the scenes. Depending on the product, there may be databases for storing information, authentication services to log you in, notification services to send you emails and alerts, and many others. Building an MVP often involves more than just the app you see on your phone or the website in your browser.

Eric Ries, the author of Lean Startup, defined an MVP succinctly as, “the version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

Why Build an MVP App?

There are a variety of reasons why starting with an MVP can be a smart business decision for the success of your product.

Building an MVP will provide early, rapid, and critical insights into product-market adoption to:

  • Test the viability of your product
  • Save time and money on development
  • Go to market sooner
  • Engage investors and stakeholders

Test the Viability of Your Product

An MVP’s design is based around the solution to a particular user problem based on the results of research, testing, and intuition. When the MVP is released to market, there are two possible outcomes:

  • Successful Product-Market Fit: When there is product-market fit, the MVP is adopted favorably by users, thereby validating the product and its solution to the problem. Based on user feedback, it is then time to hone, iterate, and refine.
  • Poor Product-Market Fit: When you’re unable to demonstrate product-market fit, it is important to establish the reason. This will allow you to determine whether additional investment is warranted, or if your company needs to pivot to something new.

Save Time and Money on Development

The goal of an MVP is to efficiently get an answer to the question, “Is this a viable, desirable product for the market?” If it isn’t, you can spend the hours and dollars you saved on the next iteration.

Because an MVP requires you to build only the most essential features, the upfront investment in time and resources is lower than the investment required for a fully realized app. Each additional feature you add to an app requires more time and money for development, sometimes in surprising and unpredictable ways.

Once you’ve released a successful MVP, you can then release subsequent iterations with additional investment. On the other hand, if the product-market fit isn’t there, you will have invested substantially less than if you had gone with a more elaborate solution. 

Go to Market Sooner 

MVP product development enables you to launch your products and acquire information about user behavior and product-market fit as quickly as possible. With an MVP, you can go to market sooner and test marketing campaigns and sales channels faster than if you built a “full-featured” product.

Highly developed applications require a lot of time to create. According to McKinsey & Company, relying instead on a small launch to test and refine your product in a real market setting allows you to drive your product to market faster and make more meaningful changes.

The same approach is manifested in creating an MVP. When building an MVP, you can access the target market early, refine the product to expertly solve user needs, and outperform your competitors.

Engage Investors and Stakeholders 

Whether you’re building an MVP as a startup seeking funding or an established company seeking stakeholder engagement for a new product, demonstrating an initial product for which there is customer demand is essential.

Investors and stakeholders need to see that you have a product that successfully meets user needs. Accordingly, building and launching a successful MVP can demonstrate demand for your product and engage stakeholders. Customer engagement metrics, such as time in the app, user counts, and retention, help to prove your product’s viability, attract investment, and/or procure additional internal resources for continued development.

Ten Steps for Building a Killer MVP

Whether you’re a startup, or an enterprise developing your next software product, building an MVP can be a difficult and complex process. Though every project is unique, following best practices can help ensure that your MVP is a success.

At Grio, we believe almost any company can build a killer MVP by focusing on ten essential steps. In our next article, we’ll share Grio’s First Step for Building a Killer MVP: Agile Development Methods and Divergent/Convergent Thinking

Let’s discuss how we can transform your brilliant idea into a killer app.

Book a free MVP consultation with one of our industry experts today.

Learn more about Grio’s end-to-end app design and delivery plan, the MVP Blueprint.

To explore other posts in this series, check out: 

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