Going by rough estimates, the failure rate is around 30-50% across business domains. Why do so many products fail?
Effectively, product success is vital to the survival and growth of any startup. While a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is crucial for business success, most startups get it wrong.
The right MVP strategy is often in sync with the Lean Startup methodology. Eric Ries explains, “the modern rule of competition is whoever learns fastest, wins.” Going by this popular quote, MVP app development should provide plenty of opportunities to amend mistakes and learn to win.
How can product startups get their MVPs right? Let’s first look at 5 common mistakes that they should avoid.
5 mistakes to avoid when developing an MVP
- Solving the wrong business problem
This is more of a product management problem. The first decision is whether it is worth creating the MVP in the first place. Most MVPs fail when product owners do not properly research their customer needs. To avoid this mistake, product companies need to answer the following two questions:
- Why do I need to develop this product?
- How can it help my customers?
To address this problem, choose the right customer segment and research if there are competitor products that are meeting their needs. Next, determine the product technology that will set the MVP apart from competitor products.
- Skipping prototyping
For product companies, avoiding prototyping is similar to “building a car without any visual model.” Daniel Burka of Google Ventures mentions “the ideal prototype should be of Goldilocks quality.” He talks of a prototype quality that is “not too high, not too low, but just right.”
Prototyping must be an integral part of any product development and is about developing a product idea from a concept to a working product or service. Lack of prototyping along with brainstorming for better alternatives can “hurt” any product development company in the long run.
- Excluding user feedback
MVPs provide companies the opportunity to gather their user’s feedback at the initial stage (when it can be most valuable). After releasing a full-functional product, the customer’s feedback is a bit too late and risky.
For instance, based on the feedback for their prototype from potential users, Nike realized how difficult it was for users to locate their CTA. This prevented them from releasing a difficult product to the market. The importance of continuous feedback in MVPs ensures a repeated cycle of developing, testing, improving, and measuring product quality.
- Incorrect development approach
As Thomas Edison once said, “there’s a way to do it better find it.”
Product failures can also be a result of incorrect MVP software technology or development approaches. Traditionally, the Waterfall approach has worked for complex products that are completed in six months or more. Now, the Agile-based development approach offers better results than Waterfall or any other product framework.
According to the 2020 Standish Group Chaos study, Agile projects are 3x more successful than Waterfall-based projects. Waterfall projects are 2x more likely to fail than Agile projects. Using incremental or iterative methods, MVP Agile provides improved time-to-market and flexibility.
Similarly, product companies must evaluate application technologies like feature flags, micro frontends, and no-code development when creating new products.
- Confusing between Qualitative and Quantitative feedback
Qualitative feedback is concerned with the overall quality and user-friendliness of the MVP. Quantitative feedbacks determine the usability of the product design, meaning which tasks were easy or difficult to perform. Both these forms of feedback provide an efficient way of collecting the user’s feedback about the product.
However, product companies “err” when they rely on any one form of feedback over the other. Lack of the right balance can hamper their ability to learn from users’ feedback. The right approach is to combine qualitative with quantitative feedback into what is called “triangulation feedback” that accounts for various factors.
In addition to avoiding these mistakes, product companies must also focus on building the right MVP. Here are some tips.
Tips to build the right MVP
Here are some useful tips for building the right MVP in 2022:
- Identify the right customer segment.
According to Harvard Business Review, 85% of new product launches fail due to improper customer segmentation. Besides creating a “great” product, companies must also solve the problem of selling it to the right target market.
Target customers also live in different geographical places with different product needs and cultures. When building their MVP, companies must find answers to questions like:
- The impact of the local climate or culture on the product demand
- The most common language spoken in these areas
- The role of the local business (or retailer) in promoting the MVP
- Outline the user’s journey.
For realizing the lean MVP startup methodology, companies must be able to outline the user’s journey. This typically involves:
- Identifying multiple user categories: For example, end-users and service providers for a ride-sharing app
- Mapping the user’s goal based on their actions.
- Determining the user’s story by identifying the actions that they will perform to reach their goal.
- Prioritize product features.
Thanks to its “minimalistic” approach, MVPs cannot simply contain a long list of features. Hence, companies need to prioritize the product features that they need in their MVP. Highlight the “nice-to-have” features that are not strictly required in the MVP.
Here are some tips on how to prioritize MVP features:
- Determine the single action that customers are likely to implement.
- Focus on the minimum features that will not increase the cost of MVP development.
- Categorize MVP features as high, medium, and low priority.
- Arrange priority-wise features in the product backlog.
Despite its challenges, building a successful MVP should not be an “intimidating” exercise for product development companies. Product startups can learn a lot about their customer segment and overall market through user feedback and response to MVPs.
As a product development company, Forgeahead understands the market challenges that product companies face in today’s times. We believe that MVP is a lean and customer-centric approach to product development. Read this blog on the five essential steps to building an MVP.
We can help you leverage our technical expertise in delivering a successful MVP product. Contact us today.