How Much Does It Cost to Build an MVP?
In this article we aim to explain what is MVP, how to create a minimum viable product for mobile app and how much does it cost to build an MVP.
MVP is more a way of thinking rather than something that is intended to enter the market. Minimum viable product design principles are the same for the world's leading company and for the enthusiast who believes in his idea.
However, if in the case of conventional development projects the early launch of the application is commonly evaded, a startup without it simply cannot survive. Such launch serves two main tasks:
1. Identifies the weak spots of the project with the help of the real users, and allows to adjust the strategy. Among other things, it saves the budget that is better spent on future improvements.
2. Helps to attract the first investments. The first version is something that can be shown to potential investors. Since it implements all the basic features, it helps to form an opinion about the project.
MVP’s main value is that one can spend less time on design and development, as well as to receive feedback from the users as early as possible. All this will help to understand in which direction to move, what needs an improvement and what to leave unfulfilled.
What is MVP?
MVP, or minimum viable product - is a product that has the required minimum capabilities to check it out on the market. Such product does not contain any additional or secondary functions, but only the core features.
Eric Ries, co-founder of IMVU and one of the main apologists for the customer development theory, defines the MVP, 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". MVP conception allows to quickly create a product with a minimum set of functions, suitable for testing the target audience interaction scenarios and the hypotheses on the buyers’ needs, to abandon making costly market researches and impressive investments into the development of the final solution while the idea’s viability stays unconfirmed.
Nevertheless, MVP mobile app should not be mixed up with things like demo and beta versions of the product. Demo is a demonstration version, often quite full, but limited by time or functionality. A beta is an unfinished version of the product, with errors that are detected and corrected by users during the beta test. MVP is a complete product, without any serious bugs or limitations, but with a minimum set of functions.
How to determine your MVP?
Before you begin development, you need to determine what would be your MVP: what features should your product have and which are optional. Based on five years of experience, we understand exactly: it is important to remain objective - as a developer you might be fond of some planned features, but if in the concept of the application they are unimportant, then at the MVP development phase they must be left out.
Make a list of your product's features and their respective priority - what is the most important and valuable in your application? What will be its main feature, a trait? Start there, and include the other features into the plan of further development.
MVP creation stages
What can be checked using MVP?
• if the target audience is chosen correctly;
• if the value of your proposition is fit for potential customers;
• experience that potential customers get from your product.
The iterative MVP development cycle contains such simple stages:
• Hypothesis formulation.
• Data processing.
• Hypothesis analysis.
MVP launch and getting feedback
The development of the first version of the product is followed by the launch stage. This is the most difficult time, because now you have to:
• Understand how successful your idea is;
• Get feedback from users;
• Determine the strengths of your product;
• Find your product weaknesses and understand what is not working as intended.
As a rule, people are more inclined to say what they do not like. Therefore, if you get more negative feedback than positive, it does not mean that the product is bad. Having analyzed the hypothesis test data you can make a conclusion - did it succeed or fail. If your hypothesis was successful - this is where all the fun and the road to complete application version begins.
Why can the project fail?
There is a widespread belief that 80-90% of new products are unsuccessful. These figures, of course, have a rationale, but it is worth considering that if the majority of startups comes to a failure, why would the established professionals jeopardize their careers, devoting time and resources creating the new products with zero guarantees?
In fact, the actual situation is not so sad, we have to say: a recent CB Insights startups study found that the actual amount of failures comes to around 40% only. Moreover, the most popular reason is a lack of market demand: almost half of these startups have spent months or even years, creating the product prior to the realization that their hypothesis was originally incorrect.
How to avoid failure?
As a MVP development company, that have already passed this way more than once, we can formulate a few tips that will increase your success chances:
• Try different options.
When you make a product, you have many original assumptions.
• Deliver the product to potential customers as quickly as possible.
This is the prerequisite to testing hypotheses.
• Stick to your vision
Make sure that your strategy is focused on testing custom hypotheses, rather than reducing the functionality in order to reduce costs.
• Work on the integrity of the product as a whole, not the individual features
Product quality is associated with a deep understanding of market needs, attention to all aspects of the product and the ability to gain the loyalty of individuals.
• Formulate a rough outline of the product’s versions
This simplifies the process, but it should be borne in mind that each new version must be refined based on the information obtained by the MVP, so planning far ahead won’t work.
What to do after a successful launch?
It should be remembered that MVP is a process where you repeat everything over and over again: defining hypothesis, finding the fastest ways to test it and using the results to modify strategies and tools.
That is, after the first iteration the process does not end there: the creation of an application skeleton is followed by the further development of the product: exactly the same way you will be adding features in priority order, checking the correctness of their strategies.
How much would it cost?
As a rule, the creation of the first MVP is inexpensive, average cost to develop a minimum viable product varies between $10-20k. As the project expands, its total price will increase because of the time spent by hired developers and the complexity of architecture, but you will have some assurance of demand.
Apps that cost less than $10K to build are typically pretty simple applications that have one screen and one function.
MVPs, creation of which ranges between $10-12,5k, typically have more sophisticated UIs, some developed features and basic data services integration.
MVPs for applications with complex beautiful UIs, many screens and features, server backend, database and third-party services integration, fall into the $12,5-16k range.
Check out: How much does it cost to make an app?
Least but not last, are MVPs for the innovative apps that, besides the state-of-art UI, contain high-tech components, complex data interaction and processing routines, top-notch security measures, etc., can cost up to $20k.
In addition, some paid features or paid subscription may already be included in the earlier version, allowing you to partially offset the MVP development cost.
Be consistent and logical – conduct a detailed analysis, be reasonable in adding the functionality and keep the team focused, dividing the development into a series of small tasks. Remember the simple formula: test, deploy, and test again. Thus, you would make an MVP for startup.
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