How to define what goes into an MVP and where to draw that line of features that everyone would love but that would, still, go later? This is a very common question by entrepreneurs who start considering MVP development. Including multiple killer features in the minimum viable product, startup founders trap in MVP overengineering, spend too much time and resources on implementation, and as a result, fail in the core tasks behind the MVP step.
What to include in the MVP is a dilemma we talk about in this post. Based on our experience launching and scaling tech startups, we’ll give you some hints on how you can avoid the never-ending must-haves list of features and focus on what’s truly important when you build an MVP.
Why is scoping essential in the MVP development process?
The basic idea of MVP product development is to create a product version with the most essential feature set as quickly as possible to get feedback from potential customers and expand the product based on it. This statement hides the reasons why scoping is an important step of the MVP development process.
With the help of MVP you can evaluate the hypotheses you have on the problem that your product solves or innovative approach to a common issue it offers, or check if client persona was defined properly. An important insight that might help here – you can not test multiple factors at once. Scaling down the amount of things you test during the MVP step adds clarity and helps receive more accurate data. Thus, the functionality you include in an MVP should address the hypotheses you validate with an MVP. No more, no less.
Secondly, the more functionality you include in the MVP development project, the longer it takes to implement. And the time you spend on developing the product might cost you the overall project success. You need to move fast and bring an initial product version to the audience prior to the competitors.
The development cost is another issue that can not be overlooked. The price for the engineering services will be defined mainly by the scope of work and its complexity, including design complexity, platform number, and required integrations. So trimming down the feature set will not only serve the business goals better but will help you stay within reasonable budgets.
Learn more about MVP development essentials and make sure you’ve developed a true MVP mindset before you start planning this step.
How to decide what to include in an MVP?
The key idea – scoping MVP development does not start with the list of features. It starts with the question – what problem do we solve and for whom?
From our experience, the main mistake startup businesses fell into is that they misinterpret the purpose of MVP development. It is not about deciding what functionality is the most important, start building a product from it, and iteratively add more functionality to build a robust product. Developing an MVP you aim to bring your customers from point A to point B using minimum features, see if their problem is solved, and get feedback. The next step would be to improve the initial business concept, repivot it to serve the client’s needs better, and modify the product based on the data received after each iteration.
Product value is the next aspect we recommend formulating precisely before making any tech decisions. When dealing with MVP development, you should never underestimate the value your product will have and not focus only on the minimum part. Define the value proposition at that step where you currently are and make sure MVP can bring this value to the first users. The feature set for the MVP development should contain that product hook that will make them move forward, take your product for a spin, and leave feedback on their experience.
Where to start the evaluation process?
Thus, if you treat MVP as a product version that allows your customer to solve a particular kind of problem, that’s a great start. To proceed, you will need to define a critical user path that will allow your future customers to move from state A to state B with no complications on their way.
For example, if the system requires registration, for the MVP step, you can select one authentication method via Google for the start, rather than provide several options right away. This approach is called Minimum Marketable Flow, and you can learn more about it from our previous post on tech stack for MVP development.
Another approach is to create a prioritization matrix that will help divide the features you’ve had on the MVP development list in terms of the value they bring to the end-users and the computing efforts their implementation requires. Your MVP should contain only the functionality that brings the most value and require the least engineering efforts. As for the features that bring value but a more complex in implementation, you might want to consult with your tech and design teams on how to simplify them for the MVP development step.
Can scoping workshop shorten the work on MVP?
Scoping workshop is another great initiative you can either undertake by yourself or with external help. It will help to go through the product concept and idea in detail, create a problem statement, and define the value proposition. After that, it would be easier to work on user journeys and simplify them to the most vital functions that you will then include in the MVP scoping document.
Scoping workshop will be most beneficial if you include your tech team in it. No matter what form this would be – a cross-teams meeting, brainstorming session, or any other format, this workshop is successful if on the outcome you receive:
- Clear roadmap and development directions that include user flows, user cases, and feature set for MVP development.
- Defined roles and responsibilities for all the team members required for the engineering phase.
- Scope translated into technology. Answers to the questions on the tech stack, required platforms, integrations, and other tech aspects.
- Suggested delivery order, as well as time and cost estimates.
Make sure you don’t take the scoping step lightly, as MVP simplicity is, in fact, rather complex. It requires a lot of planning, scoping, and prioritizing. From our experience, starting with the scoping workshop helps move along the MVP development step more effectively, for sure.
How we approach MVP scoping at Wise Engineering?
We always start with the business idea and precisely define the core value behind the product we will provide MVP development services for. This gives out team clarity during all further steps. Sometimes we convert comments into immediate project requirements, in other cases, we initiate the scoping workshop to prioritize the project roadmap.
From our experience, the most effective way is to start communicating directly right away, working with the unique context of a business and all the influencing factors. Contact us to discuss how we can help you get your MVP off the ground, and let's make this new project your next big thing.