How to Build a Minimum Viable Product

When it is required to measure the demand or check hypothesis and assumptions, a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) usually represents an idea so simple that it can be done in hours. It may be a series of interviews, a one-day commercial event, an ad or a site with an offer and ‹Click here› button only.

However, in terms of online products, an MVP usually means a simplest version of a product that is ready to be released to the market and allows collecting initial data about customers. After over 5 years of working at RubyGarage we have defined a strict workflow allowing to build MVPs quickly and effectively.

Minimum viable product

Talking simply, it can be described in 3 stages:

1. Product design

Product creation always begins with understanding how the information is structured and processed. That is called wireframing and looks like a bunch of very simple sketches and scenarios showing how the user can navigate through the product and interact with it to address his problem.

This is the stage when all the focus goes exclusively to the logic, interface and the usability of the product. The idea here is to get the understanding of all the screens and features required for the MVP, which in turn determines the scope of work for both the developers and graphic designers.

This stage also removes the need to write documentation folios and thus is extremely time-efficient (not mentioning how fascinating it is to design the product this way).

2. Graphic design & Development

On this stage, obviously, the teams of developers and designers do their work to make an MVP done according to the scope defined in the previous stage.

There are lots of methodologies on how to organize the work of designers and developers. We will cover our approach in one of the next blog posts.

3. Acceptance testing

Once the MVP is considered done according to the scope defined earlier, it needs to be tested. Whether all requirements are met, whether the product performance is acceptable, what are its limits in terms of number of connections, speed of data processing and so on.

This is the time to check if the MVP corresponds precisely to the vision agreed by both the client and our team.

When the testing is done, the client can release that MVP to the public.

Live cycle of MVP

What's next?

Once the minimum viable product is released to public, it's time to collect the first data. The targeted information may vary, but usually asks the next questions:

  • Does the product help users solve their problem?
  • Is there enough demand for such solution?
  • Are users satisfied with the way, speed, effectiveness their problem is solved?
  • Do they encounter any troubles that may require product redesign?
  • Which features the product lacks most of all and requires adding as quickly as possible?

When such info is collected, it’s time to set the scope for the next iteration of the same three stages. The product is redesigned to add new features and fix existing imperfections, than the scope of work is defined for the designers and developers bring the desired plans to life. After acceptance testing the product is updated and new info is collected to move on.

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