How to Develop an MVP App in 2024

Updated on:
01.07.2024
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10 min

If you are a perfectionist, please DO NOT read this text.

Because we will be talking about how NOT to strive for perfection, how to lower standards, and set deliberately easy goals. Moreover, we will ardently convince you why this is good and right.

Perhaps, after reading this text, you will change your perspective on App Development and decide to move towards the MVP path. We will discuss key steps, principles, and strategies that will help minimize risks and costs in application development.

If you have friends who are startup founders or business owners who want to understand how to create a successful MVP, be sure to share the link with them. But jokes aside.

What is a Minimum Viable Product

Many people perceive MVP as a "raw product," i.e., in a negative light. As if McDonald's served you a burger with undercooked, doughy bread inside. Ew...

However, this is not quite true. Minimum Viable does NOT mean a BAD productIt's more like a trimmed-down version with minimal functionality. That is, you get a juicy, delicious burger to see if it's worth adding to the main menu and making a full combo out of it.

By the way, the history of McDonald's as a company perfectly illustrates the concept of MVP in business. Starting with one small restaurant with a limited menu, the McDonald brothers tested their idea and gradually developed it into a global network.

In the context of Mobile App Development, an MVP is a simplified version of your application that contains only the essential features needed to solve the key problem for users.

And let's agree that from now on, we will discuss this topic specifically from the perspective of Mobile App Development. Not that there are fundamental differences in strategy and benefits, but developing an MVP for mobile applications, as opposed to, say, websites or ecosystems, differs in terms of technological, functional, and user requirements.

For example, an MVP for websites may include broader functionality since their updates and improvements are easier and faster to implement. Ecosystems often require integration with key components such as APIs, databases, and external services right from the test launch stage.

There are differences in feedback collection methods:

  1. through app stores (App Store, Google Play), which allow for quick analysis of reviews
  2. through website analytics, user surveys
  3. direct feedback in the case of web services.

And this list could go on for quite a while.

What MVP means to business owners

For business owners, a Minimum Viable Product is a strategic tool that helps them enter the market faster, minimize risks, gather important feedback, and test demand. In other words, it allows for the efficient use of resources and increases the chances of the product's success.

It's important to focus on two main aspects:

  • Minimum
  • Viable

In our experience, many owners, decision-makers, and stakeholders struggle to "stop the process," leading to feature overload, extended development time, and a more complex testing process. Therefore, we postpone adding extra features until they are truly necessary. Ensuring viability is the responsibility of the team, and there are nuances to this as well.

What MVP means to App Developers

The primary "mortal sin" of many development teams is the desire to expand functionality (indulging the client) or release a more perfect product than needed at the initial stage (to showcase all possibilities).

On the other hand, striving to simplify and reduce too much can lead to a negative user experience. For example, ignoring the importance of UX and interface or insufficient testing based on hypotheses rather than real usage scenarios and stress tests.

To address these challenges, our team uses the concept of MDP (Minimum Desirable Product). It goes beyond "viability" and minimal functionality. According to MDP, it is important to focus on the minimally desirable level of quality while laying the foundation for future scalability.

Simply put, our goal is to create a product that not only works but also elicits positive emotions, provides genuinely valuable and attractive experiences, meets user expectations, and encourages users to keep using the product and recommend it to others.

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Benefits of Minimum Viable Product Application Development 

So, you have an idea for App Development and two options for implementing it:

  1. Create an MVP

 Pros: Quick market entry, low costs, ability to adjust course based on feedback.

 Cons: Limited functionality, need for further development.

  1. Develop a fully ready product

 Pros: Full functionality, competitiveness, ability to start monetizing immediately.

 Cons: High costs (though one-time), longer development time, risk of not meeting the target audience's needs.

Some teams might suggest a "hybrid option": a Minimum Viable Product with an extended set of features. However, in our humble opinion, this is not always appropriate and does not warrant consideration as a separate option. The necessary features are always discussed with a good team before starting, and it's difficult to measure the point at which the number of features turns a Minimum Viable Product into a "hybrid."

In this context, we can consider the difference between Low-fidelity vs. High-fidelity MVPs.

Criterion

Low-fidelity

High-fidelity 

Goal

Rapid testing of ideas with minimal resources

Testing functionality with maximum accuracy

Focus

Core concepts and ideas

Full user experience and functionality

Level of Detalization

Low

High

Development Speed

from 1 month

1-3 months

Costs 

Minimal

Moderate

Presentation

Basic graphical models (often wireframes)

Interactive detailed prototypes

User Testing

Limited, concept-oriented

Full, real-experience-oriented

Risks

Low, due to minimal costs and time 

Medium, due to increased resource and time investments

Target Audience

Internal teams, early testers

End users, investors

Feedback

General, conceptual

Detailed, functional

But let's continue our theoretical discussion of the options and take a closer look at the advantages you will gain by choosing the MVP path.

Risk Minimization

Launching an MVP allows you to quickly test your idea with real users and gather valuable feedback, which helps avoid significant financial losses. You won't have to remove features that have already been paid for but might not resonate with the target audience. You'll gain clear insights for subsequent development strategies and immediately set off on the right path.

Time and Resource Savings 

You gain the opportunity for gradual investment through revenue. This can be extremely convenient if you're not ready to invest a large sum of money upfront, potentially burning a hole in your pocket.

As for time, MVP applications are ideally suited to save time in every possible scenario.

Attracting Investors

Having an MVP with active users can help attract investors for further product development.

A great example is TheFacebook.com, which initially launched as an MVP project on February 4, 2004, and by June of that same year, received its first significant investment of $500,000 from Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal.

The best strategy for creating MVP applications

Let's illustrate this with an existing case.

A client approached us with an idea for an MVS solution (Minimum Viable Segment). This concept is an evolution of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), but with a focus on the target audience. It helps companies concentrate on a specific group of users whose needs they can meet with minimal costs and maximum efficiency.

In our case, the client is a large logistics company from the USA, whose data we cannot disclose due to an NDA.

Goal: to create an application that allows drivers to save on fuel and choose gas stations with the best prices.

STEP 1: Idea, Concept, Analysis

In this case, the client already knew the specific goal, target audience, and understood that there were no similar solutions on the market. If you haven't fully formed these points yet, we recommend to start with the following steps:

  • Identify the problem you want to solve with your product.
  • Describe your target audience: who will use this application?
  • Formulate the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for end-users and potential investors.

Next, conduct market research: search for competitors, study their strengths and weaknesses, and analyze potential demand.

This solution was conceived to optimize internal company workflows and reduce fuel consumption costs. Therefore, we were able to skip this stage. However, we still conducted a brief market analysis to explore interesting solutions offered by competitors.

STEP 2: Map Out User Flow

Every successful application we've created always started with prototyping. At this stage, it's crucial to define the core functionality. The Feature Priority Matrix will help you with this.

From framework to high-fidelity mockups, step by step, the idea takes shape. We identified several key details:

  • Choosing a service that can provide real-time fuel prices at gas stations (preemptively, we chose Barchart).
  • Considering how much fuel is left in the tank and whether the driver can reach the desired gas station based on current consumption.
  • Integrating with other services that pinpoint the driver's exact location (such as Samsara and Roadstart).

Thus, with this application, drivers can plan their routes taking into account nearby gas stations and current fuel prices.

There were many other ideas that could improve assembly line performance and driver comfort, such as route sharing between the mobile app and the admin panel. However, we decided against implementing them at the MVP stage.

STEP 3: Development

The prototype, validated through user testing, is ready for further development. Based on it, coding begins and integration with third-party solutions via APIs is carried out.

In our case, the technological stack looked as follows: PHP, Laravel Development Services, PostgreSQL, TypeScript, React.js, Ant Design Services, GraphQL.

STEP 4: Launch

Remember, an MVP is not the final product but a starting point for further development. Gather feedback from real users and continue refining your application.

The results are impressive. The use of the application enabled the company to reduce expenses by 17% due to the lowest fuel prices. And this was achieved in just the first quarter!

As you can guess, the client was satisfied with this result. Currently, we plan to create a fully-fledged product to manage all internal processes and our development team is working on improvements and the project as a whole.

You can read more here:

Logistics (Transportation)
MVS fuel optimization app
Read more
MVS fuel optimization app

 Importance of MVP App Development in 2024  

Creation of MVP in 2024 remains a relevant and valuable approach for mobile app development. However, on certain specialized forums, you may meet people who disagree. Critics of MVP Application Development present the following arguments:

  1. Modern users are accustomed to more complex applications. MVP with its limited set of features may disappoint and deter them.
  2. Modern development tools have significantly simplified and accelerated app creation. By choosing the right framework, platform, and possibly leveraging pre-existing solutions, there's no need to limit oneself to a Minimum Viable Product.
  3. There is a risk of "getting stuck" at the MVP stage. This leads to loss of resources, time, and motivation to further develop the existing solution, ultimately resulting in missed opportunities.

Alright, let's strive to be objective. Critics, how do you feel about this perspective from Forbes?

Approximately 70% of startups fail due to premature or unsuccessful scaling efforts. Given this statistic, is there a rationale for developing fully-featured applications?

In terms of time, according to the Project Manager at Wezom team: 

"Well, it all depends on the complexity of features, choice of technical stack, team size, and other factors. But on average, developing an MVP takes 1 to 3 months, whereas developing a regular application can take from 6 to 12 months, sometimes more."

Therefore, the time difference can be up to x6. This presents another argument against Minimum Viable Product (MVP) apps failing.

Regarding the risk of getting stuck at the MVP stage, 90% of startups fail. Among the main reasons, experts cite incorrect business strategy and market selection, and misunderstanding the needs of the target audience. It's up to you to decide, but in our view, it's better to accept the risk of a slow launch and potential stagnation than to go all out and risk losing everything.

Victoria
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