Brent Nygaard

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How To Plan Your App's MVP

By Brent Nygaard |

product design, process,

Creating an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) is one of the earliest steps in launching a digital product. Your MVP should be the simplest version of the app that provides as much real value to your users as possible.

An MVP is an efficient and cost-effective way to see if your concept has any potential for success. Then, based on the results, you can decide whether to invest more in developing the app.

But what should your MVP contain? Let's discuss how to prioritise your long list of features.

1. Talk To Your (future) Users

First, it’s important to remember that it should be all about the users, not the specific features of the app you envision. Who are they, really? What do they do? Where do they reside? What is their financial status? In what sector do they work?

Do you have answers to those questions? Great! But how many of them did you guess?

You need to speak to actual people who might be using your app. It's best to talk to multiple people. Ask them why they'd use the app. What do they hope it will help them achieve, do, or create? Do they already have something else doing that for them?

2. Figure Out Their Biggest Goals or Problems

Now that you have your answers, it's time to identify the biggest problem your users want solved. What tasks do they desire to be possible if your app launches? When you describe what you're building or show them prototypes, do they feel excited? Skeptical? Do they immediately ask if it can do X?

Summarize these into a short, prioritized list of the users' most critical goals or problems to be solved.

3. Scope Out the Primary Use-Cases

What kind of technology and development effort is needed to solve the top three problems you discovered? Are all three possible with your current resources? If not, can you solve the top two? If you can't do that, can you solve the first one?

If you can tackle all three, do it. Build and launch the app with all three features. But don't go beyond that for now. Give your users the best solution you can with the least amount of build time and cost.

And remember, a major part of how your app helps users succeed is by being user-friendly. Don't neglect UX and UI design, even in the MVP stage.

a graphic showing the How an MVP of your app should contain just a bit of all the important aspects of an app, such as being functional, reliable, usable, and have great design.

Your MVP should be complete and well-designed enough to test whether users find it valuable. Keep it constrained, so you can design, build, and get it out quickly and inexpensively. Ultimately, successful apps, websites, and software services are guided by user research and a product-first approach.