5 Steps To Take Before Launching An MVP

The fast-paced dynamics of today’s market have companies rushing their digital solutions to meet the never-ending needs of their customers. That has put the minimum viable products (or MVPs, as we commonly call them) in the spotlight. How come? Because developing an MVP can get a company to market more quickly while providing valuable feedback for further development. 

This is especially true for startups looking to introduce a new product or for larger companies trying to validate an idea before fully committing to it. An MVP allows them to test their hypotheses about what those products should look like at their core. You could say that this is a basic version of the product that only includes the main functionality for validation purposes. 

That doesn’t mean that you should see your MVP as something you can put together in a couple of weeks. The fact that the MVP is basic doesn’t mean it has to be a ghost of what it can become. You have to treat it seriously, as a well-built MVP can open up markets for you, provide you with new directions to take, or even show you the feasibility level of your product.

So, how can you be sure your MVP is ready for launch? While that can be pretty different depending on the company and industry, I feel confident about the 5-step process we use at BairesDev to ensure our MVPs are ready for launch. 

But before getting to those steps, let’s get something essential out of the way.


What makes a good MVP?

I could say that you should aim for a functional MVP and, once you have it, proceed with the launch. But that would be both lazy and confusing, mainly because there are different conceptions about what constitutes a good MVP. For me, it’s crucial to start with what “minimum” and “viable” mean. 

The “minimum” part aims for a working product that does what it’s supposed to without any additional flair, bells, or whistles. It’s a product that solves a particular problem with efficiency and simplicity. However, an MVP doesn’t end there (and here’s where many companies releasing MVPs are failing). An MVP is also about viability, AKA the product is usable and meets a market need. A product that works with simplicity but that no one needs is useless. 

You can think of an MVP as a simple product that solves a particular issue – and does so efficiently. It’s not a demo product, it’s not a bloated application, it’s not a limited tool. It’s a solution that you can build on top of, that you can further sophisticate with the feedback you gather from its users. 

Now that we are on the same page, let’s review the five steps I’ve mentioned above.

Be Clear On Your MVP Goals

This might feel like basic stuff but, trust me, it isn’t. It’s ideal to remember why you’re building an MVP, your ultimate goal with it, as it will inform you on which things to focus on when developing it, what audience will be using it, and how you’ll be collecting the feedback from its use. You should go beyond the “I need to know whether my product has a market or not” mentality. Sure, an MVP is all about that, but you can refine your specific goal.

What’s the problem your product is trying to solve? What is the major pain point in your target audience with which your product will help? Keep that in mind, as it will help you define the core functions for your MVP and separate them from the secondary features.

Have An Improvement Plan

When most companies set out to develop an MVP, they always imagine the same outcome – the MVP is a smashing success right out of the gate. Users love it and use it regularly for long periods, and everyone is happy. More realistic companies also contemplate the opposite – the MVP doesn’t fulfill a market need and it’s a complete failure that they have to abandon.

However, most MVPs fall somewhere in the middle of those opposites, and you need to have a plan to improve your product when that happens. What does it mean for the team to go back to the drawing board? Should you scrape most of your work and start anew? How much time will your team devote to the new MVP? Is it your product that needs improvement, or you need to rework in your strategy (target a different audience, approach the same product differently)? This plan is a must before launching, as it will let you know how to move forward in most cases.

Test It, Test It, Test It

If you’ve already taken part in a software development project, you already know the importance of testing and using QA services throughout the process. Catching bugs and fixing them is an essential part of the software development lifecycle, and that’s no different when working in an MVP. You’ll have to test the product several times, sometimes to the point of breaking it.

Imagine the most outrageous things a user can do to the product and do it – you’ll learn a lot about your MVP: how flexible it is, how much it can hold before crashing, and what parts of the code are more problematic. Leaning on QA and testing services will let you have a robust MVP that will work better when in the hands of the user. However, don’t think for a second that testing ends with the launch – you should also monitor the performance while the MVP is in use, as it will provide you with valuable insights on the MVP and what things you can improve.

Hand The MVP Over To Beta Testers

After you’ve tested your MVP with the QA team, it’s time for some real users to do some informal testing. It’s time for some regular folks to take your MVP and use it as you want your target audience to use it. Having people who can be brutally honest with you but closely resemble the audience you want for your final product is best.  

Naturally, you should monitor this stage as closely as you can. Though you should be able to rely on the feedback you’ll collect from those beta testers, some things might be too technical or subtle for them to notice or inform them. With a proper monitoring system in place, you can better understand the overall UX and find new things to improve in your next iteration.

Know When To Move On

Well, you went over all of those stages and you’re ready to launch. Is there anything else you have to do? Yes, one final thing – knowing what it takes to move on after the results of the first user tests come in. Maybe you’re convinced that the product will be a success, so you have planned a couple of additional MVP runs to round up the concept. Perhaps you’re quite sure this is it and, if the MVP doesn’t hit the right note, then you’re done.

You may not be able to define this before launch (at least not conclusively), but be sure to have a tentative action plan for whatever scenario comes your way. This may take more business instinct than anything else, as sometimes an MVP that didn’t test so thoroughly ends up being a huge hit. By all means, inform yourself by the results you collect from your tests, but be sure to know where you stand regarding when to move forward and when to pull the plug.

What Comes After the MVP?

If you have a successful MVP (or something you can see as a success), then it’s time to move forward with development, always relying on the feedback you collect from your early users. You can make further adjustments, start adding the secondary features you wanted, polish the UI and the UX, and so on. The crucial thing is always to monitor the MVP’s performance, so you can know which road to take.

Remember that there’s hardly a time when an MVP is either a success or a failure. There are more aspects to take into account to evaluate your MVP experience, especially in a fast-paced business world as the one we’re living in. So, make sure you do everything you can to analyze your MVP thoroughly. These steps, for example, are a great way to start. And in case you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact us. Developing a good MVP isn’t an easy feat, and we have the experience and expertise to help you with that.

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