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Ultimate Guide to MVP Development

Mar 31, 202312 min read
by Murtuza Kutub
Ultimate Guide to MVP Development Hero

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Startup MVP

Have you ever experienced a moment when a new idea pops into your head and your first thought is, "Wow! That's a Million Dollar Idea". You begin to imagine yourself as the next Bill Gates or Elon Musk. & after conducting some research, the idea gradually fades away.

You start questioning whether your idea is worthwhile - "Ah! Such a lame idea!". Similarly, everyone has several ideas, but only a few explore them to determine if it's worth their time and money.

Many entrepreneurs have desired and realized their aspirations. Some are rich, while others have vanished. The difference between the two is turning an idea into a reality. The most significant aspect of this process is MVP development.

But what is an MVP? From a technology standpoint, MVP is an abbreviation for Minimum Viable Product. It is building a limited core feature of your idea and giving it to early users for their feedback, through which you iterate and build further to match the problem with a solution. MVP eliminates the early risk of making an unknown product without user satisfaction. MVP is now a key aspect in bringing an idea to market. Let me explain with an image below,

mvp development process

Henrik Kniberg created this illustration, which portrays a fantastic representation of how an MVP process should be. Every phase requires feedback and iteration to solve the primary problem. Creating a full-fledged product without considering users is like leaping into the ocean without a life jacket or swimming abilities. Not only is it a capital loss, but also the time of the employees, users, investors & yours.

Our experience in developing MVP products for startups & some of the Fortune 500 companies has enabled us to create this ultimate Guide for MVP development services, which will be extremely useful in building unique products & the business journey.

Importance of Building a Startup MVP

Here are the few important steps to build a Startup MVP,

Test Product market fit

It is vital to get to market faster than competitors & more important, to do it efficiently. When you create a random product with no use case, users will abandon it instantly. MVP enables you to begin with minimal functionality and analyzes how a small group of people (your target audience) reacts to it; this will help you test the market without any assumptions.

MVP to Product Market Fit

Attract Investors

A successful MVP validates the need for your product. This shows investors their faith in your pitch and can help you raise funds. Multiple platforms like ProductHunt, Appsumo, and other Crowdfunded websites can also help in validating an MVP & also help in acquiring early adopters. The campaign results can be showcased to the investors along with projections & roadmap for gaining their confidence.

Saving time & resources

The most significant advantage of going for MVP development is saving time and resources. In comparison to a full product, which could take 6-12 months or even 24 months, depending on the amount of work, MVP can be live in the market within 12-16 weeks. MVP is delivered with a small developer team for one-third of the cost and in the shortest time.

Figure out critical features to build out

MVP Core Features

When the focus is on the core feature, it solves almost 50% of the work. The reason for doing an MVP is to find that key feature & solve it. Once the user accepts and supports the critical part, it is half-job done. Later with a complete product, adding more features to the solution becomes more accessible.

Startup MVP Development Process

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Market Research

According to CB Insights, 35% of startups fail due to a lack of market needs. The question is why a company built a product when there was no need. The reason is the need for more market research. Understanding the market and the target audience is critical to the success of your product.

There are numerous methods for conducting research. You can approach your target audience directly. Build a basic landing page for them to sign up. Interact with them, set up meetings, learn about their problems, and interview them. A quick Google search and browse through various forums while asking open-ended questions. You can even offer questionnaire forms to your target audience for them to answer. Learn about your competitors and do competitive analyses using various tools.

Learn everything about the market and determine if your product can stand out. Market research will give you a thorough understanding of your users & their concerns.

Step 2: Figure out the USP of the Product

After gathering a wealth of helpful knowledge from market research, the next step is to analyze data, numbers, and inputs from the market to determine the best solution to the users' problems. That becomes the product's USP (unique selling proposition). It's the main difference between you and your competitor. That can also be your core function, which you can present as MVP. The USP helps the users and gives them a reason to continue with you rather than anyone else in the market. This becomes a pillar to building an MVP. USP can be anything as small as possible. Easy checkout method, one tap payment. Take the example of Apple - they have unlocked features through face recognition, a USP for their product. It will be copied, but having a first-mover advantage is the key to gaining market share.

Step 3: Map the User Journey of the MVP

Creating a user journey for your product is essential, as your MVP will have only partially fledged features that can annoy a user. The trip should be simple in the first place. They also need to be trained on how it would function. For example: When you've created a shopping app. It must indicate how to access the products, add them to the cart, and place an order. Keep it as simple as possible to avoid user frustration. When the journey is planned, It aids in analyzing and improving each step of the trip and eventually assists you in making the product far better.

Step 4: Finalize the MVP development method

If you have an in-house team, you must have the necessary resources and employees to complete the MVP. They need to have skill sets to complete all the processes in-house. If it's outsourced, you need to understand the breakdown of their services. Either it can be product road-mapping or building just the prototype. It can even be complete MVP development from scratch.

This will give you an understanding of the scope and process involved in MVP development. The timelines, sprints, deliverables, and Manpower involved. What features are needed is essential; based on that, you would set your timelines and milestones. You must also configure the input process and tracking mechanism to ensure the daily run rate is achieved and the MVP release is on schedule. Though the MVP process is complex, it is less complicated than full product development. It's similar to warming up before a hard workout to ensure you don't injure any muscles.

Step 5: Launch an MVP

After weeks of hard release, an MVP is the most critical aspect. Similar to preparing a dish if you forget to add salt at the end. The food should taste bland. So marketing and launching among your target users are very important. Remember the earlier research, and use the data collected during that process. Send emailers before the launch, and release a launch offer in return for feedback. Start building visibility on social platforms. Now different communities are growing. Interact with your target user in the community. Please give them the necessary information required for them to use your product. Connect with referrals and affiliates to voice out about your MVP launch. You can even launch on Product Hunt or Appsumo pages giving them a discount on platforms. This gives a necessary kick to the launch and can add several early adopters to your venue. Also, remember the developers are focused on ensuring no technical problems or bugs are faced during the launch. This can harm the user journey.

Step 6: Analyze alpha users to evolve the MVP into a product

You discovered several users signing up. That is a positive indicator. A better hand would be to see your target audience using it. That is the key to improving your product. To generate feedback, try to interact with them. You can use different Slack Channels, Discord groups, and Facebook groups to bring everyone together in one place. Request feedback from them. You can also email them and ask for their ideas and comments. You can also use Google Analytics or Microsoft Clarity to evaluate the page data. How do consumers navigate the software/website flow? Which location has the minor traction? Where are the drop-off points, and how is the overall site performing?

These details are critical to the development of your product. These inputs allow you to make more informed decisions on improving your product and bridge the problem-solution gap with the users.

Here are the Popular Startup MVP Examples:


Amazon's journey from a simple idea of selling books online to now building Rockets, all while becoming a trillion-dollar company, is the classic example of how MVP development can help you pivot to a whole new business.

Jeff Bezos

Jeff created a simple website with many books on the platform and made the website live. Once the customer orders the book, he will get it from the supplier and ship it to the customer. He did the whole process until he verified that his MVP was successful. Slowly he began experimenting with other items, and it became a platform for buying and selling everything.


Chesky and Gebbia had moved recently to San Francisco; they had an extra space in their home, finding difficulties paying their rent and realizing multiple conferences were taking place in their locality. All the hotels were completely booked. They had a hypothesis - that customers would like to stay at home if available to book online. So, they put up their extra space on sale and got three guest bookings. This validated people looking to stay at home away from home.



They had a different idea of saving and sharing files, though building a prototype requires a lot of development. Instead, they released a video on YouTube to showcase what Dropbox is all about, and instantly it became a hit. Here's the video link. The signup increased from 5000 to 75K in a day. This shows that the communication and messaging showcased how Dropbox can solve its problem. This is a classic example of video MVP.

How much time is required to develop an MVP?

Now you wonder if MVP saves time, how fast can it be completed to go the market soon? Yes, MVP saves time from overall product development, which might take six months to 2 years, depending on the project scope and requirements. MVP can be done anywhere between 12 weeks to 16 weeks; it is crucial to understand the idea, project scope, feature set needed, and complexity related to building the technology.

Some common mistakes to avoid while building an MVP

While we have discussed various factors involved in creating an MVP and emphasized their importance, it's crucial to bear in mind certain MVP mistakes that can either make or break a project.

Building too many features / Feature Creep

Adding too many features at once to meet the user's so-called "needs" is a temptation every founder must resist. Keeping costs to a minimum when developing a product might provide valuable insights into what needs to be done in the future. Identifying and developing those restricted features allows you to market and iterate more quickly. It becomes a laborious effort to go back and rework the proper function once many features have been established. Users may be dissatisfied, but they will undoubtedly provide feedback.

Solving a Non-Problem

Sometimes more than an idea is needed to solve a problem. Assume you want to develop a smartphone. Is this a problem in the current situation? In the market, there are numerous participants. Will the market accept a newcomer? These are the questions that must be answered before embarking on MVP development. Sometimes your attention is drawn to a presumption that a problem exists. Before engaging in MVP product development, research becomes vital.

Being rigid with initial vision and inability to pivot

Another critical aspect of an MVP is adaptability. A concept is like a worm; if you believe the worm begins to fly, you are heading wrong. With time, a worm will transform into a butterfly. An idea can become more attractive if you are adaptable and can pivot as needed based on customer feedback. Allow it to iterate, and it will provide an outstanding product for the users.

MVP lifecycle

Hiring full-time resources to build MVP

If you know that the MVP is to test with restricted functionality and observe how users react, it must be designed using a lean technique with fewer resources and a lower cost. Hiring full-time employees is the most common error that businesses make. If you are bootstrapped, it is essential to avoid hiring full-time resources. You may be required to pay them a salary, supply equipment, basic training, health and medical arrangements, an office space, or even equity. So remember that the lean method is the best.

Tips for pitching an MVP to Investors

  • Create an incredible User story around your product. They should realize how your product/idea can help your customers. Please give them a hands-on demo of how to product looks and functions.
  • The MVP process has helped you do the research. So it is essential to put that data across to your investors. Please give them the efforts you took in gathering the vast data, how you analyzed it, and came up with meaningful insights and real problems faced by the user. It will help investors understand that a problem exists and your product is the solution.
  • Show the performance of your product. Your product is out in the market. You can share these essential MVP metrics with them:
    • Registered users
    • Initially paid users
    • Retention rate
    • Churn rate
    • Daily signups
    • Lead funnel
    • Impressions of your platform
    • Gross margins
    • ROI
    • Profit/Loss It can give you an upper hand in negotiation. This gives them the confidence that the solution is a natural problem-solver and that people respond well to it.
  • Provide the trajectory to them. It is essential to what are your goals and vision for the next year, two years, five years & 10 years. How many users are you targeting, what will be the growth percentage, and also about the expansion plans?
  • Showcase what you would do with the funding. Give them clear information on how the money will be used, for example:
    • Hiring employees
    • Getting an office
    • Social media advertising
    • Campaigns activities
    • Shows, exhibitions & Partnerships
    • Timelines of usage

Give a clear breakdown of how the money will be used. This gives the impression of a well-planned roadmap.

How to measure MVP success?

You might get accolades from social media colleagues and friends for your successful launch. Your users on your product might give verbal feedback. You may find it successful, but it needs to provide precise information about your product. The metrics listed below are critical for understanding how your product is performing.

Vanity MetricsActionable Metrics
Trial UsersPaid Users
Free UsersCRR (Customer Retention Rate)
Page viewROI (Return on Investment)
Impressions on the WebsiteSales conversion
Social Platform (likes, Comments, Shares, Followers, Views)Appointments/Meetings booked
Email SubscribersCLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
Lead funnelCAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)
Total downloadsROMS (Returns on Marketing Spends
Marketing SpendsMRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue)
Reviews & FeedbacksARPU (Average Revenue per user)
Bounce Rate, Time on SiteRatings
Overall RevenueChurn Rate
Revenue per customerGross margins
Profit or Loss
Activation Rate
NPS score




FAQs about MVP

Here are the FAQs about MVP's:

Why is MVP necessary?

The question needs to be revised: How should MVP be developed, not Why is MVP necessary or required? It simplifies your idea in several ways. If you have a well-funded startup that lasts 3-4 years, you can get into product development and wait for people to approve or reject it. However, when bootstrapped and sponsored by family and friends, the MVP is the most critical method to see your idea succeed. It hurts a lot when you fail. MVP safeguards you from failure and assists you in achieving.

How do I create Startup MVP?

MVP can be made in a variety of ways. You can do it independently. Learn to code or use No-Code platforms to create apps with minimal functionality. You can use several platforms and employ freelancer developers and designers at various pricing points to produce your MVP. You can browse companies specializing in minimum viable product development services, and they can assist you from start to finish. Alternatively, if you have sufficient funds, you might hire a restricted number of developers and designers to help you with your construction. You can even offer equity in exchange for someone building your product.

What is MVP product development?

MVP product development is creating a product with minimal functionality that can be offered to users for testing and feedback, allowing the company to iterate on matching and fulfilling the user's needs. It is the initial stage of complete product development. MVP product development is creating a comprehensive MVP from the start with the assistance of developers and designers.

Author Detail

Author-Murtuza Kutub
Murtuza Kutub

A product development and growth expert, helping founders and startups build and grow their products at lightning speed with a track record of success. Apart from work, I love to network & Travel.


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