“The minimum viable product (MVP) is the product with the highest return on investment versus risk. It is the sweet spot between products without the required features that fail at sunrise and the products with too many features that cut return and increase risk.” – Wikipedia.
For mobile development this means getting a bare minimum version of your app onto the app store as soon as you possibly can. Keep the features to a minimum to demonstrate it’s core functionality and start getting user feedback immediately.
This is the approach we always recommend for clients who are coming to market with a completely new app idea and are starting out from scratch.
Over time we’ve found that this provides a number of benefits.
You get a working version of your app into the hands of your users, very quickly.
The best thing about developing an app is having people start using it and seeing what they think. Getting your working app into the hands of your users as soon as possible should be your number one priority.
The sooner you get people using it, the sooner you’ll be able to start getting feedback and working on it to make it better.
It takes less investment up front to see immediate results.
Optimise your return on investment. Spend a month developing a small MVP, release it and you’re immediately in business.
You’re getting downloads, adding users and hopefully even earning revenue for maybe a €10,000 Euros investment. You can always add more features when you need them.
The alternative of taking 6 months and spending upwards of €50-70k before you even have a single user can be hugely daunting.
You’re assuming a lot about what your potential users want. If you get it wrong, it can be a costly mistake.
Early feedback tells you what’s important to your users.
Assuming what people are going to want and need is a dangerous game. The easiest way to conduct customer research on your app is just to release it, as soon as possible.
Give people a small feature set, and let them tell you what the app is missing. Then add it when you know there is a need.
Otherwise you’re going to be devistated when you discover that feature which cost took 2 developers 3 weeks to get right, isn’t even used.
Present a working app for potential investors.
Seeking investment? Need something to impress and wow investors? Then get something developed that they can play with on their phone.
Instead of just showing them stuffy PowerPoint slides, get them something they can download and actually use.
Using an app allows people to grasp the concept and see how it’s supposed to work. They get an immediate feel for what you are trying to achieve.
Investors are much more likely to give you a commitment when they can see how you work and have a good understanding of your project.
Your user base starts growing immediately.
Instead of waiting 6 months for a finished product, you can start on-boarding new users within a few short weeks.
This means you can start growing your loyal users. Those users who feel a part of the project from the beginning.
When they submit feedback to you and you listen to what they need, they won’t forget. Feeling like they’ve actually helped contribute to the direction of your app will make them die hard fans for life.
And that’s helps things grow quickly. Your best fans are also your best brand embassadors. Championing you to their friends and helping drive more users and further growth.
Unnecessary and largely unused functions of your app simply add complexity to the development process. And with that complexity comes more time, more money and future maintainability and support costs.
Keep things simple. Keep things lean. Always be testing and use analytics to track your users behaviour.
Only through testing and analytics will you know if the feature you just added is actually being used, and if it’s worth keeping in, developing further or removing it from future releases.
Minimalism in app development will always save you money and headaches in the long run. Embrace it early on and your development team, investors and end users will thank you for it.