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The Minimum Viable Product

Minimum Viable Product
Software Engineering

MVP, the Minimum Viable Product

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a piece of software with just enough functionality so that it can go out to market.

There seems to be some confusion around the term MVP and many people refer to it as a prototype in which a partially-working application will run so that features can be tested. MVP is actually that group of functions, which without them, your system will lose its main characteristics. That array of features are the minimum product that can satisfy your first customers. A prototype will be eventually discarded and turned into software, the MVP is the basement for future features that will come onboard by gathering feedback from your clients.

You probably remember when Pokemon Go was first launched back in July 2016. There were just enough features in the app so that people could start catching them all. Initially, users could do a minimum on their avatars. Later on, new features were introduced. Recently, the Buddy Pokemon was added as an extra feature. Starting out, we didn’t have all the food and different balls we have available today – many of them were introduced during subsequent releases.

MVP is the turning point from the rudimentary stage to a sellable application.

At the MVP phase, you want to

  • Be able to test the product idea with minimal resources
  • Quickly learn about your product
  • Limit engineering to a minimum
  • Make the product live for testing as soon as possible

Minimum doesn’t mean low quality. It is important to have an experienced company or person playing the Software Engineering role. For example, there are tools and techniques that can be used to accelerate the development of a web application, such as NPM, CSS Bootstrap, React, Vue.JS, Node.JS and Gulp.

MVP and Large Volume of Transactions

When launching an MVP, it is important to be ready for a large volume of transactions so that your application doesn’t crash if it goes viral. Given the speed with which information spreads in social media today, you have to be ready for fast expansion and success. Pokemon Go was such a successful game that servers frequently struggled. You might have experienced some server outage yourself, either because you couldn’t log in or because Pokemons were not appearing on the map.

MVP and Big Data

Many customers means many questions. Customer insights are very important because it helps you understanding who your customers are, what they want the most, how, and how often, they use your app. Your marketing team will ask important questions such as:

  • How old are the users of the system?
  • Where are they using your system from?
  • Which device is the system mostly accessed from?
  • Which pages/parts of the system do users visit and how long do they stay on them?
  • Which user journeys are usually taken?

The amount of data collected in a Large Volume Transaction system is overwhelming, so one needs to be prepared for both collecting, processing and querying for insights right from the first day.