How to build an MVP mobile app: a 2020 guide to MVP app development

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How to build an MVP mobile app: a 2020 guide to MVP app development

How to build an MVP mobile app: a 2020 guide to MVP app development

Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is an early version of the product developed just enough to satisfy the potential customer. It usually has a minimal set of features and short time to market, when compared to the mature version of the same product.

Why Do You Need To Build an MVP?

Testing Economic Viability

There is no point in investing massive finances into something that nobody needs and nobody will use. You need to make sure that whatever solution to whatever problem you are trying to market will generate enough profit. That’s where your MVP comes in: with your young, quite minimal version of your project you can still see whether the direction you are going in is what people want to see and if it will make money down the line.

Evaluate Demand

MVP launch will let you study your market’s demand in more detail. You will see what your product can offer when it comes to competing with the leaders in the field; additionally, you will be able to single out the ideas that clearly work and need to be highlighted even more in the future releases.

Gathering Feedback

Since one of the MVP’s priorities is support and feedback gathering, you can quickly learn how you can improve your product going forward. Heed every word you receive from your user base and think whether the features they would like to see can be weaved into your project roadmap. Sometimes people want simple quality-of-life changes – so simple that you would have never even thought of them. However, these little details help build trust and good reputation. Listen to the people you are creating your product for, and it will help you develop a better, more satisfying service. Of course, gathering feedback will be a crucial task even on the stage of a finished product, but while you have an MVP, it’s much easier to experiment and change things on the fly.

 

Be very open to feedback. During the prototyping phase seek feedback from anyone willing to give you their opinions, listen intently then peddle fast to incorporate them. Even with a base level wireframe or MVP you are still only 25% of the way there. You will change and refine continuously until you have something desirable. Innovation doesn’t happen in a straight line.

Anthony Quinn, Founder at Arctic Intelligence and Co-Founder at AML Accelerate

Ensure Future Growth

If you are a start-up and have limited financial capabilities, it is a good idea to launch your MVP and start earning money with your minimal build. Simultaneously, since you already have a live product that is satisfying some demand on the market, it will be easier to attract investors and additional funds.

Benefits of MVP Product Development

You Don't Need a Big Budget

Practice shows that you don’t actually need that much money to construct a functional application and release it. Yes, it will only have the core features and will probably miss a lot of little quality-of-life details, but it will serve its purpose just fine.

A Big Timesaver

With an MVP, you don’t need to wait a long time before your idea takes form. Just in a few months from the start of the project you will be able to ship a mini-version of your product to the market and see how it performs.

Build a Solid Base

An MVP is meant to be a version of the project that has all main features and core functionality developed and polished. From that point on, it will be easier to build new, additional functionality atop what you already have: a solid unshakeable base.

Your product most likely will pivot several times, so don't waste too much time on an MVP full of features, talk with customers, see which top features are valuable to them, launch an MVP with those top features, test the market and iterate from there. Looks simple right? But who never said - well now that we’ve made this, why don’t we make that? It’s just a few hours more…

Hugo Condesa, CEO at WeTek

Everything Gets Real

MVP allows you to ship your product early and start experiencing the market first hand. No more fictional data and unreliable statistics: from now on you will get real feedback from your target audience and see for yourself what your slice of global market is like.

Gradual Growth

As a startup, you want to ensure steady gradual progression without sudden bursts. It will most likely be more harmful to invest huge funds into a finished product than launch an MVP and gradually build around it until you have reached the highest point. Constant gradual growth is a path to success, not giant investments once in a while and certainly not rush.

Attracting Funds

When you have an MVP that has already shipped to market and is used every day by real people, you have much more to show for yourself than just some ideas and a development plan. Investors and people willing to participate in the making of your product will see you as a reliable partner, not just a gambler. In turn, additional funds will help you make your product bigger and better. Everybody wins!

Steps to Take to Start MVP Development

Have a Solid Idea

This might seem very obvious and even trivial, and yet this is the most important part that needs to be taken seriously. What problem would your product solve? What profit would you potential clients gain? Why would they choose your service and not others? Think it through, write it down, and let it be the foundation upon which you will build your product.

What’s Already There?

You need to conduct an initial market research and see what is already on the market. Are there any other services like yours? What do they do differently, if anything? Do they have a lot of users? Study your competitors and their products as closely as you can to make sure your service will not fall in their shadow.

List of Features

Make a list of features your application will have. Carefully include all main functionality and sprinkle in some quality-of-life features. Then you want to prioritize all the features to clearly see what needs to be done first and what can wait.

I believe that most MVPs fail because they do not manage to solve the most important “problem” of the target market. For this reason, we took an extra month before starting developing. We just brainstormed and made a hand-written but very detailed workflow of the MVP. 

Nichita Herput, Founder and CEO at OptiOffer

Outsource MVP Development In a Smart Way 

When everything of the above is ready, you come to another crucial part: choosing a software development company that will bring your product to life. Here you want to consider several important criteria:

  1. MVP and startup experience – it is much easier to work with someone who has extensive knowledge about young startups, product MVPs and their purpose and can do a good job prioritizing tasks. These companies can also help you dodge the mistakes that startups often make when building their first product.
  2. Excellent command of chosen technologies – if you have already chosen what tech should be used when developing your application, try to find a company that has already had successful projects built on the same technologies. This will save you both time and money.
  3. Rates – software developers charge hourly, so you need to search for acceptable rates either in your region or elsewhere.

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The Process of Developing an MVP

Set Your Priorities

Prioritization is probably the best skill you can learn while launching your own product, and especially an MVP. Prioritize UI and customer support over architecture and mobile apps over their web counterparts. You need to start building reputation immediately and attract clients with a clean, functional UI – you will have time to contemplate architecture and additional platforms later down the line.

Creating an MVP can be a good way to get a maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. However, in my opinion some startups fail to deliver a MVP with an actual experience built in. It tends to become too tech and too little product, and the risk is that you actually don’t get to test your idea well enough. That is why, we at JumpStory talk about building MLP’s instead – short for Minimum Loveable Product.

Jonathan Low, CEO at JumpStory

Where To Save money

There are a number of decisions you can make that will help your budget. Leave out the web version for now: the majority of your users will come from mobile anyway. Opt for cross-platform app development instead of native: this will help you update frequently, change things on the fly and have all code in one place. You can also choose monolith architecture that is not as elaborate as microservices, and evolve it later.

Choose Your Tech Wisely

Not all the technologies for software development are made equal. You already know that cross-platform tech is usually cheaper than full on native development, provided you do not have some special features involving camera or geolocation.

Mobile

Since cross-platform development is usually a good choice for a constrained budget, you should opt for React Native or Flutter. For OS specific features or OS specific UI design and layout a platform-based approach would work best. But in this case it would be better to develop for one platfrom at a time. This would save bugdet on back and forth changes which most probably would take place initially. However, this approach takes more time compared to development of an app for both platforms at the same time.

Web

React and Angular are the best options, both being the gold standard in web development in 2020.

Backend

With backend, there are a lot of options and things to consider:

  • Node.js – based on JavaScript, which guarantees you a quick start and quick results and additionally save up some money along the way
  • .NET Core – a mature platform and a powerful versatile instrument in professional hands with a steep learning curve

Hosting

If you have an option of setting up your own servers to host your application, you can go for it but do keep in mind that this entails additional expenses on DevOps operations since you will have to set it all up manually and from scratch. The other option would be cloud hosting where you can rent a cloud environment and services for your project and supply them with a variety of additional services needed for the micro-service architecture such as AWS Lambda. Database choices are heavily project-based and will depend on the type of application you are building: Postgress, Mongo, MS SQL, Amazon RDS, Amazon DynamoDB, Azure SQL, etc.

  • On-premise: if you have your own servers, you can use Kubernetes and Docker. This will save you money in the short run, but the upkeep will cost more in the long run.
  • AWS, Azure, Google Cloud – if you don’t have your own infrastructure, cloud hosting is a cheaper and more reasonable option. As an added bonus, you have to have much less DevOps expenses at the start of operation.

How much does MVP cost?

The cost of your MVP depends on a lot of factors: how complex and feature-packed it is, what market and industry you are targeting and how saturated those are, and, of course, what are hourly rates of the company you chose. Every estimate you’ll get will be in hours, so depending on the region you are outsourcing your project to, the price will vary considerably. On average, an MVP takes about 3000 hours to develop plus any extra time for additional features. Multiply this number by the hourly rate of the company of your choosing, and you will get your approximate cost.

Module Minimal Hours
Mobile app ~1000 for two platforms
Admin panel ~500
Backend ~1000
Total Starting at 2500

The final cost of MVP development depends on the average rate of developers in your area:

Region Average Hourly Rate
North America $60-80
Western Europe $45-65
Eastern Europe $20-30 

With the average hourly pay for developers in Eastern Europe being around $25, here’s a rough approximation of how much it costs to develop an on-demand mobile app:

Module Average Cost
Mobile app $25,000+
Admin panel $12,000+
Backend $25,000+
Total $87,000+

Please keep in mind that the final cost of MVP development varies depending on your needs.

Choosing the right developers for your MVP

Choosing the right software development company for your MVP is one of the key components to sucessfull business. While most software development agencies could probably take on and complete and MVP project, not every agency is able to lay down a proper foundation for further development of your project.

We at Businessware Technologies proud ourselves in our approach to MVPs that has brought success to numerous clients.

Extensive experience

We have worked with numerous startups over the course of almost two decades, and all of them ended up thriving in their respective markets. Here are some examples:

Curb-it – a complex system for on-demand trash hauling. It includes two cross-platform applications, Admin Panel, elaborate micro-service architecture and AWS cloud hosting. We developed a number of notable features for this project, such as rating system, interactive map and multi-channel chat with content filtering. Both apps also include Stripe integration for in-app purchases.

Activ5 – a fitness application paired with a custom Bluetooth device for workouts. We developed an iOS application that includes more than 100 workouts for various muscle groups and levels of difficulty. The app can be customized, tracks user progress and has a system of achievements. It supports 7 languages and has data synchronization.

Event management system – a complex application that takes care of all components of event organizing including chats, cost counting, planning and booking. We created a flexible system that can flawlessly navigate a group of people through many difficulties of organizing an event, including different time zones. The app is also integrated with Shopify.

A big team

Our team includes experts from all fields of software development: we have professional iOS and Android developers that excel at both cross-platform and native technologies, a separate Augmented Reality team for especially ambitious projects and an AI team. Our hourly rates are reasonable, compared to neighboring regions, which means that your budget will allow more development.

Enterprises too!

For years we have been working with giant enterprise companies from a variety of industries: diamond mining, insurance, healthcare, oil production and many more. This experience allows us to share the unique perspective on product growth and scalability with our new clients. Having an understanding on how big companies operate and what they prioritize to succeed, plays a big role in development planning. As always, information is key.

Work with us

If you are interested in developing a new product with us, drop us a line at sales@businesswaretech.com and we’ll get in contact with you as soon as possible!