The MVP workflow, or “Minimum Viable Product” strategy, is one of the most popular paths for starting product development in 2022. One of the few things that is important for chances of success is a proper workflow. The term “workflow” is typically a set of standardized steps that can follow to create, test, and deploy SaaS products.

Here’s what you need to know about the MVP workflow and how it differs from some of the other standard workflows developers may be used to:

MVP can come in a various shapes and forms. So, in this article, we will focus on the most popular ones. We will give you a simple explanation and examples from successful startups. We’re sure that it will help you decide which type of solution is most suitable!

What is a Workflow?

A designer/developer workflow is a series of steps used in product design or development to achieve a creative goal or a product version goal. The process includes the steps taken to start a project, evolve it, and finish it upto a certain level. Since a SaaS product is always evolving, similar steps can be continued to iterate and further improve the software product.

An example of a standard MVP development workflow might look like this:

  • Scaffolding: This is the stage wherein you start your new project, creating a git repo, downloading libraries, preparing file structures, and completing other tasks to make sure you can start your coding.
  • Develop: In this stage your development team will spend time writing code for your application or product.
  • Testing: In this stage, you examine the functionality & determine if everything works as it should. If there are errors or issues, you can go back and fix the potential problems. A MVP may go through development/test process several times before you can move to the next stage.
  • Integrate: This is when you merge the code of the development teams. You can also integrate your code with third party apps or existing apps at this point.
  • Optimize: You prepare all your assets for use on a production server during the optimization stage. Files are generally optimized to ensure your visitors can view your site easily or access your applications with ease.
  • Deploy: In the deployment stage, development team push code and assets up into the server and allow for changes to be viewed by the public.

Examples of MVP Workflows

The easiest way to understand how an MVP workflow works is to look at an example.

Let’s start with a conceptual example. Say you were building a voice chatbot service for businesses. The desired features of this product might include the ability to answer predefined FAQs and guide users.

However, using the MVP approach, you wouldn’t try to accomplish all of your goals with your chatbot at once. Instead, you’d focus on something simple first – like the ability to answer fixed number of FAQs that are most relevant to target audience. Once you confirm you can do that, you can start a new workflow for the next most important feature for the chatbot like including NLP to assist users with unstructured queries.

The Pros and Cons of an MVP Workflow

There are a lot of benefits to the MVP workflow – particularly when it comes to gaining agility and developing new products quickly. However, there are downsides too.

Pros

  • With an MVP approach, you can maximize your learning opportunities and create a more innovative, successful product at speed. You get to test your product / product features every step of the way.
  • You release iterations or versions of your product quickly, which means you discover problems faster, allowing you to quickly solve or plan strategy for these issues.
  • You build on the benefits of early adopters who are keen to help your product or service grow.
  • An MVP gives you more freedom to try out unique ideas and “risks” you might otherwise avoid with a traditional workflow.
  • Because you’re focusing on creating only the “minimum viable product,” you don’t have to spend a fortune on initially setting up your entire end-to-end product workflows.

Cons

  • Agile work with an MVP flow requires a lot of effort in collecting constant feedback from customers and releasing iterations.
  • Need to roll out many small and frequent product releases on a tight schedule.
  • Frequent revision of functionality of your product or app depending on the feedback.

Creating Your MVP Workflow:

For an effective MVP workflow your product / design goals need to align with your team’s strategic goals before you get started. Ask what purpose your minimum viable product will serve and what set of target audience you’re considering for initial launch. You’ll need to know your target customer persona to help you test the quality and performance of each iteration of your MVP. Once you know what your ideal “product” is, ask yourself what the most important features will be.

You can base these decisions on things like:

  • User research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Feedback from your audience

MVP Approach Guidelines:

Once you have frozen your feature set for your minimum viable product, you can translate this into an action plan for development. Remember, although you’re focusing on the “minimum” in development, your product still needs to be “viable.” In other words, it still needs to allow your customer to achieve a specific goal.

  • Review your features: Reviewing your prioritized product requirements and the minimum level of functionality you can deliver with each of these “features.” You need to ensure you’re still providing value to your customer with anything you produce.
  • Build your solution: Build your minimum set of features for the product or service. Remember to build only what is required.
  • Validate your solution: Release your offering into the market, and ensure you have tools in place to gather feedback from early adopters. Use beta programs, focus groups, and market interviews to understand how your solution works for your customers and where you can improve on your current offer.
  • Release new iterations: Based on what you learn from your target audience, release improvements to your product quickly. Use your validation strategies to collect information from your audience with each release.
  • Review again: Go back to your product requirements and desired features and start the process over again, this time focusing on the next most valuable functionality. Over time, the value of your minimum viable product will increase.

Using the MVP Workflow Approach:

While the MVP workflow approach might not be the right solution for every development or design team, it can work very effectively in the right circumstances. The MVP approach doesn’t minimize the importance of understanding market problems and delivering value. Instead, the focus is on delivering quick value that gradually increases and evolves over time.

As many developers and designers know, the most useful form of product validation in most cases is real-world validation. When your customers have had an opportunity to use a product on a day-to-day basis, they can provide much more effective feedback.

Just keep in mind that committing to the MVP approach also means changing your workflow and committing to iterations – otherwise, other features may never be completed. You’ll need to be willing to work quickly and in small bursts without getting too heavily caught up in one feature or functionality.

Source: This article first appeared on webdesignerdepo

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