When you’re building an MVP, you’re supposed to make an impact on your target market. But it’s not always a walk in the park. Many startups fail due to a wide array of reasons. Even when you’re taking all the right steps, and dealing with complications as they arise, an MVP can still fail due to small mistakes.
These issues can arise before, during, or after the MVP has been created and published. Today, we’ll reflect on 15 such mistakes that many MVP builders and startup owners have made in the past.
Let’s dive right into the list without any further delay.
1. Not Defining The Goals Of Your MVP
Many of these MVPs don’t know what they want to become, and so they dive right into developing without defining what the product is trying to achieve through its key features.
However since it has no clear goal, the development process only ends up wasting company resources without any definitive results.
It’s also important to have a goal to calculate the optimal development time and cycle, and the resources you need to reach said goal. Without a goal, the entire project is a mess that cannot be tracked, and it ends in a shutdown of the project itself.
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2. Misunderstanding The Concept of MVP
The Minimum Viable Product approach is supposed to be an iterative approach, that improves the product over time via different iterations and making improvements. It’s not supposed to be a product that will serve everything the customer wants right out of the gate.
Many misunderstand the approach and try to integrate everything at once. As a result, the developers lose track of trying to do everything at once, and the app fails as a result.
If this paragraph doesn’t quench your thirst for the concept, you should check out the What is Proof of Concept (POC) article.
3. Not Paying Attention To Market Research
Detailed target market research can tell you everything you need to do to grab the attention of your target user base. But many startup founders think they know what the market wants, and jump into MVP development right away without doing any proper research.
When you don’t do market research, there’s no way that you can create a product that the users will find useful. The goal of an MVP is to provide what the users want, not what you’re trying to force on the users.
Without market research, you don’t know if the users are ready to pay for what you’re trying to develop. Revenue is important when you’re trying to keep your business afloat. Unless you’re sure the users are willing to pay for your product, you’re investing in something that won’t generate revenues.
You need to conduct market research to clarify the following questions:
- Who are your target users?
- What is the problem they are facing?
- How are you going to solve the problem?
- Who are your current competitors?
- What makes you unique compared to others?
- How will your niche evolve in the long run?
- What are the current trends in your niche?
4. Not Having A Well-Defined Product Strategy
Your product strategy is the heart of your business. It’s not just about creating a product, it’s about having a long-term plan revolving around the product that has long-term viability.
You may think running out of money is the biggest problem you can have, but not knowing what to do with all the money is far worse.
The goal of a product strategy is to prove that your product works, and you can turn it into something that will generate revenue while sustaining it for a prolonged period. With an inadequate product strategy, even a well-designed MVP can lead nowhere.
Lack of a product strategy can have some long-term negative effects, including:
- Your team is occupied with busy work rather than being productive
- The team fails to manage client expectations
- The team fails to retain customers
- You spend too much on marketing
- You end up scaling the sales prematurely
- The results of marketing and development are not satisfactory
- The project runs out of funding and halts abruptly
5. Trying To Implement Too Many Features
An MVP is supposed to reach the market with minimal functions. When the initial version suffers from a feature overload, the product loses its focus and fails.
An MVP is not supposed to be a Swiss army knife of everything. It’s supposed to be as minimal as possible and take care of the customer’s problems with its core functionalities.
When you’re trying to cram in unnecessary features, the product has no more space for future improvements, since you’ve shown all your cards too early. It hurts the longevity of the application, and the digital product doesn’t do well.
Another reason for failure here is the issues with functionality. If you develop too many features within a short time, there’s no time for testing the extra features. As a result, most of the features will be buggy and will not function the right way.
Customers don’t want a product that does not function the way it’s intended, and it will only make people put away your product more.
6. Choosing The Wrong Development Team
Your development team members are just as vital to the operation as the other elements. Not working with the right people can be a detriment to success. But how?
Suppose you have a team that isn’t well-rounded, and not all members have the necessary skills to cover what it takes for the current product development process. As a result, the final product will not reflect your exact vision, and of course, it will not be something the customers want.
Another variation of the same problem is when you are working with a team that is too big for your needs. You might feel like a bigger team of experts will get stuff done faster, but the negatives outweigh the positives:
- With a big team, the team morale goes down since there isn’t enough work for everyone.
- It slows development since everyone has vastly different product assumptions, and they try to implement them simultaneously, losing focus.
- Decreases the overall performance of the team
- Your budget is spent after the team itself while not getting you closer to making revenues.
- Too many team members are tougher to implement in a good product strategy, making the strategy deficient.
7. Skipping The Prototyping Phase
MVP prototyping is one of the most important phases of MVP development. Even though the prototype isn’t functional at all, it’s the fastest way to turn your idea into a reality.
Prototyping is the fastest iteration of your ideas before you finalize them before you build your MVP. However many startup founders skip the prototyping phase and dive straight into development.
When you skip prototyping, it can quickly turn into an expensive mistake. Without a prototype, you don’t get user feedback on what they want, and the developers don’t understand what they’re trying to iterate.
The development cycle turns into an unfocused mess, and the product fails because it fails to meet customer expectations. Which can be called “an expensive mistake”.
8. Compromising Minimal Features By Focusing On Being “Minimum”
Though an MVP is supposed to be released before the product itself is fully ready, that doesn’t mean you skip the features that are essential for the product to function.
If your product looks like something that was created overnight and has no semblance of care whatsoever, people will skip your product for far better options that are available on the market.
When you focus too much on being minimal, you end up burning your market budget after something that doesn’t deliver as promised, and that’s word-of-mouth marketing you don’t want for your product at all.
9. Trying To Shorten Time To Market By Skipping Security & Testing
The security of software is just as important as the features the application provides. The security is to ensure that private customers’ data isn’t leaked. But that isn’t the concern on the mind of a few MVP developers, which ultimately became their downfall.
The minimal iteration is already there to help you achieve a faster time-to-market. But if you still try to cut corners, you compromise on both security and necessary bug testing of the core features.
Putting your users and potential customers at risk is the worst thing you can do. Always avoid that practice at all costs.
10. Ignoring User Feedback
An MVP is created to gather user feedback so that the product can be improved by acting on them. If you ignore the customer feedback, you defeat the purpose of the MVP itself.
User feedback gives you an idea about exactly what people like and dislike about your product, and you can act on that feedback to improve your product.
Feedback doesn’t just help you understand the users, it helps you understand the market as well. If you are not acting on the market trends and user demands, your MVP is bound to fail sooner or later.
Here’s how to get feedback for your MVP 👈.
11. Excessive Feedback Implementation
Too much of anything is bad, no matter how good said thing is. Ignoring user feedback is bad, but implementing too much user feedback can harm your product too.
It’s good to take all positive and negative feedback into action so that you can figure out how your product can benefit the users further, and what it’s doing wrong at the moment. But here’s the catch: you need to filter through the user feedback.
Some users may ask for features that you have planned later down the road. Some may ask you to change a few functionalities entirely. But you shouldn’t let feedback let the development of your product get sidetracked.
When you try to act on every single piece of feedback, your product development loses its focus and becomes a mix of various ideas in the form of a product.
12. Not Marketing The Product Enough
Even the finest product with the most desired functions can fail. How can people use a product that they don’t know exists?
It’s good to be confident in the abilities of your products, but they alone cannot carry your product all the way. First, you need to let people know the right way that you have a product that can help the target market.
Many MVP founders and their brilliant ideas fail just because they were overconfident in the functionality of their product, and didn’t do any marketing because of it.
13. Not Paying Attention To Analytics
Every step of your MVP development, marketing, and publication should be backed up by detailed data and analytics. Unless you are paying attention to research analytics, you have no surefire way of knowing how to make it reach the right audience.
Jumping into development blindly without a plan isn’t a good idea. Data analytics is the most important part of the said plan that indicates how feasible and viable your product idea is by providing you insights on the following:
- How the customers are receiving benefits through your product
- The most popular features that provide the most benefits
- Features you can implement in the future
- Features you can drop to save resources
- The path you can take for future developments.
14. Having Low Scalability
Your MVP isn’t just a one-and-done scheme that you release and forget. It’s something that lays the foundation for future developments and improvements. When releasing an MVP, always be ready for the future for it to become a success.
Ask yourself this: What happens if your MVP is popular overnight, and suddenly you don’t have the architecture and the facilities at hand to deal with the additional users?
Scalability is important to sustain your business for the future. To determine the scalability of your MVP, ask yourself the following questions:
- How fast and effectively can you mass produce your product?
- What will be unit economics?
- How will you update or fix the product once it’s fully scaled?
- How can you test the scalability of the product through the MVP phase?
- How many users can you serve during the MVP phase?
15. Ignoring Detailed Documentation
Development documentation ensures the quality of the product and minimizes the number of bugs during MVP development. Without proper documentation, there’s no way to diagnose the exact issues of the MVP in case a bug happens.
Without proper documentation, the entire process becomes a long-running mess that can cost additional money and resources, along with delaying the publication time of the product.
So whenever building an MVP, you need to ensure that you have detailed documentation that is tailored to the needs of the MVP itself.
To Wrap It All Up
Let’s review the 15 MVP mistakes one more time:
- Not Defining The Goals of Your MVP
- Misunderstanding The Concept of MVP
- Not Paying Attention To Market Research
- Not Having A Well-Defined Product Strategy
- Trying To Implement Too Many Features
- Choosing The Wrong Development Team
- Skipping The Prototyping Phase
- Compromising Minimal Features By Focusing On Being “Minimum”
- Trying To Shorten Time To Market By Skipping Security & Testing
- Ignoring User Feedback
- Excessive Feedback Implementation
- Not Marketing The Product Enough
- Not Paying Attention To Analytics
- Having Low Scalability
- Ignoring Detailed Documentation
Are you building an MVP, and want to avoid all the common mistakes associated with building an MVP? You should get in touch with the professional developers at Impala Intech.
A prototype gives the developers a basic structure idea of what the product is going to be. Without a prototype, the developers don’t have a clear concept of what they should work on, and the project has a higher chance of failing.
An MVP should have minimal features. Trying to put in too many features at the same time can lengthen the development time and cause the costs to go higher
User feedback can help the product owners understand the kind of products that the users do and don’t want. the developers can utilize the feedback to improve the product.
Without documentation, the software can be very tough to fix and improve. If the developer team doesn’t create proper documentation, the product can be very tough to develop further.
Without acting on data analytics, the software developers don’t know which direction to take in order to gain maximum customer satisfaction.