How to Plan a Successful MVP for Startups


Creating a successful Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a crucial step for any startup that wants to bring its idea to life. An MVP is a product with the essential features and functionality needed to meet customer needs but that can be developed and released quickly, allowing startups to get feedback and improve the product over time.

Planning an effective MVP is already difficult, and not knowing where to begin can be terrifying. Here we’ll explore the critical elements of planning a successful startup MVP.

How to Plan a Successful Minimum Viable Product

How Do You Define an MVP?

An MVP can be defined as a product in its early stage to test with the target market quickly. The startup founder lays out the ideas and plans to achieve said visions.

A standard MVP always aims to provide minimal functionality to the target audience to acquire early adopters and regular users who can give valuable feedback.

If you want to understand the definition of an MVP, first, you must understand what is NOT an MVP. Sounds conflicting? Allow us to elaborate.

An MVP is not:

  1. A Prototype: An MVP can be as early-development as a concept. It may or may not serve as a prototype, but it cannot be addressed as one.
  2. A Beta Version: An MVP cannot be considered a beta since it’s already functioning with minimal features.
  3. A Final Product: It’s obvious, but an MVP is not your final product since there will be more updates in the future.

What is the MVP Process?

An MVP is one concept you keep re-running and editing until it reaches perfection. You create a different hypothesis based on the statistics you collect and then work on your product to evolve it to the next stage.

The entire development process of creating the perfect MVP by polishing it according to user suggestions is known as the MVP process.

How to Plan a Minimum Viable Product: Step By Step Guide

No matter how revolutionary a product idea is, even the most marvelous MVP of all time needs more thorough planning. To make it easier, we’ll discuss all the guides to plan your MVP.

Step 1: Identify Business And Market Needs

Before you decide to create an MVP, ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • What is the biggest problem in the current market?
  • If you’ve identified the problem, how can you solve it with your MVP?
  • Is the solution your MVP is providing needed in the current market?

When you’ve answered all the questions, now do a detailed competitor analysis to find out how the other MVPs are doing the same thing.

Once you’ve analyzed your competitors, you’ll find your current MVP’s shortcomings and create an MVP roadmap accordingly.

Step 2: Research Your Target Audience

Now that you’ve researched the market and the businesses that need your MVP, it’s time to research the target demographic of your product.

Everyone has a unique and different taste, and it’s a fact that your idea will resonate differently with everyone. When trying to identify your target demographic, ask yourself the following questions and try to answer them:

  • What kind of individuals will face the issues your product is offering to solve?
  • Will these people be motivated enough to look for a solution to that problem?
  • When they find the solution, will they have the resources to pay for it?

Answer these questions in detail to have a near-accurate description of your target audience. You can narrow your audience down by taking the following factors into action:

  • Country/ Region of Most Users
  • Their Budget
  • Typical Age, Level of Education & Experience of Each User
  • Working Sectors
  • Types of Devices They Use
  • Other Products They Use

Once you consider all the possible details, you’ll have an exact image of your target demographic, and you can proceed to the next step of your plan.

Step 3: Plan Success Criteria

MVP success criteria can be defined once the goals are developed. Success criteria indicate the viability of your idea, and the success criteria should continuously be monitored closely from the beginning of development to measure MVP success.

Success criteria elements include:

  • The status of goals that have already been achieved
  • How much the MVP address the business needs
  • The amount of demand for the MVP from the target audience
  • The number of people from the audience willing to become paying customers
  • The number of positive user feedback received from active users

You can determine the development path of your MVP and how it’s coming along by constantly monitoring the success criteria elements.

Success criteria help you detect issues early on. These issues can lead to a longer development cycle and additional expenses.

Once you know where your problems are long before they hinder the development cycle, you can devise efficient solutions.

Step 4: Map Out User Journey(S)

At this step, your goal is to figure out how your target user base will interact with your product once it’s released.

You have to create a plan that includes the moment the user picks up the product and continues to how it solves their problem and makes the entire process as effortless as possible.

The behavior of your target audience will strongly influence the user journey steps, which include:

  • Identifying the users
  • Identifying the end goal of each user
  • Identifying the actions a user needs to take to reach the end goal.

These steps are a must to ensure the user flow is as smooth as possible because the user experience will affect the feedback of each individual using the applications.

Once you’ve completed designing the user journey, it’s time to define the features for each step.

Step 5: Create Pain and Gain Points

The “pain” points are the problems your users will face, and the “gain” points are what the user achieves after your MVP solves the pain points.

When you’re identifying pain and gaining points, you have the most chances to improve the overall potential of your MVP. Because then you’re only focusing on the most viable functions and planning your development phase accordingly.

Here’s how you identify pain and gain points in a few easy-to-follow steps:

  • Note the action the user needs to perform
  • Note the inconveniences the user faces when performing the action
  • Note the gains users achieve from the solution of each problem.

The best way to note all the pain and gain points is to create a chart for them and solve the issues accordingly.

Step 6: Decide Core Features To Build

Now that you’ve decided on the core issues your product needs to solve, it’s time to start developing the core features of the MVP. But how do you choose what to build?

There are three ways you can perform MVP feature prioritization.

  • Opportunity Statements: Use these to finalize the features you plan to include in your MVP. Ask yourself a question, and answer that question with specific data to create your opportunity statements.
  • Feature Breakdown: After finalizing the features, break them down into different parts and include them in the development roadmap.
  • Prioritization Matrix: Now that all the feature parts are added to the roadmap, which one to start with first? That’s where the prioritization matrix comes in. It helps you identify the part of the feature that will have the most impact in solving the problem the MVP is set out to do. A prioritization matrix can also help you finalize the features/ parts of features you wish to add later on in the development cycle.

Step 7: Select The Right Technologies.

All right, this is the part where you choose your weapons. Of course, we mean the right tools and utilizing all the current trends to stay ahead of the curve. The process is made much easier with access to hundreds of free libraries and friendly dev forums throughout the interwebs.

Another thing to look out for when choosing your tools is cost optimization. The extra costs come in when you fail a step during MVP development.

But suppose you choose development methods that have all the possible solutions publicly available. In that case, you reduce the chances of failure and, in turn, the cost.

However, there’s a catch. Some product requirements can only be met in a specific way and are non-negotiable. Though rare, these incidents happen, and the best solution here is to seek expert advice.

To make the most of your development cycle while managing the costs, you can either go with native app development or cross-platform development.

Native apps are designed to run on a particular operating system. To run your MVP on two different platforms using native software development, you will need to develop two separate versions of the software.

The most famous native development choice for Android is Kotlin, and for iOS systems, it’s Swift. You can also utilize low-code development tools like Mendix for native mobile app development.

Step 8: Budget & Time Allocation

When building any MVP, your development time is your most significant resource. To set a timeframe that will help you get your MVP out in front of your target audience, you need to consider the following points:

  • Available resources for implementing the features
  • The effort required for each feature
  • The deadline for the MVP to be released
  • Amount of resources needed to meet the deadline
  • Alternate plans for working with limited resources to meet the deadline

Then comes the development costs, where the main price comes from the salary and overhead expenses of the development team. When you take the cost of resources and the product team and multiply it by the duration of the development stage, you’ll have a near-accurate estimate of your budget.

The Requirement to Plan an App Development

Two elements will help your plan be more effective when planning for future developments.

  • User Persona: Details about your potential user base that can help you understand the market you are targeting to fine-tune your product according to the initial customer needs.
User Persona MetricsDetails
Basic informationUser’s name, occupations, and ages for a broader perspective
PersonalityPersonality traits of each user
BioPersonal backstories and user story analysis to get a broader user behavior report
Goalsgoals the user is trying to achieve with the MVP
MotivationsHow they think and their plans further ahead
Pain PointsPrimary user pain points everyone faces that your MVP can solve
  • Competitive Analysis: In-depth research of your competitors can help you understand how they capture the current market and the features they’re offering that you can implement in your development cycle.

Here’s a chart for the information you need to collect to make the most of your future product development plan.

Competitive Metrics to AnalyzeDetails
App NameName of the competitor’s product
Target AudiencePeople the competitor are trying to reach
Value PropositionWhat does their app deliver? How do they do it?
Business ModelHow do they monetize their product? What’s their business plan further ahead?
Feature GapWhat features do they offer that you don’t?

To Wrap It All Up

Every great business idea should begin with an in-depth planning process. After reading through this plan, you should feel prepared to take on all the steps for creating your MVP, you can always take the help of an experienced MVP development company, like ours at Impala Intech.

Having expert oversight is always a great idea when you need to gain prior experience building an MVP. Sure, you can do it to the most extent.

However, with the help of our professional team, your MVP can reach the full potential it was always supposed to reach through viable product development.


Why Is It Important to Plan an MVP Before Building It?

Without proper planning, MVP development can get sidetracked easily, or the team might build features that are not necessary at all. It can result in wasted time and resources

How Do I Identify the Problem Your MVP Will Solve?

You can identify the core pain point the MVP will solve with market research

What Is the Target Market for My MVP?

The people in an industry marketplace who will use your product to solve their problems are your target market

How Do I Create a Roadmap for Your MVP?

You can create a roadmap for your MVP based on the problems you are trying to solve, and the features that will solve them

How Can I Create User Personas to Inform Your MVP Planning?

You can create a persona based on market and user research