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5 most common mistakes startups make during MVP development

Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) you can easily scale your product by verifying the necessary features and functionalities with the use of real customers. It’s the quickest way to obtain solid statistical data from the real market, that you can work on without the need of building the entire solution. MVP development can be a turning point in a carrier of many startups which is why it’s a process that requires preparation. 

There is, however, a pattern of mistakes seen among startups during MVP development. Despite its importance, many startups neglect the key aspects of the process that unfortunately reflects on their future on the market. To help you better understand the cause and effect of some decisions here’s a list of 5 most common mistakes startups make during MVP product development.  

Quickly reminder of the MVP concept 

Minimum Viable Product is not the final product but its initial version with just enough features to capture the attention and satisfy the needs of the first customers. A well-prepared MVP should be able to encourage the audience to want to continue using the product. 

Benefits of building an MVP

Delivering MVP to users startups gain a lot of advantages that help them make further decisions about the product. Providing a snapshot of the real project companies can validate their product ideas and see if the target audience is actually interested in what they’ve proposed. It minimizes the risk of creating products which are of no-use and protect from wasting money on the development of features that are not worth the attention. 

Summing up, the key benefits of MVP product development are: 

  • Saving time and resources – not wasting any more engineering hours
  • Faster time-to-market 
  • Collecting valuable feedback from the audience = validating your idea 
  • Building up a potential client base 
mvp development

5 most common mistakes during MVP product development

1. Product Perfectionism  

Startup CEOs often follow the strategy that customers will only accept product perfection. Having such a mindset it’s difficult for them to build an MVP with a limited feature-set. But it’s exactly what causes problems on the way to successful product launch – chasing the wrong priorities. In fact, the weak product strategy is more dangerous than offering the “less fancy” version of your product. Trying to perfect your MVP product development you can quickly burn your budget on marketing and costs that are unnecessary in that phase. What’s more, this can lead you to the false assumptions that your team works on something bigger when in fact the team is far from being productive. 

2. Too many additional features  

When you include too many features in your MVP, it’s no longer an MVP. The idea is to equip your product with a minimum feature-set to test only the main functionalities. Having your product overload with additional features it’s more difficult to validate the need for it. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to prioritize functions in MVP to not aim at producing almost the end product. Trying to fit too many things in at once startups fail from 

  • a significant delay in time-to-market, 
  • double the work, changing the additional features that didn’t meet the expectations 
  • burning the budget on both: the initial development and changing unsuccessful functionalities

3. Striving for ideal design and optimal performance 

While building an MVP, startups need to stay sustainable, meaning they should aim at providing the necessary features in an optimal timeframe. Building all features from scratch is the opposite behavior which should be avoided. Instead, you need to think smart.

  • use frontend frameworks and components
  • avoid spending too much time on continuous integration, performance, and extraordinary design 
  • control the technical debt – no worries, it’s very common and even smart to incurr some technical debt at the MVP stage to deliver it faster to target audience
  • avoid building parts of the code which may not be used in the final version  

MVP development shouldn’t take you more than 3 months. If you want to accelerate this process, even more, a good start is Design Sprint. 

It’s a 5-day workshop concentrated on validating design hypotheses. It’s a great opportunity for your team to understand and defy your aim, target audience, key functionalities, and design. Being fully prepared, thanks to the knowledge gained from the workshop you can start your MVP development without any concerns. 

4. Too many hands on board 

Having a whole room of software developers available, one would think the product will be delivered faster. Well, it’s not always like that. At first, it’s good to have a wide range of experts and be able to start fast but in the long run, having a large group of developers isn’t the optimal option. The oversized team often lead to problems such as: 

  • slowed down development speed – from the false assumption of everyone being busy 
  • making up tasks because there isn’t enough work for everyone in the room 
  • running out of budget on unnecessary project memebers 

By expanding your development team you get things done faster and in many cases, it is an ideal option. However, everything depends on the complexity and size of the project. Before you involve more developers in the project, be sure you know how to organize the workload for everyone. Start small and then together with the project manager plan how much people do you need in order to successfully end your MVP development. 

5. Receiving too many opinions

Feedback is precious as it lets you change your perspective on different aspects. So what’s wrong with receiving it? The more opinions you get, the more confused you are. When you take opinions from all sources possible, you end up being committed to respond to all of them. As a result, your team repeatedly rework features and design which delay the MVP launch. You burn the money on continuous changes instead of focusing on finishing the initial version. What’s more, you all lose the sight of a bigger picture as everyone is busy modfiying what’s already done. 

Before you analyze all the gathered feedback, think, and decide what you want to learn from it. Remember that the most important thing is to defy if the product works and satisfy your clients with its core functions. 

Summing up 

Now that you know the 5 most common mistakes startups make during MVP development, be smarter, and avoid them at all costs. Startups have a lot of challenges on their way to successful development but ending the journey on the MVP stage is not something you want to experience.

If you have an idea of a great product and need help in its development – don’t hesitate to contact us!


cto - Chris Gibas

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