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How to prioritize features in MVP?

From the last article about the 5 most common mistakes of MVP development, you could learn what startups do wrong when working on their product. Today, we want to give you an insight into how to build it the right way. The secret ingredient to MPV development is the ability to choose the necessary product functionalities. The process is not so obvious that’s why today we will answer a question of how to prioritize features in MVP. 

The process of MVP development is not a piece of cake. MVP is not the end product but the initial adaptation of the original one. We create it to accelerate time-to-market and be able to quickly validate the need for a product with the use of real customers. The knowledge we can obtain from an MVP is powerful and determines our next move. That’s why we can’t mess it up. 

But how can we know which functions are crucial and which aren’t? 

The number one reason for startup failure is the so-called “no market need”. Startups very often build products that don’t target enough people to be successful. Business owners spend a lot of resources on service improvement without engaging users to check their willingness to use it. Building an MVP can help you validate your idea quicker and be better prepared for the official launch. 

Building an MVP, you base it only on the core functionality, which is usually 2-3 key features. This way you release the 1.0 version of your product much quicker while avoiding extra expenses. Releasing your MVP to the audience, you can collect user feedback and measure the engagement. By doing this, you learn how to improve your original product and see if there are enough people ready to buy it. 

How to prioritize features in MVP: The process 

Set your product vision & strategy 

Start from establishing your product goals. What for and for whom it is created. Define the problem the product is going to solve and its target audience. There is a process through which you can quickly defy the project hypothesis and it’s called Design Sprint. It’s a 5-day workshop including prototyping of your initial idea that helps you uncover new solutions for your product. After the Design Sprint, you will be certain about the aim of your product, its design, and the plan for its development. 

mvp development

Analyze your competition  

Your product has to be offering unique functionalities to be able to stand among the competition. In order to achieve that, learn more about the market niche you want to fill in. Read about the competitors’ products, explore the comment sections, and try to find the customers’ opinions, suggestions for improvements or desired features. It will all help you choose the key features to work on during MVP product development. 

Distinguish between user wants and user needs

Customer feedback is super valuable when it comes to the process of prioritizing features in MVP. However, as a founder, you have to know the difference between user wants and user needs. There are features that are cool but they aren’t crucial for a product in this phase. Implementing too many user-requested functionalities too soon, you will drift away from the main goal, invest too much in the beginning phase, and fail to validate the real purpose of your product. When building an MVP, always focus on the core functionalities. But hear out what customers have to say to know what features to prioritize in future iterations of the app.

Organize features into 3 buckets 

When you’ve gathered a lot of information it’s time to properly sort them. Here I present you the 3 buckets into which you have to divide your features ideas. 

  • Must have – features that are most likely to positively affect the main KPIs. They are the closest to reach business goals and affect your project success, 
  • Nice to have – features that will increase customer satisfaction, 
  • Not needed – features that are requested by users but don’t solve the main problem the app is centered at. It can be an option to integrate the app with social platforms or the ability to adjust the colors of one’s profile. 

Having lots of ideas and social feedback you can lose track over what’s most important. Organizing features into 3 buckets will help you determine the core functionalities that should be enough to trigger the response and attract the attention of target users. While sorting, consider: 

  • Feature complexity – it influences the time of implementation so the overall time-to-market 
  • The true value of a feature – sometimes a feature doesn’t add any value until the product reaches X number of users

Measure the results 

Don’t forget to measure the engagement and the usage of your MVP. It’s the most valuable information as you test the product on real users and collect real data. Nothing will tell you more about your idea and chances of survival on the market than the solid statistics. Some of the success metrics you can follow are: 

  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Conversions
  • Lifetime value (LTV)
  • Product quality 

Key points for your MVP

Let’s sum up the key points of MVP product development that matters in the prioritization process:

  • Provide enough value (basic, but powerful features) to attract the target 
  • Reduce costs of implementation 
  • Give access to early adopters
  • Test and validate your hypotheses 
  • Focus on user engagement 
  • Collect customer feedback 
  • Improve the product in future iterations 

That’s how you do it the right way 

Today’s market is filled with numerous, similar applications so it’s difficult to find a niche for your product. That’s why your app needs to offer real value to users, solving their particular problem, or just making their life easier. Before you invest in creating your app, be sure you start with MVP development. If you want to completely secure this process – contact our company and let us bring your vision into life! 


cto - Chris Gibas

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