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In times of uncertainty and crises—and our post-COVID “next normal” is definitely an age like that— cost-saving is one of the top priorities of enterprises and, especially, startups across all industries. Most of them hire dedicated development teams to create competitive software solutions. Yet, in the domain of software product development, attempts to skimp on the number of members of the project team or the quality of the solution spell the complete failure of the future IT product. 

Then how can you reduce expenditures on the solution to be built while minimizing its market entry risks? To avoid splurging on an app or other piece of software that eventually nobody will buy, you should start at the concept level and gauge the validity of the idea that stands behind the product. And this is where an MVP in software development comes into play. Let’s have a closer look at the meaning of MVP in software development. 

MVP as Large as Life

What does MVP mean in software development? The acronym stands for minimum viable product. MVP is a pilot version of a software piece that has some core features and can be operated. Business owners need to be sure the target audience will demand their product. And there is no better way to discover what the potential users of an IT solution think of its necessity and functioning than to let them try it and collect their feedback.

MVP Software Development at NIX

What is an MVP in software development primarily associated with? Naturally, its two characteristics that appear in its name: 

  • The minimum number of features. These are only the must-have functionalities necessary to operate the solution. In Snapchat, it was just the ability to take a picture and send it somewhere, and an MVP version of Tinder had only approval/disapproval clickable icons plus the swipe-right feature.
  • Viability. Basically, this is the ultimate purpose the product is used for. Referring to the examples mentioned above once more, Snapchat is meant to be an app for the instant sharing of photos, and Tinder drastically streamlines the dating process via no-sweat signup.

This goes for all MVPs. However, if you want your MVP software development to yield positive results and become the first step on the pathway to receiving a successful solution, you should make sure it is:

  • Well researched. The preliminary market investigation by a business analyst will enable the owner to set proper priorities as to the feature roster and usability of the solution.
  • Intuitive and engaging. It must be easy and entertaining for users to interact with the solution via a foolproof UI and clear navigation. To attain this, mind the best practices of UI/UX design.
  • Documented. When you keep the product papers in apple-pie order, the developing team will be able to track its evolution, revise previous decisions, detect repetitive problems, and brief its new members on the development pipeline routine.

Of course, you will have to invest a certain sum in MVP software development and wait for the MVP to be created and pass through probation, but this is the price you have to willingly pay for validating a solution. Even if you are in for rapid IT product creation, an MVP in development of software solutions is a vital stage that can’t be skipped. The valuable insights into the consumer assessment and criticism of the product you are planning to build enable the development team to introduce corrections and improvements to the original design and functionality roster as well as increase its market reach and value.

The meaning and role of MVP in software development should now seem clearer. Until you come across two more notions that can throw novices in the field into confusion: a prototype and a proof of concept (PoC).

Juxtaposing a Prototype vs. a PoC vs. an MVP in Software Development

How are these three notions different?

In the software development lifecycle, the proof of concept comes before the other two—in the pre-product stage. It’s a solution meant for internal use to check the feasibility of the idea from a practical, customer-oriented, and business standpoint. The overarching mission of the PoC is to verify that a concept has practical potential. As a result, businesses can eliminate or at least minimize the risk of failing to satisfy the product’s target audience as well as basic business goals. 

A prototype is a model containing a visual representation of a solution. It’s a kind of interactive UI or a collection of clickable screens that display what the product will look and feel like when consumers use it. Unlike an MVP in software development, a prototype may not be fully functional. Conventionally, it’s employed as a part of a solution pitch to investors or for testing purposes where a prototype is leveraged to gauge the usability of the product and thus reduce customer dissatisfaction risk. 

Out of all the three items, an MVP for software development is the only functional version of the solution that early customers may use as intended. By monitoring their feedback, product owners can find out its market fit and avoid further wasting resources on the fully-fledged solution if it doesn’t hold water business-wise.

Evidently, an MVP in software development is a more comprehensive notion that presupposes the inclusion of a PoC and a prototype. What perks do entrepreneurs get by creating an MVP for the software development of their future products?

Engineering Solution

Benefits of MVP Software Development

You get several key advantages when you opt for building an MVP in the development of a software solution.

MVP Software Development at NIX

1. Validating a Business Idea

You get to know if your piece of software is right for the envisaged target audience. If it does, it’s sure to have a market for it with constant demand and growth prospects once you employ the proper marketing strategy.

2. Pinpointing Core Value Proposition

Essentially, an MVP allows you to see whether the solution will solve the problem it’s intended to solve. And most importantly, you can do this with a minimal budget and risk.

3. Receiving User Feedback

By collecting customer opinions, you can learn what they enjoy about your solution most and, more importantly, what they would like to change in it. Having such feedback at your fingertips, you can tweak and fine-tune the final product to meet users’ expectations to the maximum.

4. Growing User Base

If people know about a forthcoming product in its pre-launch phase, they are likely to share this knowledge with other consumers. Thus, you will have an eager audience anticipating the release of a solution long before it actually hits the market.

5. Saving Money

When you finance MVP software development, you spend a relatively small sum on preventing a much bigger loss in case your product doesn’t fly. So consider this expenditure item as a risk management investment.

6. Saving Time

Once you know what things you need to improve in the primary feature or design of the solution you are building, its final release can be radically accelerated. The delivery of an upscaled version will most likely take weeks instead of months if you have an MVP on the table.

7. Saving Effort

The creation of an MVP in software development is a kind of pattern for product evolution. When you tackle its full version hammer and tongs, you will not build a new product from scratch. The development team will move along the same lines, just upgrading the MVP and adding new features to the skeleton that has already been drafted.

8. Training the Team

An MVP in software development can also be viewed as a training ground for the project team. Working on the solution, the developers move from the simple to the complex and learn during the process. This is especially true if they employ the Agile methodology with its continuous iteration cycles, allowing them to improve the product as it matures.

9. Finding Investors

MVP software development works perfectly not only when a customer comes to an IT company with an idea of a solution. It’s also the first step in the investor hunt for startups that can showcase the product they want to create and attract funds to implement the project on a greater scale.

As you see, the upsides of building an MVP are quite weighty. However, to exploit them to the full extent, you should know how to tackle the job.

A Roadmap of MVP Software Development

As a seasoned software vendor with dozens of completed projects under our belt, we at NIX have devised a universal strategy for creating top-notch MVPs.

MVP Software Development at NIX

Stage 1. Define the Problem Your Product Will Solve

As surveys show, more than a third of startups fail because they create something that nobody wants to buy. This is why, before embarking on the MVP development, you should identify the value proposition of the future solution. To understand it, you should determine the target audience’s specific need, realize how your product is going to address it, and establish the perks the audience will receive.

Stage 2. Discover the Competition

Conducting market research is crucial since even the best idea won’t generate any revenue in case there is a similar product on the market. But if the niche isn’t filled, there is no reason to rejoice yet. You should also gauge the market size for the solution because, in case the potential user audience is quite small, you aren’t likely to get a solid ROI, if any at all.

Stage 3. Model the User Journey

Here, you must wear the user’s shoes and imagine the actions they will take to achieve their goal with your solution. This is the best way to detect pain points and bottlenecks.

Stage 4. Determine Core Features

When you know about the functionalities your product must have, it’s time to identify and prioritize the mission-critical features of the product. You can figure them out by analyzing user stories or user scenarios you’ve created.

Stage 5. Prototype the Product

Now you can visualize the solution and focus on its UX/UI. Doing this, you won’t abandon the user’s standpoint, and you’ll steer by the desire to make the product appealing in design and foolproof in functioning.

Stage 6. Create and Launch the MVP

The developing team starts coding away and finally delivers an MVP. In some cases, they opt for creating several versions (alpha, beta, pre-release, etc.)—in others, one final MVP is built. When it’s ready, it’s unleashed on the public, who start to test it.

Stage 7. Collect Feedback

This is basically what an MVP in software development is for. And the larger the audience employed for the trial, the more information is likely to be generated. You should analyze it very thoroughly to see where the solution underperforms, what hampers its seamless operation, and how many bugs there are. All this data is to be further used in improving the initial concept.


Launching a new software product is a risky endeavor in the highly-competitive IT environment of today. A surefire way to check the validity of the business idea behind it and gauge the user reaction to its functioning is to create a minimum viable product. Startups can benefit from MVP software development only if they recruit seasoned professionals who know how to maximize the assets of MVP creation and follow a clear-cut roadmap in its implementation.

The mavens of NIX can handle the creation of an MVP for any software product to let you check the validity of the idea and improve its essentials along the way.


What Does MVP Stand for in Business?

This acronym stands for minimum viable product. In the IT industry, MVP is used to denote a pilot sample of a software piece that has core features and can be operated. Its ultimate goal is to become a testing ground for users who voice their opinions as to the solution’s design and functionality that are utilized as guidelines for its further improvement and upgrade. The MVP stage is also the ultimate way to eliminate financial and many other business risks. Adapting dynamically to individual requirements and common demands makes it easier for your product to really hit the spot for your target audience.

What’s the Difference Between an MVP and a Prototype?

A prototype is only the most basic technical representation of the future software piece. It’s a kind of mockup that displays where the elements of the solution will be located and what the UI will look like. It may be clickable, but it’s never fully functional. The goal of a prototype is to outline all end-user interactions in the most scrupulous detail. This is why it is used for solutions rich with such interactions, like public online systems and feature-intense web interfaces. A good prototype helps achieve a highly-personalized, smooth user experience.

How Much Does an MVP Cost?

It depends on many factors, such as the complexity of the solution, the scope of tasks to be implemented, the roster of the developing team and their qualifications, and the tech stack they will employ. A different combination of these may yield a different number, but on average, it stays within the $15,000-$50,000 USD margin.

What is MVP Design?

MVP design is the mapping of features an MVP must possess and their subsequent analysis to determine the vital ones for checking how viable the final product is. This stage is essential to crafting a consistent software piece out of an MVP in development, promoting the subsequent basic-to-complex implementation of elements and improvement through iterations. This is where the foundation is laid, including the basic UX elements and content outlines, as well as UI constraints and visuals.

What Big Names Have Used MVPs?

Amazon. Initially, it was just an online bookstore. Later, it developed into a comprehensive platform offering a multitude of various goods.

Instagram. At first, it was an app for taking, editing, and geotagging photos. Then, sharing, liking, and commenting features were added to the basic roster based on the timely implemented MVP for software development.

Facebook. It started as a platform for connecting Harvard students, but Mark Zuckerberg revolutionized it to turn it into the behemoth we know today.

Spotify. The first idea of its creators was to enable artists to stream their music online. Today, it’s a feature-rich platform that goes far beyond the original goal.

Airbnb. Originally, it was a primitive site where homeowners offered lodgings for short-term rent. Today, it’s evolved into a huge marketplace connecting stakeholders in the accommodation rental domain.

Roman Zelinskyi
Roman Zelinskyi Software Solutions Consultant

With a vast background in business analysis, Roman is keen on identifying actual business challenges, defining tailored software requirements, and navigating IT projects to market success.


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