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How much cost and how long does it take to build an MVP?

We come across many entrepreneurs looking to build an MVP.  Upon discussing idea and product within 10 minutes, we are asked two very important questions.

How much?
And
How long?

And you know what most of them

They want everything !!!

According to me EVERYTHING is the most dangerous requirement.

In this post, I will cover questions related to Scope, Duration and Budget.

Before we jump to those important questions first you need to define the idea as a business on a  Lean Canvas. This will give you total clarity about the business. You can check out this article Startups – Do not take the first wrong step.

Assuming the Lean Canvas is ready. Now, what about MVP?  First some MVP 101.

What is an MVP?

A small definition from internet

“A minimum viable product (MVP) is a Product or a Website or an App with sufficient features to satisfy its early adopters by solving most important pain area.”

Why should you build MVP?

You should build an MVP to validate the solution quickly and avoid building wrong features. It is not about getting acceptance from the customer. The purpose is learning and building right product for right users.

When do you build an MVP?

You should build an MVP once you have first version of Lean Canvas ready with a clear picture of Customer Segment, Problem and Solution.

Now, let us talk about Scope, Duration and Budget.

Scope

First of all EVERYTHING is not a scope.

Secondly Building Facebook Clone, Whatsapp Clone, Uber Clone etc. can be a real scope, but is there a real demand to build from scratch? Why would users switch for the same features?

Even If you decide to build such a product go back in time and see how their first version looked when they launched. That will give you a clear idea on how to scope the product. This link explains how facebook looked initially and evolved over time.

The scope should adhere following criteria from definition.

Sufficient features to satisfy its early adopters by solving most important pain area.

To elaborate little further.

  • Do not load it with features which users across customer segment will want. You should pick up a niche and target them.

  • You should not try to solve all the problem areas at once. You may solve supporting problem to the main pain point.

Following sequence helps us scope the MVP.

  • Layout First Version of Lean Canvas.

  • Derive the most important problem of target customer segment.

  • Check out existing alternatives

  • Validate Problem (With Existing Customers)

  • Derive Solution by creating minimum features that solve the problem (This is what builds the MVP)

Duration and Budget

The scope will drive duration and thus budget. The focus should not be on the overall budget for the entire product development. The idea is to go to market with minimal feature set and start validating at earliest with minimal budget. There will be further iteration in the market after first version.

We at Digicorp, after developing more than 100 MVP, believe that 2-3 months is a reasonable time and 20-30k USD is the budget to build an MVP in most of the cases.  There are two exceptions here.

  1. In some cases, we do not need to build the product in order to validate. In that case duration and budget will reduce and you can still validate.

  2. In some cases, we do not find a way to reduce a lot of features to arrive at a proper viable product in 3 months, in that case, the duration and cost will increase.

There are different claims on various blogs on how long does it take to build a simple, complex apps with figures . There is no thumb rule to find the cost and time to build an app.

A  2013 survey by Kinvey asked 100 mobile app designers to indicate how long they believed it would take to build the major components of Android or iOS app. By averaging the data from the 100 responses, Kinvey identified that a “MVP” would require approximately 18 weeks, approximately 4.5 months to build a quality App. It says 10 weeks only goes into developing the back end.

So, scoping is the most important exercise. It keeps you away from building wrong product and allows you to go to market quicker with minimum budget.

If you have any further questions regarding MVP do connect to us. We would be happy to answer and if possible build one more great product for you.

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