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How to define the scope of a software MVP

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How to define the scope of a software MVP

Are you bootstrapping and aiming to develop software products by edging on a fixed MVP scope?

Companies, especially startups, should have a clear-cut idea about the time, budget, and resources needed for different phases of their software project.

A startup becomes successful after it traverses through several tries and twitches- it is not an easy journey as you know. To save your company from potential setbacks, it is important to do the groundwork.

Defining the purpose or design of your app, doing the market research, fixing the budget limits, defining the working methodology- all should be under your purview to avoid the risk of a software product development.

How exactly can your business circumvent the potential risks?

Well begun is half done- the same goes for your MVP and its scope! If you define the scope, develop an MVP, and then thrust your software project forward, you can certainly have sure-shot results.

Let us now pull to bits and fathom what the scope of a software MVP is all about.

What is software MVP scope?

Before understanding the MVP development scope, it is important to understand ‘scope creep’. Scope creeps are the biggest challenge that you might come across during software product development. Scope creeps are deviations from the actual scope of the MVP and are the prime reason for the additional time and cost of your project.

Most projects suffer from scope creeps, but there are ways in which you can launch your MVP faster. For example, identifying the probable scope creeps at the earliest is one way to avoid derails in your software development- an experienced company can do it with ease, but a startup will need a company that has experience in software development.

The MVP scope clearly defines almost every element that is required to be completed and delivered for launching your product. The scope will consist of deliverables and their subs, alongside the requirements listed under each of these deliverables that include parameters such as: · Analysis of the software ideas

  • Prioritizing the features and functionalities
  • Providing deliverables on preset time limits
  • Collaborative efforts required
  • Development methodology
  • Development teams and departments

When to define the scope of MVP?

Generally, the scope of MVP is defined after prioritizing the features. A skeletal version is then prepared first showing the smallest usable version of your product devoid of functionalities. Sometimes this version can be similar to the MVP, except the fact that the MVP will have more functionalities than it.

At this point, more clarity is made to the MVP scope by identifying the features that are absolutely necessary for providing value to your business and its stakeholders. In short, this is the point where

you define the scope based on the MOSCOW feature prioritization approach i.e. ‘must have’, ‘should have’, could have’, and ‘won’t have’ features.

The importance of defining the scope before initiating MVP development

How can you determine the resources and other things that go into building the software MVP? Defining the scope is one way to do that.

An ideal MVP scope will help the stakeholders pinpoint the absolutely necessary features and functionalities of the MVP. Besides, you can also refer to the scope to predict risks, identify areas that need improvement, chances of cost reduction, among others.

Why do startups need to define their MVP scope?

Starting product development without defining MVP scope is like diving deep into the waters with the faintest inkling of what will happen next. Developing AI/ML apps, for instance, are the best examples to show how important it is to think backwards. For such kinds of complex projects, it is better to avail of the services of a startup IT solutions company.

To understand which features give the maximum customer value and identifying the largest possible break-off copy of a particular product, startups should define their MVP. Defining your MVP will give you the idea of features that are actually worth having and which will yield ROI.

Taking a few weeks for defining the MVP scope can save your business from losing months during the actual product development. How can MVP be the right IT solution for startups? Improve the maturity of your product by cooperating with your team and developers and together identify what factors contribute to the product’s success.

What are the components of a software MVP scope?

Creating an ideal MVP scope from scratch is a painstaking task. What you need to do is the kick-off with an initial draft, regardless of how disordered it may be, then iterate and finally sharpen it up. There is no rush for MVP scoping. If you follow the processes prudently, you will save a lot more time later during the development phases.

Firstly, the MVP scope should contain all the functionalities to be delivered within the stated timeframe and should be centered on the different versions.

Secondly, the MVP development scope should have the first version of your software product alongside the enhancements included in the iterative steps that follow. You must emphasize the consistency of teams involved, development costs, performance metrics, and other limitations at this stage.

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While compiling the MVP scope, there are several factors to be considered like:

  • Budget
  • Working methodology
  • Deliverables
  • Milestone
  • Timelines
  • Documentation

Budget:

Mentioning the budget in the contract alone isn’t enough. Adding the budget parameters in the MVP scope will make your plan robust. Do not mention the financial plans in terms of cost, team, and add-on costs for completing your project.

Working methodologies

If you are not on the same page with your software outsourcing partner regarding the working methodology of development – for instance, should you go for agile methodology or waterfall methodology – that itself can create grave issues like unequaled outlooks, timeline mismatches, and collaboration disputes.

Communicate clearly to your client and settle on a working methodology that perfectly matches your MVP development.

Deliverables

While outlining the scope, include deliverables from your outsourcing partner like end results, codes, certifications, etc. alongside expected features, functionalities, sprint plans, releases, reports, and the end-product the client wants.

Milestone

If you are following the agile working model, each sprint along with mini-deliverables form the milestone. Each sprint wins milestones and milestones get you to final product delivery.

Timelines

Know what to expect when with preset timelines. This way you can be sure of when to expect each feature or functionality and when the project can be accomplished. Be flexible with the time margins so that there won’t be any last-minute surprises when there is a need for adjustments or changes that might occur during sprints.

Documentation

Defining the scope concludes with proper documentation. Be clear about your requirements and know how to collaborate or communicate on how to get things done. This documentation is your guide to monitor the project’s progress and ensure that it is on the right track.

Defining the scope of software MVP: Steps involved

The scope of an MVP takes account of the software requirements and its key components. This includes deliverables, milestones, timelines, documentation, and team velocity, and individual responsibilities. The different steps you need to assume while defining

MVP scope are:

  • Evaluate business goals
  • Recognize the target audience
  • State user flows and prioritize features
  • Narrow down the major deliverables
  • Note the milestones and timelines

Evaluate business goals

Identify the requirements, document your business objective, and set clear-cut goals that should be achieved for developing the software MVP. Try to answer questions like:

  • Why is the MVP being developed?
  • What are the benefits that the MVP should offer?
  • When can software development be completed?
  • What will be the overall development cost?

Defining the scope of MVP begins with the setting, analyzing, and writing your business goals.

Recognize the target audience

You are developing the software with a particular set of audiences in your mind. Understand who is going to benefit from your product and this will help in preparing the scope of MVP development. First, you need to select a sample audience, categorize them, and understand what you want to achieve through them. Again, you have a set of questions to answer to get a better understanding of your customer base:

  • Who is the ideal audience for my product?
  • What benefits should the features and functionalities of my MVP offer the users?
  • How will users benefit from my product?

That gets us done with the second step of defining the MVP scope.

State user flows and prioritize features

Describing the user flows, creating the wireframe, prioritizing the features, and fixing the deliverables will help in comprehending what is needed and what is not. Based on the features prioritized, start developing each of the fixed features.

Prioritization strategies like MoSCoW are executed at this phase.

This is the stage where we sign up different elements like technology stack, UI flow, team members, and deployment strategy.

Narrow down the major deliverables

Construct the list of features that is critical for your project to achieve the end goals. Each deliverable should be solid and quantifiable. Be sure that you create the deliverables based on the prioritized features that you have set for each sprint.

Note the milestones and timelines

The deliverables are your milestones. Set your milestones and set the timeline for achieving each milestone. Execute your plans to accomplish these milestones each time when a version of the MVP is released. Your stakeholders can thus have a rough idea of when they can get the finished product.

Endnote:

Your MVP scope is a key step that you should take before kicking off the software MVP development. This is not just for envisaging the project and the different stages, but also for getting clarity on the SDLC. Try to be specific about the scope, and clear confusion as and when it occurs.

The better you define the MVP scope, the better your software MVP and the success rate of your project will be.