Creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a critical step in the development of any digital solution. It allows businesses to test out their ideas and gather feedback from users before investing substantial resources into a fully-fledged product.
However, before one begins to create an MVP, it's important to gather the key requirements for it. Not only do they help to understand how the end result will look but also pace the development process and establish good coordination among all team members.
In this article, we'll discuss how to identify MVP requirements, who is responsible for gathering them, and how to put them together in a single document.
1. Defining MVP Requirements
In order to define what the key requirements for an MVP are, let's first look at how the Minimum Viable Product is different from a fully-fledged one. It is basically an instrument that allows for testing your business concept. It normally includes only the most important functionality, enough to meet customer needs, and one or two killer features that can immediately put it ahead of the competition.
It is also a great way to test some innovative ideas if you're a startup. For example, you may see a new trend rising and try to incorporate it into your offering before the competitors fill that newly formed niche.
All this just goes to show that MVP product requirements aren't some sort of precise and accurate criteria. We recommend approaching the MVP as only the initial version of the product, which means the requirements for it may adjust as the MVP evolves.
MVP requirements should be minimally viable to the extent necessary for covering all MVP functionality, ensuring stable product performance, all without delving too much into tech details and nuances.
The main goal of an MVP is to market fast, so some secondary aspects might be set aside for later. It means that some non-functional requirements, for example, can be worked through a bit later in the process — for the sake of faster and more cost-effective development at earlier stages.
Who is Responsible for them?
It's important to understand that the process of requirements gathering for MVP is a two-way street, meaning the client should also actively participate in this process. With that being said, the most commonly involved in completing the MVP requirements template are the responsible Product Owner (or client's representative) and Business Analyst (BA), or the Project Manager with BA skills.
2. Why Your MVP Needs Requirements
First and foremost, by setting requirements for your MVP you can better oversee and manage expectations regarding the ready product. It helps to bring all the parties involved in the project development onto the same page. Thanks to the requirements being set you can understand what users will get, how the app or software features will look, how they will be integrated technically, and so on.
In case the MVP requirements get ignored, the team and a client risk ending up in a situation where in the middle of the development process no one knows where the project is heading, or each party has their own expectations regarding the final product and interprets expected output differently. This, in turn, heavily influences the MVP delivery timeline and project budget.
3. Types of Most Important Requirements for an MVP
All MVP requirements normally get broken down into two major groups — functional and non-functional.
MVP functional requirements are those related to the system behavior and business model of the product. They define what an MVP is supposed to do and how it is supposed to function. Here all the requirements regarding business logic for each and every feature — that will be added during MVP development — get outlined.
MVP non-functional requirements don't directly affect the functionality of a product but lay the foundation for a good UX. These refer to usability, accessibility, product security, compliance, and so on.
Implementation of non-functional requirements is time and budget demanding. This is why during the development of an MVP the most logical way to proceed is to reduce to a minimum the number of resources spent on those. Obviously, we shouldn't ignore them completely; however, when your budget is tight, it's necessary to prioritize tasks in order to get to the finish line with the project.
As it is with any other project, the MVP tech requirements may change over time as the project grows. This is why it's necessary to systematically update the documentation and check the relevance of the requirements themselves. The MVP requirements should be:
- Bounded (to other related requirements),
If you're developing an MVP for a narrow market niche, or your product targets an audience of a specific profession, location, or age, then we also recommend taking into account additional compliance regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, FDA, etc. — depending on the region you are creating a product for.
4. Ways to Gather Requirements for MVP
By gathering MVP requirements via focus groups you can get valuable insights into the key aspects of your MVP. You can present users with your product concept and gather their feedback on whether your idea meets their needs or is able to solve their problem. It will also help you define areas of your project that might be overlooked at the moment.
Another way to collect feedback from your target audience is by running surveys. Here, you want to hand out to your potential clientele a list of questions to help you define what their primary and secondary needs are. Obviously, you want to target their primary needs and put together an MVP requirements document based on those.
Checking the existing functionality of some of the similar products that are already on the market would help you understand what features are must-haves and which ones are not and you can put them away for later. By analyzing your competition you can better understand what functionality the market is missing and be the first to offer it.
Brainstorming sessions with your team are another way to gather requirements for MVP. You want to collect as many ideas as possible to define new directions and hidden opportunities for your product. Brainstorming can actually be done to complement any of the research activities mentioned above.
5. How to Write MVP Requirements Document
Once you have an understanding of what features to integrate into your product, you need to prioritize them. Split them into two major groups:
- those that will be added to MVP
- those that will be added during the future updates
After that, you can proceed to describe the requirements for each particular feature in the document. One of the ways to do that is with the help of user stories. The logic is pretty simple here: I (role) do something (action) to achieve something (result).
For example — I as a user, enter my password and email to sign up with an app.
In the MVP requirements document you can also outline the Acceptance Criteria (АС) for your development team so they understand the criteria required for each feature to be considered ready for release.
For example — the email input field must contain @ character, domain, can't contain any other special characters, etc.
The MVP requirements also apply to general UI flow, because you want to know how exactly users will interact with your product. This is why requirements for the user interface are also specified in the document.
Aside from that you can also analyze and write down non-functional requirements for your MVP. However, depending on your project, you can either spend minimum resources on those (if they are not the top priority of your project) or dedicate additional time to them instead — especially if we're talking about compliance with specific recommendations, requirements, or legislative instructions.
As a result, your MVP requirements document should contain:
- List of prioritized features and their description,
- UI flow description,
- List of non-functional requirements (if necessary at this stage).
After that, you can proceed to decomposition, estimation, and further planning of the work scope.
Note, the MVP requirements document may include additional sections depending on your project. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. If you need to get a completed document for your project it's better to contact our managers directly.
6. Consider Lunka.tech Your Trusted Partner
Working in the software development industry for 5+ years we know how hard it can be to get your project off the ground without a proper team. That's why we do our best to ensure that the development of each project goes as smoothly as possible for our clients, whether we're working with a startup or enterprise-level client.
Every MVP software and app we approach as our own product. We take the time to get to know our clients and really understand their needs so we can develop software that works perfectly for them.
Our team is always ready to help. We don't shy away from working with complex projects, and this can be clearly seen in our portfolio. So, whether you need to develop a new product or support an existing application, we've got you covered!
7. Final Thoughts
Gathering the key requirements for an MVP is essential if you don’t want your project to fall apart and actually make it to the release date. Knowing what your objectives are, and what features and functionality are needed will significantly ease the cooperation and communication for all parties included in the development process.
Additionally, when gathering the requirements for your MVP you can get a better understanding of your target audience and get valuable insights that can help improve your development strategy. All in all, gathering MVP requirements is an important aspect that shouldn't be overlooked.
If you have any questions on how to write MVP requirements or simply are on the lookout for a dependable software development team, don't hesitate to contact us at Lunka.tech!
What is the point of creating an MVP?
An MVP or Minimum Viable Product helps companies determine the viability of their product, refine their idea, test a business model, and make better decisions about how to proceed.
What is an MVP document?
An MVP document contains all the requirements for the project in terms of functionality, compliance, and general structure. It may also contain all the necessary information about the target audience, survey results, and so on, collected during initial research.
How to identify MVP requirements?
The key MVP requirements will depend on the type of product you’re creating and the problem that you’re trying to solve. They can be established based on the information you collect about (and from) your target audience. Their current needs, preferences, and buying habits, as well as the market state and competition — all this will influence the requirements for your MVP.
What should an MVP contain?
MVPs normally come with a minimum set of core features, enough to attract the early users of the product and get their feedback regarding the concept they are presented with.