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Mar 19, 2024
(Updated on
Feb 21, 2024

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your SaaS MVP In 2024.

Entering the market with an innovative software product is always a risk. Nobody can guarantee that customers will see your vision and product idea. To reduce risk, it is recommended to start with a minimum viable product (MVP). MVP allows you to test the core idea and functionality of a future product with minimal time and money. In this in-depth article, we will look at a step-by-step guide to creating a SaaS MVP product.

What is a SaaS MVP and Why Do You Need One?

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Software as a service (SaaS) is a software delivery model in which a vendor develops and manages a web application that customers access over the Internet. Customers use the application through browsers or mobile applications without worrying about infrastructure, updates, or support. Popular examples of SaaS include Salesforce, Dropbox, Slack, and Office 365.

SaaS has several advantages over traditional software licensing, including:

  • Low upfront cost to the customer — no need to purchase expensive software and hardware
  • On-demand scalability: pay only for what you use
  • Quick and easy access through a web browser
  • Automatic updates and vendor support

However, creating a full-fledged SaaS product requires significant investment in development, infrastructure, and marketing. And no one can guarantee that the product will be in demand in the marketplace.

To reduce risk, it is recommended to start with an MVP. MVP for SaaS is the first working version of the product with the minimum set of features necessary to solve the main tasks of the target audience. The key benefits of an MVP are speed and minimizing early risks. That's why MVP is extremely important for startups and new SaaS products, saving time and budget.

MVP allows you to:

  • Save development time and money
  • Get the product to market faster and get feedback from early users
  • Test hypotheses and understand whether the target audience needs the product
  • Gather valuable information to refine and scale the product

Plan and Prepare for Your SaaS MVP

Before embarking on MVP development for SaaS, it is important to carefully plan and prepare the project. This will avoid mistakes and increase the chances of success. Consider the following key planning steps:

  • Clearly define the purpose of the MVP. This could be to validate a product idea, identify audience needs, or evaluate usability. All subsequent decisions should be in line with the chosen goal.
  • Conduct audience analysis. Gather as much data as possible about potential users—their needs, pain points, and how they work with the software. This will help determine the key functionality and interface of the MVP.
  • Study competitive solutions in the chosen niche and identify their strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to adapt the functionality of your SaaS to offer a truly unique solution to your audience.
  • Choose the channels for getting user feedback during the MVP testing phase. It can be surveys, interviews, or in-app behavioural analysis. Think about the questions and format of the surveys in advance.
  • Write detailed user stories—a description of key scenarios of product use by target users. These stories will form the basis of the MVP development.
  • Create a product backlog based on the user stories, prioritizing the importance of functionality for the MVP. This will give you a step-by-step development plan.
  • Plan the MVP design—make diagrams of the main screens of the service, and think about usability. Sketching the design will speed up further development.
  • Plan the budget and timeline for MVP development, following your business goals and available resources. Consider the cost of supporting and promoting the finished product.

Such systematic planning and preparation minimizes project implementation risks and increases the efficiency of MVP development for SaaS products.

Choose and Build Your SaaS MVP Method

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After careful planning, you can move directly to selecting a development method and creating an MVP. Let's look at the most popular approaches:

  • Landing Page MVP. A one-page business card site for the future product is created, describing its capabilities and value. A form for collecting contacts from interested users is placed on the site. This allows you to assess the demand and interest of the audience with minimal effort.
  • Wizard of Oz MVP. The project team performs all processes manually, but the user has access to a simulation of the finished product. This allows you to assess demand for the service and individual features without investing in full development.
  • Piecemeal MVP. Separate key modules of the product are developed, which are further integrated into a single system. This incremental approach allows versions to be released for testing and feedback more quickly.
  • Mockup/Prototype MVP. A detailed mockup of the application interface is created, simulating real user interaction with the system. This allows you to evaluate the usability of the service and adjust the design and usability before starting full development.

Which method to choose depends on the budget, project deadlines, and current tasks. The main rule is that MVP should provide maximum information about the demand for the product while minimizing the resources spent on development. When implementing MVP, it is important to follow an agile development methodology such as Agile or Scrum. This allows you to quickly make changes based on early user feedback and revise initial decisions as needed. By incrementally adding new functionality to the MVP and testing it with real users, you can cost-effectively understand the product's viability and development prospects.

Analyze Your SaaS MVP Results

After developing the MVP and providing access to target users, the critical phase is analyzing the test results. The future fate of the product depends on how well you analyze user behaviour, feedback, and engagement metrics.

Here are the key questions to answer when analyzing SaaS MVP test results:

  1. Is the product generating interest among the target audience? What percentage of visitors show interest—register, leave contacts, and start using the trial?
  2. How clear is the product's core value to users? What problems or tasks does the audience believe the MVP solves?
  3. Does the functionality implemented in the MVP meet the expectations and needs of the target users? Which tasks can be solved by the MVP and which cannot?
  4. How convenient and comfortable are users with the system? Where do they encounter difficulties? What causes irritation or rejection?
  5. How many users are ready to become real customers once the full product is released? What percentage of the audience is willing to pay for the solution?

Answers to these questions will help you objectively assess the potential of the product and the feasibility of further investment in its development. And most importantly, it will help you adjust your development strategy to successfully bring SaaS to market.

Apply Your SaaS MVP Results

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So the MVP has been tested, and the results have been analyzed. What's next?

If the results clearly show that the product is not in demand by the target audience, it makes sense to stop the project to save money on completing an unpromising SaaS.

In most cases, however, the results are ambiguous. Part of the audience shows interest, but there are also serious comments. MVP does not solve the whole range of user tasks; there are difficulties with the interface. In such a situation, it is extremely important to use the data competently.

Here are the main recommendations for finalizing SaaS MVPs based on user feedback:

  1. Add or remove the features that generated the most interest or opposition from the audience. Focus on key user tasks.
  2. Rework the interface, taking into account comments about inconveniences and adding hints where users got lost. Improve the usability of the system.
  3. If some user segments show more interest than others, tailor positioning and marketing to them. Focus on the most promising customers.
  4. Adjust pricing to reflect the true value of the product and the ability of the audience to pay. Initial expectations may be overestimated.
  5. If you don't have the resources for a full revision, implement a minimum viable product for the most interested segment. This will get you to market faster within the available budget.

Successful use of the data obtained during MVP testing will maximize the use of the resources spent and increase the product's chances of success after the full version is released.

MVP development is a critical phase for a successful SaaS product launch. MVP allows you to save time and budget by minimizing risks early on. By following the steps described in this article, you can maximize the project's chances of success and significantly reduce the risks of investing in the full-scale development of a SaaS solution. Creating a viable and popular product is an iterative process. The MVP here serves as the first iteration, allowing you to gather invaluable data for building a more user-centric service development strategy.

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