Making a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for Software Development: Our Philosophy

At Software Lighthouse, we believe that the best way to build a successful software product is to start with a minimum viable product (MVP). A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early adopters and provide feedback for future development. It is a way to test a product idea in the market with minimal upfront investment.

Why is an MVP important in software development?

There are several reasons why MVPs are important in software development:

Early feedback from users is crucial for product development, allowing you to make necessary changes before investing too much time and money. By identifying and prioritizing the most important features, you can ensure your product meets user needs and expectations.

How to make an MVP for software development

To make an MVP for software development, you need to:

  1. Identify your target audience and market, Who are you building this product for?
  2. What are their needs and pain points?
  3. Define the core problem that your product solves.
  4. What is the one thing that your product does better than anything else?
  5. Identify the minimum set of features that are needed to solve the core problem.
  6. What are the features that your users absolutely need in order to use your product?
  7. Build a prototype of your MVP and test it with users.
  8. Get feedback from users and make changes to your product based on their feedback.
  9. Launch your MVP and start collecting data.
  10. Track how users are using your product and what features they are using the most.
  11. Use this data to inform your future development decisions.

Examples of MVPs in software development

Here are a few examples of MVPs in software development:


In the early days of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his team had a vision for a social networking platform that would connect people in a way that had never been done before. They believed that by making it easy for people to share information about themselves and their lives, they could create a more connected and meaningful world.

However, they also knew that they couldn’t just build everything at once. They needed to start with a minimum viable product (MVP) that focused on the core functionality of the platform. This would allow them to get feedback from users and iterate on their design as quickly as possible.

The original Facebook MVP was a bare-bones website that allowed users to create profiles, add friends, and send messages. It didn’t have any of the features that we now associate with Facebook, such as News Feed, Groups, or Events.

But that was intentional. The team wanted to focus on the core user experience and make sure that the platform worked well before adding any additional features. They also wanted to gather feedback from early adopters to see what they liked and didn’t like about the platform.

This approach proved to be successful. Facebook quickly gained traction among college students, and eventually expanded to the general public. The team’s focus on the core user experience and their willingness to iterate based on feedback were key factors in Facebook’s early success.

Here are some of the details about the original Facebook MVP:

  • It was launched in February 2004.
  • It was initially only available to Harvard University students.
  • It quickly became popular among Harvard students, with over half of the student body signing up within the first month.
  • It was expanded to other universities in 2005, and then to the general public in 2006.
  • It had a very simple design, with a focus on text and functionality.
  • It was not very user-friendly, but it was functional and allowed users to connect with each other.

The original Facebook MVP was a critical step in the development of the platform. It allowed the team to gather feedback from users and iterate on their design, which ultimately led to the creation of the popular social networking platform that we know today.


In 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, two young entrepreneurs in San Francisco, were struggling to pay their rent. They had an idea: they could rent out their living room air mattress to people attending a sold-out design conference in the city. To test their idea, they created a simple website called, where they could list their air mattress for rent.

The website was very basic. It had only a few pages, and it didn’t have any of the features that Airbnb has today, such as user profiles, reviews, or a secure payment system. But it was enough to get their idea across.

The day before the conference started, Chesky and Gebbia sent out an email to their friends and family, asking them to spread the word about their website. They also posted flyers around the city.

To their surprise, they received three bookings. Three people were willing to pay $80 per night to sleep on their air mattress.

Chesky and Gebbia were thrilled. They had validated their idea: there was a demand for people to rent out their homes to strangers.

Over the next few months, Chesky and Gebbia continued to improve their website and add new features. They also started to experiment with different marketing strategies.

In 2008, they changed the name of their website to Airbnb. By then, they had had over 100,000 users and were generating millions of dollars in revenue.

Airbnb’s MVP was a critical part of their success. It allowed them to test their idea and get feedback from users early on. This helped them to avoid making costly mistakes and to build a product that people actually wanted.

Here are some of the key lessons that can be learned from Airbnb’s MVP:

  • Start small and focus on the core functionality. You don’t need to build a fully-featured product to test your idea. Start with the bare minimum and add features as you need them.
  • Get feedback from users early and often. The sooner you can get feedback from users, the sooner you can start to iterate on your product and make it better.
  • Don’t be afraid to pivot. If your users aren’t responding to your product, be prepared to change course. Airbnb originally started as a way for people to rent out their air mattresses, but they quickly realized that there was a demand for more traditional rentals as well.

Airbnb’s MVP is a great example of how to use the lean startup methodology to build a successful product. By starting small, getting feedback from users, and being willing to pivot, Chesky and Gebbia were able to create one of the most popular websites in the world.


In the early days of cloud storage, there were a few companies offering similar services, but they were all complex and difficult to use. Drew Houston, the founder of Dropbox, saw an opportunity to create a cloud storage service that was simple, easy to use, and accessible to everyone.

However, Houston knew that he couldn’t just build a complex product and expect people to use it. He needed to first prove that there was a demand for a simple cloud storage service. So, he decided to create an MVP (minimum viable product) in the form of a simple video.

The video explained the concept of cloud storage in a way that was easy to understand. It also showed how Dropbox would make it easy for people to store and share their files online. The video concluded with a call to action for people to sign up for a beta test of the product.

The video was a huge success. It quickly went viral and generated a lot of interest in Dropbox. Over 75,000 people signed up for the beta test, and Dropbox was able to collect valuable feedback from its early users.

Based on the feedback from the beta test, Dropbox made some minor changes to its product before launching it to the public. However, the core concept of the product remained the same: Dropbox was a simple, easy-to-use cloud storage service that was accessible to everyone.

Dropbox’s original MVP was a masterclass in product development. It showed that you don’t need to build a complex product to be successful. In fact, sometimes the simplest products are the most successful.

Here are some of the key lessons that can be learned from Dropbox’s original MVP:

  • Focus on the core problem. Dropbox’s original MVP focused on the core problem of cloud storage: making it easy for people to store and share their files online.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Dropbox was not afraid to experiment with different MVPs. They tried a number of different things before they found something that worked.
  • Be open to feedback. Dropbox was open to feedback from its early users, and they used that feedback to improve their product.
  • Don’t be afraid to pivot. Dropbox was not afraid to pivot and change their plans based on new information.

Dropbox’s original MVP is a testament to the power of simplicity and the importance of user feedback. It is a case study that should be studied by all product developers.

We help our clients to build MVPs by following a five-step process:

1. Discovery:

The discovery phase is a crucial step in the product development process, laying the foundation for a successful MVP (minimum viable product). It involves understanding the client’s business, target audience, and the problem they aim to solve. This phase typically takes 2-4 weeks, depending on the complexity of the project.

The significance of the discovery phase lies in its ability to:

  • Align Expectations: By thoroughly understanding the client’s goals and challenges, we can ensure that the product aligns with their expectations and effectively addresses their needs.
  • Identify User Needs: User interviews and market research provide valuable insights into the target audience’s pain points, preferences, and behaviors. This understanding guides the product’s design and features to better serve the users’ needs.
  • Validate Problem-Solution Fit: The insights gained during the discovery phase help us assess whether the proposed solution genuinely addresses the identified problem. This validation ensures that we’re not building a product for the sake of building, but rather creating something that truly matters to the users.
  • Reduce Risk: By investing time upfront to understand the business context, target audience, and market landscape, we can minimize the risk of costly mistakes and pivot points later in the development process.
  • Enhance User Experience: The discovery phase allows us to empathize with the users’ perspective, considering their workflows and pain points. This empathy informs the product’s design and usability, leading to a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.
  • Gain Stakeholder Buy-in: Involving stakeholders from various departments during the discovery phase ensures that everyone is aligned with the product’s vision and goals, fostering collaboration and buy-in for the project’s success.
  • Refine Product Strategy: The insights gathered during the discovery phase can refine the product strategy, ensuring that the product is built on a solid foundation of understanding and purpose.
  • Increase MVP Success: A well-conducted discovery phase increases the likelihood of a successful MVP launch. By understanding the user needs and problem space thoroughly, we can create an MVP that delivers immediate value and attracts early adopters.

The benefits of the discovery phase extend beyond the product itself. By understanding the client’s business and target audience, we can develop a deeper understanding of their marketing strategies, sales channels, and customer support processes. This holistic view allows us to create a product that integrates seamlessly into the client’s ecosystem and drives business growth.tunesharemore_vert

2. Definition:
The MVP Definition phase is a crucial step in the product development process, typically taking around 2-4 weeks. During this phase, collaboration between the development team and the client is essential to clearly define the core problem the MVP aims to solve, identify the essential features required, and establish a roadmap for future development.

This phase is paramount for several reasons. It ensures that the MVP is focused on solving a genuine problem that users face, preventing resources from being wasted on unnecessary features. Additionally, it provides a clear vision for the product’s direction, fostering alignment within the development team and facilitating efficient decision-making.

Benefits of the MVP Definition phase for users include:

  • Clarity and Focus: Users gain a clear understanding of the product’s purpose and the value it intends to deliver.
  • Early Engagement: Users have an opportunity to provide feedback early on, ensuring the product aligns with their needs and expectations.
  • Prioritized Development: Resources are allocated efficiently, prioritizing features that address the most pressing user needs.
  • Continuous Improvement: The MVP serves as a foundation for ongoing development, ensuring the product continuously evolves to meet user requirements.

3. Design Phase: Creating Wireframes and Mockups

The design phase of MVP development involves creating wireframes and mockups to visualize the product’s interface and user experience. This process is crucial for several reasons:

Clarifying Product Vision: Wireframes and mockups provide a tangible representation of the product, allowing stakeholders, including potential users, to better understand its features, functionality, and overall design. This visual representation helps clarify the product vision, ensuring that everyone is aligned on what the product is and how it will function.

Gathering User Feedback: By presenting wireframes and mockups to potential users early in the development process, we can gather valuable feedback on their expectations, preferences, and potential pain points. This feedback allows us to identify areas for improvement and refine the product’s design to better meet user needs.

Time Estimates: Creating wireframes and mockups typically takes a few days to a week, depending on the complexity of the product. This investment of time upfront can save a significant amount of time and effort later in the development process, as it helps to avoid costly design mistakes and ensures that the product is built on a solid foundation.

Benefits for Users:

  • Improved User Experience: Well-designed wireframes and mockups lead to a more intuitive and user-friendly product, enhancing the overall user experience.
  • Early Involvement: Users are involved in the design process from an early stage, ensuring that their needs and preferences are considered throughout the product’s development.
  • Shared Understanding: Wireframes and mockups provide a common language for users, designers, and developers, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding the product’s vision and functionality.

4. Development:

The Development phase of the MVP process involves building the initial version of the product. This phase typically takes 4-8 weeks, depending on the complexity of the product. During this phase, the development team will work closely with the client to ensure that the MVP meets all of their requirements.

This phase is important for a number of reasons. First, it allows the client to see their product come to life and get a feel for how it will work. Second, it allows the team to identify and resolve any potential problems early on. Finally, it allows the team to collect valuable feedback from users, which can be used to improve the product in future iterations.

Users benefit from this phase in a number of ways. First, they get to see their product in action and provide feedback early on. Second, they get a working product that they can start using immediately. Finally, they get a product that is tailored to their specific needs.

5. Launch:

We help our clients to deploy their MVPs to production and to start collecting data on how users are using them. We also provide support and maintenance for our clients’ MVPs after they are launched.

The launch process can be divided into three steps:

  • Step-1: Launch to in-house users. This is a small group of people who are familiar with the product and can help to identify any bugs or usability issues.
  • Step-2: Launch to reference users. This is a larger group of users who are not familiar with the product but are representative of the target market.
  • Step-3: Launch to the mass market. This is the final step, and it involves making the product available to everyone.

By launching the product in stages, you can minimize the risk of problems and ensure that the product is ready for the mass market.

Benefits of launching an MVP

1. Early Feedback and Market Insights:

An MVP allows you to gather feedback from early adopters, providing valuable insights into user preferences, pain points, and overall product reception. This feedback helps you identify areas for improvement, refine your product strategy, and make informed decisions before investing heavily in development.

2. Reduced Development Costs and Time:

By focusing on the core functionalities, an MVP allows you to develop a product more efficiently, reducing overall development costs and time. This approach prioritizes features that address the most critical user needs, minimizing unnecessary investments in features that may not resonate with the target market.

3. Risk Mitigation and Pivot Potential:

Launching an MVP enables you to test your product concept and assumptions in the real world, minimizing the risk of investing significant resources in a product that may not gain traction. If the MVP fails to meet expectations, you can pivot your strategy, adapt to market feedback, and refine your product accordingly.

4. Enhanced User Engagement and Retention:

Early users often become passionate advocates for a product, providing valuable feedback and helping you refine your offering. Engaging these early adopters can lead to increased user loyalty, positive word-of-mouth marketing, and a stronger user base for your product’s eventual full release.

5. Validation of Technical Feasibility:

An MVP allows you to identify and address technical challenges early on, ensuring that your product is technically feasible and can be scaled to meet future demands. By testing core functionalities and addressing technical hurdles early, you can avoid costly setbacks and ensure a smooth transition to a full-fledged product.

6. Data-Driven Product Development:

Launching an MVP enables you to collect real-world usage data, providing valuable insights into user behavior, preferences, and pain points. This data can be analyzed to inform future product iterations, feature prioritization, and marketing strategies.

7. Validate your business model and Attract investors

A successful MVP validates your product’s market potential and business model. Investors prefer to invest in products that have already been launched and proven to be successful.

8. Building Community and Momentum:

Launching an MVP can help you build a community of early adopters and enthusiasts around your product. Engage early adopters with an MVP to gain feedback and build excitement.

9. Early Revenue Generation:

Early revenue from an MVP can validate a business model and attract investment. This early revenue can be used to fund further development, marketing efforts, and expansion into new markets.

10. Build a Brand

Launching an MVP can help you to get your product in front of potential customers and start building brand awareness.


Software Lighthouse can assist you in developing a minimum viable product (MVP) for your business. . By collaborating with Software Lighthouse, you can streamline the MVP creation process and expedite your business’s transition to an online app-based model. Software Lighthouse’s expertise lies in transforming business ideas into functional MVPs that align with your specific requirements and target audience. Crafting MVPs with seamless UI/UX, front-end/back-end, testing, and deployment.

With Software Lighthouse as your partner, you can expect:

  • Efficient MVP Development: Their streamlined process ensures that your MVP is developed quickly and efficiently, allowing you to test your concept and gather feedback promptly.
  • User-Focused Design: We prioritize user experience, ensuring that your MVP is intuitive, easy to navigate, and tailored to your target audience’s needs.
  • Technical Expertise: Our team of experienced developers possesses the technical expertise to handle complex MVP development tasks, including front-end and back-end development, integrations, and data management.
  • Testing and Deployment: We thoroughly test your MVP to identify and rectify any bugs or issues before deployment, ensuring a smooth and successful launch.

By entrusting Software Lighthouse with your MVP development needs, you can focus on refining your business strategy and preparing for your online app-based business transition. Their expertise and commitment to quality will empower you to bring your business idea to life and gain a competitive edge in the digital marketplace.