MVP in Agile Development: Why, How, What for?


What is an MVP, and why should you care?

Simple. MVP startup development is your ticket into the successful future of your business. MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, is the core of your digital product, a base version stripped of all bells and whistles down to the essentials. 

Is it just a simplified version of a final product, then? The most basic one spawned quickly? Yes and no. Depends on the meaning you put behind these words. The emotional emphasis, if you will.

If you don’t look too deeply into it, it might seem like an MVP is inferior to a final shiny product. It’s simple, produced more quickly, and has fewer functions. Doesn’t sound all that impressive at first glance, does it? Oh, but it is.

Imagine the market you want to infiltrate as an ocean. It’s wide, deep, and big sharks are lurking in the deep here. Jumping into full-cycle development, skipping an MVP stage, would be like diving into the middle of the ocean from a helicopter. Not the safest nor the most reliable way to approach diving. 

The point is an MVP will help test the waters. You’ll get on a boat, scout the area and ask an instructor how to approach this venture better. You’ll find the best routes, discover where the big fishes are, and where the reefs you want to avoid are hiding. You’ll know what to expect. Invaluable information that will come in handy later when you’ll lead a whole group here, pouring your time and money into an expensive cruise.

MVP is about looking around and seeing what the people like. Have a business idea? It needs validation. Not just on paper, in your head, or from the words of your investors. You must confirm your assumptions with the customers who will actually engage with your product. Since MVP is a distillation of your product idea, an alpha version with essential features, it’s much more convenient to test the market with its help. Then, once you validate your business idea and gather feedback from real users, you’ll be able to proceed with more confidence. 

Okay, but what if you’ll fail? We all know by this point that 90% of emerging startups are unfortunate enough to disappear within the first year.

Ever heard of the phrase “fail faster”? MVP will help you to do just that: fail more efficiently, saving time, money, and effort if your idea is bound to sink anyway. MVP provides risk management in the industry where risks await on every corner, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. 

Let’s say it’s decided, then. You’ve sipped thoughtfully on your coffee, pondered the prospects of hiring developers, and asked your colleagues for their opinion. Building an MVP for the product you’ve been planning seems like an excellent idea, indeed. Great!

Wait. How do you actually do it?

Let’s dive deeper.

Create a Product Backlog

This will be a list of all the features, requirements, and tasks you will need to complete to finish your MVP. The product backlog is a live document that constantly evolves throughout the development process. Ever-evolving, everchanging. Poetic, really. 

To create a backlog for an MVP, the first step is to define the core functionality that solves the customer's problem. From there, the development team can start to brainstorm and identify all of the features and requirements needed to build that core functionality.

Once you have a list of tasks, you can begin to prioritize them based on their importance to MVP production. You can use techniques like user story mapping, for example. You map out the user's journey and identify the key features needed to support them along the way.

You will need that organized version of the list to create a sprint backlog. That would be a list of the specific tasks and activities your developers will work on during each iteration of the development process. This backlog is typically reviewed and updated at the beginning of each sprint to ensure that the team focuses on the most important tasks at any given time.

With this approach, you’ll be able to stay productive every step of the way. You'll have an overview of things that are finished, pondering, or yet to be started. A neat system for organizing complex projects.

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Plan sprints

Once the development team has created a prioritized list of tasks required to create an MVP, the next step is planning sprints.

What is a sprint in practice? It is a defined development period during which your team works on tasks from the product backlog. Sprints are typically short, with a duration of one to four weeks.

Having intermediary deadlines like these helps the team focus on delivering value to customers in small increments. The whole development process stops being this neverending enormous type of beast and becomes relatively straightforward, streamlined, and finite. You will be able to measure and evaluate bite-sized results.

An issue popped up while you were at it? Good thing you won’t have to wait six months before you find out. The Sprint approach really helps to adjust your further navigation. Speaking from experience here.

To plan sprints for an MVP, the development crew will review tasks and determine which ones can be completed within the timeframe. The team will then create a sprint backlog, a list of the specific tasks and activities to be worked on.

The sprint backlog should be derived from the product backlog and include only the tasks required to deliver value in the current sprint. The team will then estimate the time and effort required to complete each task and use this information to create a plan with goals and objectives.

During the sprint, the team will work on the features identified in the backlog and hold daily stand-up meetings to discuss progress, identify any roadblocks, and adjust as needed.

You will ensure that you are making steady progress toward the end result. At the same time, this system allows for flexibility in the development process. Very agile in this development, really. 

Hold daily meetings

Having a working system is the key to being productive. Scrum is that system. It’s how developers stay on top of things without getting caught under an avalanche that is a backlog. 

Daily Scrum meetings are a key component of the development process. Also known as daily stand-up meetings, they are designed to help the team stay aligned and focused.

Typically this practice involves gathering together for a brief, time-boxed meeting. Each member updates their progress, discusses any bottlenecks they have encountered and outlines their next steps.

Daily meetings are typically led by a Scrum Master, responsible for keeping everyone on track. A meeting usually is no more than 15 minutes and is held at the same time and location each day to help with consistency.

These meet-ups help to promote collaboration and communication among coworkers. It’s also a very useful approach to ensure everyone is aware of progress.

Test and iterate continuously

“Agile” in agile development is about being flexible. It’s about mindset as much as it is about technical skills. Constantly testing your ideas and software in action, spotting weak points, fixing, iterating, and testing again. 

Improving the product is critical. This involves regularly testing the MVP with users and gathering feedback to identify areas where improvements can be made.

The development team will typically incorporate user feedback into each sprint. This can involve running user tests on new features or functionality developed, gathering reviews through surveys or interviews, or monitoring user behavior and engagement using analytics tools.

Based on the feedback received, the team will identify the potential for enhancement and will incorporate improvements into the next iteration. This may involve adding new functionality, optimizing the interface design or UX, and addressing bugs or issues.

The key to successful iteration is to focus on delivering value to users in small, incremental steps. By doing this regularly, you can ensure that you are building a product that meets the actual needs of your prospects.

Review the Backlog and revise it when needed

Your backlog is not carved into stone. In fact, the further you get in the development, the more changes it will need. You can never predict all the issues and sub-tasks that will emerge once you get through the list.

That’s a good sign. You are getting the job done, step by step, while constantly analyzing the progress you made. Complacency is not your friend here; sticking to the first plan you made like it’s a bible wouldn’t actually do you any good.

Sure, you need to stay focused on your initial goal, but additional tasks will inevitably appear. Some things will only become apparent once you’re in the middle. Some things look better on paper. Some will only emerge after a certain amount of work is done. Once you start testing for bugs, for example, you will encounter software-breaking errors that must be addressed yesterday. Put that into your backlog and make sure to work on that.

Stick to your main course, but don’t be afraid to adjust it. Addressing the problems once they are presented will only make you more efficient.

Prioritize based on provided Value

“But all features are valuable!” cries your internal voice while you’re looking at the whiteboard filled with handwriting. While all features certainly can bring value to one extent or another, not all of them have a place in your MVP.

Remember that part about only including essentials? Let’s focus on that. Take your list of features and mark only absolutely vital ones. It can be harder than it seems, right? Worry not. If, after hours of pondering, you are still nervously glancing at an intimidating length of the list in front of you, here’s what you should do. 

Divide the features into four categories:

  1. Must have.

Absolute essentials. The core of your software. Functionality without which your product simply wouldn’t exist.

For Dropbox, it’s being able to share files. For Spotify — stream music. For Google search, it’s coming up with fast results.

If you have trouble with this category because everything seems just that important, think about it this way. Do you need a sleep timer in your Spotify player for it to be useful? No. The only thing it really must do is replay music on demand.

Sure, it’s cool to have a sleep timer and a shuffle option, and personal profiles of your favorite artists you can visit. But it also will do without those things. On the other hand, if your player cannot play soundtracks, what is even the point?

“Must haves” are the features your product will not exist without and cannot perform its main function without. That should be a very exclusive list you end up with.

  1. Should have.

High impact but is less urgent. Those features will add significant value for your users, but technically they can live without such functionality. Still, even though those are not vital, try to include them.

  1. Could have.

These are nice things to have. If you’ve finished the necessary column and still have time and resources left before the deadline.

  1. Won’t have.

Not urgent. Brings nothing to the table. Cut that off, and don’t look back. Future you will pat yourself on the back for that.


To deliver an MVP, the development team should ensure it is stable and functional. All the necessary testing and quality assurance should be completed to achieve that. Remember that you also want to have a plan for how the product will be launched and marketed, including any promotion or advertising.

But wait. Delivering an MVP is not the end of the road, is it?

No, it’s not. It’s not so much an end of the development process but rather a new beginning. The team continues to iterate the product and improve based on customer feedback. By continuously gathering new reviews and making adjustments, you will ensure that the product you maintain meets the needs of the customers and stakeholders. That is ultimately a more successful result.

Avoid these Top mistakes

  1. Not identifying the core problem.

Building an MVP that doesn't solve the core problem of your target audience will lead to a product that nobody wants. Don’t do it. Conduct market research, perform competitor analysis, and determine your goals clearly. Stumbling in the dark and developing a product blindly is not the best plan.

  1. Overbuilding the product.

Trying to add too many features will make a product too complex and costly. That would be the exact opposite of what you want from your MVP. Focus on the essential features that solve the core problem.

  1. Underestimating the importance of UX.

A poor excuse of user experience will turn off potential customers and lead to low adoption rates. Make sure your website is pleasant to use and convenient to navigate. 

  1. Ignoring customer feedback.

Gathering and analyzing customer feedback is critical to the success of an MVP. Ignoring it can lead to a product that doesn't meet customer needs, and we clearly don’t want that to happen.

  1. Not having a clear launch strategy.

A lack of planning can lead to a lack of interest and engagement with the product. Stick to deadlines, and start a marketing campaign. Have a clear structure to follow up until your software is published live.

  1. Not testing the product with real customers.

Testing an MVP with real customers is critical to identifying and addressing any issues or shortcomings. This approach will also inform you about clients' preferences or dislikes concerning your product. You can draw a lot of insights from live testing. Don’t skip this part.

  1. Not having a backup plan.

Let’s be real: even the best-planned MVPs can fail. It’s simply business. The bitter truth is not every project succeeds, and not everyone succeeds at the first attempt. It's important to have a backup plan in case things don't go as expected.

Agile MVP examples

Theory can be daunting without practice, so let us help you with that. Throughout our career as a web development agency, we’ve completed our fair share of projects, including creating MVPs. We compile case studies on the projects we’ve completed, so you can peek behind the curtains at how the development is being conducted.

If you want to discover the process of MVP development in more detail, consider checking out these reports:

  • Case study Acheteur, where we discuss the MVP application creation process for a real estate agency from Switzerland.
  • Case study Kortreist Ved, where we explain how we’ve built an MVP product for a multi-vendor marketplace for firewood based in Norway.


Agile development is about the agile approach: flexibility of a mindset and adaptability of your actions. Building an MVP is an amalgamation of that. You need to be able to prioritize some features and be willing to cut others. You will also face some unexpected tasks along the way. Keeping an open mind and asking yourself, “Okay, what can we do about that right now?” will help you get through.

Agile development as a movement emerged when developers were faced with stagnation and a lack of efficiency in business operations. Learn from the best practices. Start your journey to success with an MVP.

Test the waters before diving straight into the middle of the ocean. In that way, you’ll know where the sharks are.


Why is MVP important in agile?

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is important in Agile development because it enables teams to deliver a functional product to the market quickly and gather feedback from users. By focusing on the most valuable features first, MVP helps teams save time and resources while ensuring that the product meets user needs. MVP also helps mitigate risks by identifying any issues early.

What is MVP in agile methodology?

In Agile methodology, MVP is the smallest possible product version that still provides users value. The MVP allows teams to test their assumptions and gather user feedback while minimizing the time and resources required to build a full-featured product.

What comes after MVP?

After an MVP completion, the next step is to iterate and improve the product based on user feedback and market demand. This involves adding new features, improving existing ones, and fixing bugs or issues. The goal is to gradually build more robust, feature-rich software that meets the market's needs.

What comes after MVP?
What comes after MVP?
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After an MVP completion, the next step is to iterate and improve the product based on user feedback and market demand. This involves adding new features, improving existing ones, and fixing bugs or issues. The goal is to gradually build more robust, feature-rich software that meets the market's needs.

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