What factors influence MVP cost?

what-factors-influence-mvp-cost

As a startup, there would be few things worse than spending thousands of dollars to launch an application that flops. Creating an MVP does not assure you that the application or software will succeed, but it does help you gather user feedback that would increase the final product’s chances of success. 

If you are wondering what the MVP price might be for your project, this article is for you. You will learn five factors that influence the costs. They will help you get a precise estimate of the total expenses for your software development project. 

Project Scope

You may have a goal of how you want the final project to look, but it is always a culmination of many things working together. To write your project scope statement, you will break down your big goal into what deliverables are necessary to make the project a reality. The table below outlines seven crucial things to include. 

What to outline What it entails
Justification Why do you want the project developed in the first place?
Scope description Elaborate on what is included in the project scope (specific tasks/deadlines/goals).
Business objectives What is your aim? What do you want this project to do for you or your clients?
The deliverables Elaborate on what deliverables you expect, such as features and functions.
Exclusions What does (and doesn’t) the project include? Set clear boundaries on what the development team will NOT be doing. 
Existing or expected constraints Outline any constraints that may stand in the way of delivery. Examples are time, money, and scope.
Assumptions Identify any assumptions you may be making concerning the final project. 

 

Table 1: Table outlining the elements for a project scope statement. 

Technology to Use in MVP

Your platform will comprise tools, frameworks, components, and languages ‒ all working together. The tech stack you chose will significantly affect the final product. It influences UX, UI, and the software’s design and architecture, among other things. You want to choose a tech stack that will meet your project requirements. Most applications’ development processes can be split into two: front-end and back-end. 

The table below shows examples of programming languages and frameworks to pick from. 

Framework Language Reason
Django Python Python is a general-purpose programming language for building apps that use AI and machine learning.
Ruby on Rails Ruby It’s great for startups and can be used to build many types of applications
Node.js JavaScript One of the main advantages of using Node.js is that it allows developers to create cross-platform apps using JavaScript.

Table 2: Examples of frameworks and languages

Number of Integrations and Complexity 

The number of integrations you want to add to your software and the complexity of these integrations can significantly impact your project’s timeline and cost. To better understand how complex integration might be, ask yourself the following questions. 

  1. Do you have easy access to the partner software? Some partners share access to their software, but others are not willing to. The latter would make work relatively harder. 
  2. The number of integrations. Some applications need one or two integrations, while others need more than a few. You should ask yourself which integrations you need during the initial launch, and which ones you can add with subsequent iterations. 
  3. The complexity of the integrations. Complex integrations can increase the cost of your software development. Explore how your team can reduce their complexity. Alternatively, you can find ways of modifying functionality in the long term. For example, you may decide to settle on one-way integration when developing the MVP, then move to two-way integrations in later iterations. 

User Demographics

You want to develop software that your potential customers will find helpful. For that reason, you must understand your potential clientele. You can do this by conducting surveys and studying the market. With this information, you can create potential client personas and design the software to solve these personas’ problems. 

It may be tempting to come up with multiple specific personas and develop an MPV that will serve all of them. Resist this urge. Focus on developing an app that serves a limited number of personas representing a varying group of people. With future iterations, you can expand the software to serve more types of audiences. 

Futureproofing, Maintenance, and Scalability

You cannot be fully prepared for the future, but you can take specific actions today to minimize the effects of stress. Two great ways to do this are to account for maintenance and scalability. 

When you develop software that is easily scalable and easy to maintain, you are sure that it will be relatively effortless to launch a full-scale app after the MVP release. You want to futureproof your software so that it can remain relevant and valuable long-term. 

One thing that affects the scalability of your application is the type of architecture you chose. The table below shows the difference between using monolithic and microservices architectures for your software development. 

Key Monolithic  Microservices 
Scale
  • Not easy to scale with increased demand. 
  • Scaling applied to the entire code base. 
  • Easy to scale with increased demand.
  • It allows horizontal scaling, i.e. scaling an individual microservice facing a larger load.
Database Uses shared database Each module uses its own database
Basic Built as one extensive system with one codebase ideally Built as small independent modules with different functionality
Management Management may be difficult, especially for joining developers as they have to understand the logic of the monolithic application Onboarding developers is easy as they only need to understand the specific microservice they are working on
Deployment Due to the large codebase, the startup time is slow and the development takes longer Shorter development time, as each project is small in size and independent
Coupling Difficult to change language, tech, or framework as everything is tightly coupled together Easy to change framework or tech as every project is independent. 

 

Conclusion

If you ask a development company to estimate the cost of developing your MVP, you will likely get a wide price range. The five factors explained in this article are examples of what would influence the price of building your MVP. Having a clear understanding of what you want in the MVP can help you get a more precise price. 

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