What Makes MVPs Agile? Successfully Developing Your MVP Using Agile Methodology

Are all MVPs Agile? Well, yes and no. Get the answers to all your questions about Agile MVP development, plus some practical advice to help you up your MVP game via the Agile approach.

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by Yeimar Cabral Flores


That sketch sitting in your library? It’s time to share it with the world. From idea to launch, we can design, architect and code your MVP vision into reality in 3 months or less.

The Fundamentals of Agile Software Development

Agile is a goal-oriented and iterative approach to software development. In short, using the Agile methodology to develop software helps you get faster results without sacrificing quality.

Agile development teams are also highly flexible and work with tight feedback loops that support continuous improvement and quick adjustments. 

One important thing to note is that Agile is not a simple work method but a mindset that relies on four basic principles:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools – Agile values people and their interactions more than rigid processes and tools.

  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation – While documentation is essential, the primary focus is on delivering a working product.

  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation – Agile encourages close collaboration with customers to understand and address their evolving needs.

  4. Responding to change over following a plan – Agility is about adapting to change rather than adhering to a fixed plan. 

This is the essence of the Agile approach, but if you'd like to dive deeper into the specifics, our complete guide to Agile software development has got you covered!

The Advantages of Agile MVP Development

Technically speaking, all MVPs are agile simply because the concept of building a Minimum Viable Product was first introduced as part of the Agile methodology. Yet, working with a team that can maintain and apply an Agile mindset at every stage of the MVP development process comes with many advantages.  

Here's a bit of what adopting a hard-core Agile approach can do for your MVP project.

Quicker and Higher-quality Results

The principles behind the Agile methodology encourage both purposeful collaboration and frequent communication. These constant interactions help development teams run as well-oiled machines and use their collective intelligence to drive better and faster results for your MVP.

Enhanced Flexibility

Teams with an Agile mindset already expect changes to happen along the way and are well-prepared to deal with roadblocks. Their ability to quickly adapt and iterate means that your MVP project won't come to a halt every time something unexpected comes up. 

Reduced Risks and Leaner Budgets

Agile project management increases visibility into each project phase, allowing you to predict issues and prepare effective mitigation strategies. Pair it with a lean development approach, and you should have no problem keeping your MVP costs well under control. 

Faster Decision-making 

Agile teams are built with subject-matter experts that are allocated according to the specific skill set required at each phase. As experts in their fields, they make decisions without the need for extra approvals, accelerating the pace of your MVP project. 

Increased Customer Satisfaction

The Agile approach encourages clients to be fully involved in the MVP development process. This enhances transparency and makes for a better alignment between what the client expects and what's delivered. 

Working in an Agile Way

After looking at all those benefits, you're probably keen to apply the Agile methodology to build your next MVP! If that's the case, we suggest getting familiar with how Agile teams work and prioritizing Agile contracts when hiring your squad. Here's why.

Agile Teams

By becoming familiar with how Agile teams operate, you'll be able to monitor if your developers are actually sticking to the methodology once the work begins. So we'll offer you a quick summary of what it should look like.

Agile squads use the methodology's framework to break large projects into multiple small work phases, which are usually carried out according to the following development cycle:

  1. Concept

  2. Inception

  3. Iteration

  4. Release 

  5. Maintenance

  6. Retirement. 

Once a cycle is completed, the work is reviewed, and another phase begins, kickstarting a new cycle.

The team itself will decide how the work is done, but the product owner or project lead defines the order of priority in which it will be delivered. 

To boost communication and collaboration, Agile teams have several meetings scheduled throughout the project, including weekly or daily check-ins. Also known as "standups", these short meetings are a great way to keep everyone up to speed and for team members to answer each other's questions. 

Agile Contracts

Agile contracts are essentially fixed-priced contracts with built-in flexibility. These are great for MVP projects since they offer a middle ground between rigid fixed-price contracts, which leave no room for change, and Time & Material contracts, which can make costs hard to control. 

At NaNLABS, we prioritize Agile contracts with 90-day iterations to keep both risks and deviations down. We collaborate closely with clients across the entire project and begin by helping them nail their ideal feature set during the planning and scoping of the MVP. But that scope doesn't need to be set in stone. Our team remains flexible to accommodate changes, provided that the complexity level of what's being developed stays the same.

A Note About Scope Changes Within Agile Contracts

If you decide to add a new feature to your MVP along the way, an Agile contract will allow you to do so, but the key here is to work within reason. When this happens, a good development partner will advise you to remove or deprioritize tasks that have a similar effort estimation. That's what we do with our clients, because it’s crucial to keeping the project on schedule and the budget in check.  

That being said, an experienced and efficient development team might be able to accommodate more than you expect! Since the NaNLABS team is always keen to over-deliver, we usually include a list of “nice to have” items in our projects. These are non-mandatory features that the team will work on if we complete the main scope early.  

Developing an MVP Through the Agile Approach

At this point, you already know a lot about how Agile MVP development works, but we'll outline some best practices that you can look out for to guarantee that your project stays truly Agile. 

Define Clear Objectives and Nail Your Scope

Get clear on what you're trying to achieve with your MVP and work from there to determine your feature set. As hard as it may be, let go of your wish list and narrow your scope down to what's essential. Trust us: sticking to a lean scope massively increases the chances of success for any MVP!

Prioritize Features

Organize your features by order of priority and build the most critical ones first. This helps minimize delays and the risk of running out of budget before the core elements of your MVP have been developed.

Hire Carefully and Trust Your Team

Prioritize proven experience over price when hiring MVP development services, and work with a team that you can fully trust. Once the project starts, listen to their advice and allow your experts to call the shots in relation to their own work. This will not only speed things up but also keep the team motivated, which always translates into better results.  

Communicate Openly And Often

Make sure that all those involved in the project (including the client) meet up regularly and communicate openly. Effective communication is the heart and soul of Agile project management, and the best Agile teams set up daily catch ups to boost alignment and collaboration.

Test Regularly and Iterate Quickly

Engage with your target audience early and often to validate assumptions, and let the user feedback tell you how to move forward. Continuous and quick feedback loops are essential in Agile and help guarantee that your product will meet the desired expectations once it hits the market. 

When MVPs Are Not Agile

As we've mentioned, all MVPs are Agile by principle, but in practice, that's not always the case. Especially when the development team you're working with is not well versed in Agile methodology.  

Let's have a quick look at some common red flags that will tell you that your MVP is not actually Agile with a capital "A":

  • Not delivering incrementally and waiting to present the bulk of the work at a launch date

  • Frequent and significant scope changes that mean "restarting from scratch" multiple times

  • Spending a lot of project time drawing up extensive plans and documentation

  • Team members working in silos and with low levels of collaboration

  • A lack of regular team check-ins or holding long meetings that don't result in actionable plans

  • Not having clear KPIs and metrics to measure project success

NaNLABS MVP Examples & Why an Agile Approach Was the Key to Success 

Since the NaNLABS team has over a decade of experience in developing MVPs through Agile, we've selected a couple of case studies to illustrate what the methodology can do for MVP projects. 

MVP Development Optimization and Finalization for Fluint

Fluint is a B2B SaaS startup with a unique approach to sales that reached out to us midway through an MVP development project which was totally stuck. Their team was struggling to work with an agency that was not only 8 hours ahead but also barely spoke their language, and Fluint faced a real risk of losing all their progress. 

When NaNLABS took on the challenge, the brief was to create a user-friendly platform that served both sales reps and buyers while also enhancing the existing codebase for scalability.

We built trust with Fluint by thoroughly evaluating the project and estimating based on complexity. During the project, the NaNLABS team dove into the bug-infested legacy codebase, cleaned it up, and added advanced features, suggesting the adoption of new libraries for flexibility. Agile collaboration and responsive communication bridged previous language and time zone barriers, and the results were impressive. 

We launched a successful MVP within 90 days, with a user-friendly UX that catered to both user roles. The project also delivered a scalable, high quality codebase, facilitated user feedback for product improvement, and evolved into a long-term partnership between Fluint and the NaNLABS team.

How We Helped Popr.ai design, build, and launch its MVP

Popr.ai, a GIF tool startup, sought to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to attract early adopters and validate its market potential. Lacking technical expertise and facing expensive options in the US, Popr.ai turned to NaNLABS for help. 

Quickly, NaNLABS became an integral part of the Popr.ai team and began the demands of the briefing: 

  • Supporting the generation of hundreds of high-quality animated GIFs on demand

  • Creating a Google Chrome extension that allowed easy extraction of contact information from LinkedIn

  • Launching a successful MVP product within 90 days

To overcome these challenges, our team selected a tech stack that included ReactJS, NestJS, MongoDB, AWS Lambda functions, and S3 buckets. After a seamless handover process, we tackled the extraction of LinkedIn data through a Google Chrome extension, reused code with NPM workspaces for a consistent user experience, and implemented Remotion to quickly generate GIFs on-demand, significantly reducing the customer waiting time.

Through a hard-core Agile approach, we delivered on all the elements in the briefing, and the results spoke for themselves. Popr.ai attracted a waitlist of beta users, achieving early validation of its MVP, and their GIF generation time dropped from 15 minutes to 15 seconds without manual intervention. Since the delivery of the MVP, Popr.ai has also been able to start scaling up its user base without any hiccups. 

And this is only a small sample of the magic our team can work around MVPs! You can check out all of our MVP case studies in full below: 

As you can see, the NaNLABS team lives and breathes Agile, and if that's your jam too, our guide to Agile technical practices will help you make the most of the methodology in your software development.

Key Takeaways Around Agile MVP Development

While most entrepreneurs understand that there are many things to know before you can start building an MVP, not everyone is clear on what makes a development process truly Agile. But the concepts you've just learned already put you in a great position to start looking for a team that will implement them in your next MVP project. Just remember: a great Agile team should be able to quickly generate value, swiftly adapt to changing conditions, and deliver high-quality customer-centric solutions.

That sketch sitting in your library? It’s time to share it with the world. From idea to launch, we can design, architect and code your MVP vision into reality in 3 months or less.

FAQs About Agile MVP Development

  • What is MVP and MMP in Agile?

    An MVP is the most basic version of a product, containing just enough features to satisfy early adopters and gather feedback to inform iterations. An MMP is an expanded version of the MVP, including additional features to make the product marketable to a broader audience.

  • Is MVP Agile or Lean?

    MVP is part of the Agile methodology, but the MVP concept is definitely well aligned with the principles of the Lean methodology.

  • Is MVP Agile or Scrum?

    MVPs are considered Agile since the concept was first introduced within the Agile methodology.

  • Is Scrum or Kanban better for MVP?

    Both are useful for MVP development. While Kanban delivers continuous flow and flexibility, Scrum offers more structure with fixed-length iterations, so the best option depends on the nature of your project.

  • Is MVP part of Scrum?

    No, MVPs are an integral part of the Agile methodology.

  • Which one is better for MVPs: Agile or Waterfall?

    The Agile methodology is considered better for MVP development due to its fast and customer-centric approach with a high level of flexibility.

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