8 Essential Skills for a Successful MVP Development Team

A page from the MVP playbook: how a strong MVP development team can turn your game plan into a winning strategy.

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by Matias Emiliano Alvarez Duran


Imagine you're standing on the brink of bringing a groundbreaking idea to life. You've mapped out the concept, visualized its impact, and you're itching to get started. But there's one thing holding you back: building that crucial Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

"I just need someone to code it, right?" As many seasoned entrepreneurs and startups will tell you, there's much more to it than just coding - and it starts with a well-rounded MVP development team.

In this article, we'll cover the essentials, from understanding the pivotal roles to recognizing the skills that can make or break your MVP. Get settled in, because your project’s future success may well depend on your next move.

Table of contents

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.

Why do you need an MVP development team?

With the fast-paced life of startups and digital entrepreneurship, the idea of quickly turning an idea into a prototype can be tempting. You might think a single developer or two could stitch together your MVP, get it up and running, and you'd be good to go.

But here's the thing: an MVP isn't merely a stripped-down version of your final product. It's the foundation upon which your full-scale product will be built. That's why it's imperative that this foundation be laid with precision, vision, and expertise. A dedicated team with a mix of skills ensures that your MVP encompasses all aspects – from design and development to testing and deployment - getting your MVP to market faster and in better shape.

Faster by avoiding bottlenecks

Relying on a single person or a tiny team for everything – from conceptualization to deployment – is like placing all your eggs in one basket. What happens when that person faces an unforeseen challenge or a task outside their skill set? Delays, setbacks, and potentially, compromises on the quality of the MVP. A dedicated and diverse team, on the other hand, distributes responsibilities. This distribution not only ensures that every task is handled by a specialist but also minimizes the risk of bottlenecks and delays.

Better with breadth of vision

If you don’t want to battle with the problem of functionality vs. design when creating your MVP, you need to address things from both angles. Let's take a simple example. If a technical glitch arises, a developer might tunnel into fixing it based on their coding perspective. However, a designer could suggest that iterating design mockups could address the issue faster and more effectively. This breadth of vision, stemming from varied expertise, can be the difference between an MVP that works and an MVP that thrives.

Your MVP team: introducing the key players. 

Major championship victories across the world owe their victories to dedicated teams of skilled individuals working in harmony. Well, the same goes for the creation of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Here's a closer look at the roles that usually make up an MVP development team, ensuring that the product is well-rounded, functional and primed for success.

Full-stack Developers: These are the magicians that breathe life into an idea. Full-stack developers, with their holistic understanding of the project, ensure the MVP’s codebase is robust and efficient. Their expertise encompasses both the client and server sides of development, allowing them to ensure technical viability for design and functional aspects.

UI/UX Designers: Their craft goes beyond just aesthetics; it’s about the user journey. UI/UX designers work in close collaboration with clients, managers, and engineers. Their role ensures that the solution doesn’t just look good but feels intuitive, guiding users towards their goals with ease and fluidity.

Project Manager: Overseeing the entire MVP development process is the project manager. From organizing tasks to ensuring collaboration, they act as the bridge between the client's vision and the team's execution. They monitor timelines, manage expectations, and ensure that project milestones are met seamlessly.

Principal Engineer: Think of them as your project’s wise mentor. The Principal Engineer’s deep well of experience becomes pivotal when making key architectural decisions. They ensure that the technical framework of the MVP stands tall against challenges and unforeseen roadblocks.

At NaNLABS, a standard MVP development team typically includes a Project Manager, Principal Engineer, and Designer. Depending on the complexity and requirements, the team might also encompass Front-end, Back-end, or Full-stack Developers as needed to reach our client's goals.

Take Popr.ai for example. By curating a tailored team comprising of three full-stack developers, a UI/UX designer, and a project manager, we overcame their unique development challenges to build a successful and scalable MVP.

But our support doesn't end there. NaNLABS believes in comprehensive solutions, which is why we have an expansive support team. This includes professionals specializing in product development, design intricacies, and technology enhancements, such as DevOps, QA automation, and security. It means we can address any client or project-specific challenges swiftly and efficiently.

In-house vs outsourced

Among the many things you need to know before building your MVP, this one stands out: should you build in-house, employ freelancers, or partner with an agency? While each option comes with its own merits, the facts are firmly in favor of outsourcing. Here's why:

Speed and time to market

Building an MVP in-house can be a time-consuming task, especially with the meticulous hiring processes to onboard different talents. Outsourcing expedites the time to market, as agencies come with ready-made teams experienced in MVP development.

Team dynamics

While freelancers can bring in specialized skills, integrating them with an in-house team can pose challenges in team cohesion. Whereas, choosing MVP development services with agencies like NaNLABS will provide you with existing in-sync teams who have proven track records of collaborative success.

Access to specialist support

Even a proficient in-house team can occasionally face unforeseen technical hurdles. An agency has instant access to specialist developers who can provide solutions without impacting the project’s momentum.

Established processes and experience

Building an MVP is not just about coding; it's about a proven process that leads to success. Agencies like NaNLABS have matured workflows, blueprints for startup MVPs, and insights from previous projects that amplify the quality and efficiency of the MVP.

The cost of an MVP development team

Perhaps one of the most significant considerations is the economic aspect, so let's break down the MVP costs.

In-house development costs:

A software solution goes beyond the initial MVP. It demands consistent updates, enhancements, and scaling, which requires a permanent in-house team. Even with a proactive CTO or lead developer, the required team roles will typically include a Product Manager, Principal Engineer, DevOps Engineer, Full-stack Developers, and a Product Designer. With the average salaries sourced from Glassdoor, you're looking at approximately $860k annually or $70k monthly just on salaries. Factoring in additional costs like onboarding, training, and potential turnover, the figure inches towards $1M per annum.

Agency costs:

A dedicated software agency offers similar team structures but at a significantly reduced cost, typically around $25-35k/month. They can adapt quickly, offer flexible roles, and come with a reservoir of tried-and-tested expertise that aids in more swift and efficient product development.

Sometimes, the best solution marries both worlds. With a flexible team structure, NaNLABS experts can seamlessly integrate with your in-house team, providing a solution that's efficient and cost-effective.

8 essential skills you need from your MVP development team

You’ve got your team, but what should they bring to the table? Developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) requires a diverse set of skills to validate a product idea and ensure the project's success. These skills not only facilitate the development process but also aid in making informed decisions and adapting to unforeseen challenges. 

Here's a breakdown of the essential skills you’ll need from your MVP development agency:

1. Project management

To ensure that your MVP is completed on schedule and within the set budget. Effective project management can be the difference between a project that stays on track and one that veers off-course. Dedicated teams often have an edge in this over freelancers.

2. Account management

A bridge between the development team and the client. They ensure open communication, where client feedback is valued, leading to actionable goals. This was evident in our collaboration on a custom web app project, where the client's strategic vision was seamlessly integrated.

3. Problem solving

Every MVP journey has its set of challenges. Teams with strong problem-solving skills can navigate these issues without affecting the project's momentum.

4. Creativity

More than just making the MVP functional, it's about finding unique solutions and optimizing available resources.

5. Communication

Clear communication among stakeholders ensures that everyone is on the same page, minimizing misunderstandings and maximizing productivity.

6. Listening

Truly understanding the client’s vision prevents unwarranted assumptions and ensures that the MVP aligns with their expectations.

7. Strategy

Thinking beyond the MVP to future scalability and iterations. A forward-thinking approach ensures the MVP is adaptable and growth-oriented. For example, this scalable relationship management app project required a blend of strategic thinking and attentive listening to accommodate Olivia's unique vision.

8. Experience (deep & broad)

A team with diverse project experiences offers a vast knowledge base. Coupled with access to specialist expertise, this ensures the team can effectively handle any challenges that arise during the development phase.

While the MVP's core idea is crucial, the team's collective skills and experience play a significant role in the product's eventual success. Choosing a team that possesses these skills can make all the difference in realizing your MVP's true potential.

Team culture: The real MVP (Most Valuable Player) 

Beyond tangible skills, the culture of the team plays an instrumental role in determining a development project's success. At NaNLABS, we believe that our unique culture is the driving force behind the success of the MVPs we deliver.

Client success is our primary measure

At NaNLABS, our success is intertwined with our client's success. We go beyond just delivering a product; we focus on ensuring that the product aligns with the client's ultimate goals. For instance, during our collaboration with Fluint, we didn't just focus on the code. Instead, we steered the project towards a direction that was most beneficial for their product, ensuring that the end result resonated with their target market.

A decade dedicated to learning and knowledge application

Over the past 10 years, we have been steadfast in our commitment to absorbing new knowledge and applying it to our projects. This wealth of experience gives us the edge in understanding what works and what doesn't in various scenarios. As a result, we can channel our efforts towards crafting the most suitable solution for our clients.

Partnership over contract

We value partnerships over rigid contracts. While contracts lay the groundwork, our team is built on flexibility. This allows us to adapt swiftly to our client's evolving needs. So, when clients choose us, they're choosing a partner who is equally invested in the project's outcome, from planning and scoping your MVP, to the build and beyond.

"[Other agencies] are keen on expanding the project and increasing the scope. NaNLABS came at it from the opposite angle, which was really encouraging for us. Not many people would say, okay let's curb some of the planning and let's just focus on doing this specific thing really well."

Nate NasrallaCo-founder, Fluint

Code-given, goal-driven.

While technical expertise is a given in the software development industry, what sets a team apart is its culture. At NaNLABS, our culture revolves around understanding our client's vision and business objectives, being truly agile in MVP development, and always prioritizing the business impact over technical deliverables.

We believe in not just delivering "great software", but in crafting successful solutions beyond the code.

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 MVP development team or agency

  • What is a minimum viable product (MVP)?

    An MVP, or minimum viable product, is a version of a new product that includes only the essential features necessary to meet the needs of its target audience and gather feedback for further development.

  • What are the benefits of outsourcing the development of an MVP?

    Outsourcing MVP development offers several advantages: faster time to market, access to specialized expertise, cost savings, and the ability to focus on core business activities while experts handle the technical aspects.

  • How much does it cost to outsource MVP development?

    The cost to outsource MVP development varies based on factors like project complexity, desired features, location of the development team, and the duration of the project. Typically, the cost starts at around $25/35k per month. However, it's best to consult with a development agency for a tailored estimate.

  • What should I look for in an MVP development agency?

    Prioritize agencies with a track record of successful MVPs, a client-centric approach, technical expertise, and strong communication skills.

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