How to Establish the Scope of a Software MVP
How to Establish the Scope of a Software MVP

The concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) revolves around creating the most basic version of a product for a rapid release, allowing for faster iterations. Many businesses and startups opt for the MVP development approach due to its emphasis on speed, efficiency, and feedback-driven improvement.

However, the success of an MVP launch isn’t guaranteed, and a common reason for failure is the lack of a well-defined scope. Failing to establish the scope early on can lead to confusion, unspoken expectations, and misunderstandings between the product owner and the software development outsourcing company.

When constructing an MVP, it’s easy to become bewildered by questions about deliverable features, timelines, and anticipated outcomes. Defining the scope of work can eliminate such uncertainties.

Scope of a Software MVP

Yet, many companies find this aspect of software projects challenging and time-consuming. In this blog, we aim to address this challenge by not only discussing the significance of the MVP software scope but also aiding in understanding its components and the steps required to define it. Let’s dive in.

What Is the Scope of Software MVP?

What Is Scope Of Software MVP
                                                 What Is Scope Of Software MVP

In essence, defining the scope of software development involves analyzing the software idea, prioritizing features/functionality, agreeing on deliverables within specified timelines, and determining collaboration details. It also covers the development methodology to be employed and the teams and departments involved in the process.

The scope of work for an MVP encompasses all tasks necessary to launch the product, dividing the development into mini-deliverables with listed requirements for each.

Components of Scope of Work

When defining the scope of software MVP, it should encompass all functionalities to be delivered within specified timeframes and across different versions. It should outline the reliability of team members, development costs, performance metrics, and other constraints.

By establishing the software scope at the outset, stakeholders can estimate required resources and gain insights into building the software MVP. A well-defined scope aids in identifying necessary features, predicting risks, finding areas for improvement, and opportunities for cost reduction.

Components of Scope of Work:

1. Budget:

  • Specify project budget, including expected rates, hours, and additional costs.

2. Working Methodology:

  • Ensure alignment in development methodologies between the product owner and the outsourcing partner.

3. Deliverables:

  • Outline expected features, functionalities, version releases, reports, or end products.

4. Milestones:

  • Divide the project into sprints or phases, each acting as a milestone towards the final product.

5. Timelines:

  • Clearly define schedules for project deliverables, accounting for potential shifts.

6. Documentation:

  • Specify the type and frequency of documentation expected throughout the project.

Steps to Define Scope Of Software MVP

To define the scope of a minimum viable product, follow these steps to understand software requirements and compile a list of key components:

Defining the scope of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a crucial step in the software development process. Here are the steps you can follow to define the scope of your software MVP:

  1. Define the Goal: Clearly articulate the primary goal of your MVP. Understand the problem you are trying to solve and the value you aim to deliver to users. This will serve as the guiding principle for all subsequent decisions.
  2. Identify Core Features: List the essential features that are necessary to achieve the primary goal of the MVP. Focus on the minimal set of functionalities that will make the product viable. These features should directly address the core problem or need.
  3. Prioritize Features: Prioritize the identified features based on their importance and impact. Consider factors such as user value, technical complexity, and dependencies between features. This helps in determining which features to include in the initial release.
  4. Set Boundaries: Clearly define what is out of scope for the MVP. This helps in avoiding scope creep and ensures that the development team remains focused on delivering the essential features. Setting boundaries also helps manage expectations.
  5. Create User Stories: Break down the prioritized features into user stories. User stories are short, simple descriptions of a feature told from the user’s perspective. This helps in understanding how users will interact with the product and what functionalities they expect.
  6. Create Wireframes or Mockups: Develop basic wireframes or mockups to visualize the user interface and user flow. This doesn’t need to be highly detailed but should provide a clear representation of how users will navigate through the MVP.
  7. Define Acceptance Criteria: For each user story, establish clear acceptance criteria. These criteria outline the conditions that must be met for a feature to be considered complete. This ensures that everyone has a shared understanding of what needs to be delivered.
  8. Estimate Development Effort: Work with your development team to estimate the effort required for each feature. This involves estimating the time, resources, and potential challenges associated with implementing each aspect of the MVP.
  9. Review and Refine: Conduct regular reviews with stakeholders, including both the development team and any relevant business or end-users. Use feedback to refine and adjust the scope as needed. Be open to changes that improve the overall value of the MVP.
  10. Document and Communicate: Document the finalized scope in a clear and concise manner. Ensure that all stakeholders have access to this document, and communicate any changes promptly. This helps in maintaining transparency and alignment among team members.

By following these steps, you can effectively define the scope of your software MVP, ensuring a focused and successful development process.

Key Steps:

  • Collect and compile project details, including deliverables, milestones, team members, rates, and budget requirements.
  • Create a user flow, prioritize features, and plan the project schedule based on feature prioritization.
  • Analyze timelines and establish communication expectations for smoother collaboration.


  • Include a list of exclusions in the scope to eliminate confusion and prevent scope creep.
  • The success of the project hinges on a well-defined MVP scope, offering clarity throughout the development life cycle.

Defining the scope of a project is a crucial step before initiating software MVP development. A specific and comprehensive scope minimizes disputes and ensures the project’s success by addressing potential misunderstandings between collaborating partners.

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