MVP development team: detailed guide (roles, how to hire, structure)

15 min read
March 29, 2024

Building a minimum viable product (MVP) is one of the best ways to validate your idea and prove it can succeed in the market.

But, you need to do it right.

And to do that, you need to hire the right MVP development team.

Here, we’ll discuss the key roles you should hire, the team structure, and how to hire an MVP development team.

Let’s dive in!

What is an MVP?

Before we start, let’s go over the basics.

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a bare-bones version of your app that includes only its core features.

It’s the ultimate idea validation tool that will show you if there’s genuine market demand for your app.

But, building an MVP isn’t just about putting together a working app and calling it a day.

It’s about creating a usable and appealing app that will resonate with your users and meet their needs.

MVP development approach

And you can build various types of MVPs, such as:

  • Single-feature MVP – As the name suggests, a single-feature MVP has only the main feature of your product and it’s one of the most common MVP types
  • Pre-order MVP – a pre-order MVP is when you take pre-orders and crowdfund before actually building your product
  • Concierge MVP – a concierge MVP looks and acts just like a regular app, but the back-end is run manually by humans
  • Fake door MVP – fake door MVPs are usually landing pages built to gauge market interest before building an MVP or prototype

In short, building an MVP is the best way to make sure your idea can be successful in your target market.

And that’s why it’s so popular.

MVP development team: key roles and team structure

Now, we’ll discuss the key roles and structure of a typical MVP development team.

The key roles involved are:

The product manager is responsible for defining the vision and strategy for your MVP. 

They prioritize and define features, set KPIs for MVP success and make sure your MVP is aligned with your business goals and market needs.

The solution architect designs the overall architecture and chooses the tech stack used to build your MVP, setting the foundation for the development team.

Also, they make sure your idea is technically feasible and they predict and mitigate technical risks.

The UX/UI designer creates your MVP’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, involving everything from wireframing and prototyping to user research and user testing.

Their job is to make sure your MVP is intuitive, accessible, and engaging.

  • Software engineer

Software engineers are responsible for making your MVP a reality – they write, test, and debug code to ensure your product works as intended.

This includes developing your product’s front-end (what users see and interact with) and back-end (where it processes data) to meet your requirements.

  • Quality assurance (QA) engineer

The QA engineer makes sure your MVP meets quality standards and is bug-free before launch.

They write testing strategies, triage bugs, and ensure your MVP is reliable and performs well.

  • Project manager

The project manager oversees the development process so it stays on track, within budget, and meets deadlines.

They coordinate between team members, manage resources, and make sure everyone is on the same page at all times.

Now, the overall size and structure of your team will depend on your specific needs.


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For example, if you already have a UX/UI design ready, you won’t need a UX/UI designer in the team you hire.

Your best bet is to discuss this with potential vendors who will be able to structure your team based on your exact needs.

MVP development team example

Now, let’s give you an example of a real MVP development team DECODE assembled for a client.

A U.S.-based startup approached us and needed an MVP for their iOS app.

Here’s the team structure we went with:

  • 1 product manager
  • 1 UX/UI designer
  • 1 solution architect
  • 2 iOS engineers
  • 1 QA engineer

And here’s how we approached their MVP development:

DECODE MVP development approach

The client asked for a full-service package and that’s exactly what we did.

We started with product discovery – we validated their idea and made sure their MVP achieved product-market fit.

Next, we designed their app’s UI and UX, making sure it met their users’ needs before starting development and actually building their MVP.

Then, once we finished building the MVP we helped them launch their app and provided post-launch maintenance and support.

In a nutshell, we helped them go from a promising idea to a fully functional product in just under 6 months.

And we can help you do that, too – feel free to reach out and we’ll help you make your idea a reality.

How to hire an MVP development team

Next, we’ll discuss the steps you should take when hiring an MVP development team.

Define your goals and requirements first

Before you can hire an MVP development team, you need to define your goals and requirements.

And this means you need to define:

  • Your long-term goals
  • The features you’d like your MVP to have
  • Your product vision

Keep in mind that these are just assumptions at this stage – you should be prepared for them to change as you start developing your MVP.

But, clearly defining these will help you easily onboard the team you hire and make their job a lot easier.

And the key to doing that is setting clear goals with the SMART goals framework:

SMART goals

For example, saying “we want to create an engaging app and retain as many users as possible” isn’t a good goal.

But, “we want to achieve a 30-day retention rate of 40%” is a specific and measurable goal that fulfills the SMART criteria.

Once you’ve defined your goals, you need to think about your requirements and the features you want your MVP to have.

Of course, you don’t have to write a full software requirements specification (SRS) document.

But, you need to think about how you want your MVP to work and the core features you want it to have.

And you need to be ruthless with feature prioritization – there’s a reason it’s called a minimum viable product. You should use prioritization methods like:

  • MoSCoW (Must have/should have/could have/won’t have)
  • RICE (Reach/Impact/Confidence/Effort)
  • Value vs. effort
  • Kano

Here’s how the value vs. effort method works:

Value vs. effort

Of course, if you hire a full-service software product development company, they can help you do all of this.

But, it’s still a good idea to do this before you look for a team because it will help you find a company and team that are the right fit.

And that’s exactly what you should be looking for.

Why it’s important

  • Helps identify the team you need – with well-defined goals and requirements, you’ll have an easier time identifying the type of team you need to build your MVP
  • Long-term planning and strategy – clear goals and requirements will help you create a long-term business plan and strategy, both of which are essential for long-term success
  • Minimizes risks – being clear about what your MVP needs means you’ll minimize the risk of hiring a team that’s not the right fit

Research the market

Once you’ve set your goals and defined your requirements, your next step is researching the vendor market for the right fit.

First, you need to consider the location of the MVP development team.

Here, you’ll have 3 choices:

  • Onshore outsourcing
  • Offshore outsourcing
  • Nearshore outsourcing

And here’s a breakdown of the differences between them:

Onshore vs offshore vs nearshore outsourcing

Nearshore outsourcing offers the best balance between cost-savings, quality and potential risks.

But, that’s just a general rule – you still need to review each company in detail before you make a decision.

And that means reviewing their portfolio and case studies.

These will show you if their teams have the skills you’re looking for and whether they’re the right fit for your MVP’s development.

So, a company that’s built similar products will be a much better fit than a company with no experience in your industry.

But, don’t stop at their portfolio and case studies – you should also read their reviews.

DECODE Clutch reviews

Their client’s reviews will show you what it’s actually like to work with them and if they’re a reliable partner.

You should use third-party review sites like:

The reviews featured there are verified and are much more objective and realistic than testimonials and reviews featured on a company’s site.

Finally, you should also review their pricing model.

The 2 most common are fixed price and time and materials:

Fixed price vs time and materials

The time and materials model is the fairest compensation model, because it reflects the actual man hours and resources used to build your MVP.

That’s why it’s the best option for everyone involved.

So, once you’ve completed these steps, you can pick the company that’s the best fit. 

And that’s when the real work begins – actually putting together the team that will build your MVP.

Why it’s important

  • Identifies qualified companies – researching the market means you’ll identify companies that have the expertise needed to build your MVP
  • Ensures cultural fit – by researching the market, you’ll make sure that the company whose team you hire is the right fit and compatible with your culture
  • Minimizes the risk of choosing the wrong vendor – thoroughly researching vendors first will minimize the chance of choosing the wrong vendor and hiring the wrong team

Pick the type of team you need

Once you’ve picked the right company, the first step is picking the type of team you need.

And here, you have 2 options – hiring an extended team or a dedicated team.

So, what’s the difference between the two?

An extended team is when you hire experts or freelancers to augment your existing team.

Extended team

It’s a good option if you already have an in-house team and you need to plug skill gaps e.g. hiring a subject matter expert.

But, if you’re building a new product from scratch or you’re a startup, hiring a dedicated team is the better option.

Like the name suggests, a dedicated team is fully focused only on building your MVP.

Dedicated team

And it works just like an in-house team, except it’s formed by a third-party agency or service provider.

A dedicated team can handle your MVP’s development from start to finish, from gathering requirements to post-launch maintenance and support.

And that’s why it’s a good choice.

Why it’s important

  • Team focus and commitment – if you hire a dedicated team, the team will focus solely on building your MVP and that will improve the quality of their work
  • Improved team cohesion – a dedicated team works together only on your MVP, which means they’ll work better together
  • Project management – with a dedicated team, project management is more straightforward since they only work on your MVP

Define how the team will work

Once you’ve picked the type of team you’re going to hire, you need to define the MVP development process and how the team will work.

And the best option here is adopting Agile methodologies.

They will allow you to be flexible and respond quickly to changing requirements, which is ideal when you’re building an MVP.

Here’s what DECODE co-founder and CEO, Marko Strizic, had to say about Agile and why it’s so important:

So, what does an Agile team look like? And which methodologies should you use?

Agile teams are cross-functional by design and the dedicated team you’ve hired should have:

  • Software engineers
  • Product managers
  • Designers
  • QA engineers

As for the methodologies you can use, some of the top ones are:

  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Crystal
  • Extreme Programming (XP)

But, Scrum is the most popular, with 81% of Agile teams using Scrum or a Scrum hybrid.

And for a good reason, too.

Scrum divides the development cycle into smaller (2-4 week) iterations called sprints and each sprint is like a mini development cycle.


This encourages quick and efficient work and helps the team iterate faster, which means your product will get to market faster.

And that’s exactly what you want when developing an MVP.

Why it’s important

  • Transparency – with a well-defined development process in place, the team you hire will know what to expect, which helps build transparency and trust
  • Flexibility and adaptability – if the team knows how they’ll work from the start, they’ll have a much easier time adapting to changes during development
  • Sets expectations – if you clearly define how the team will work, they’ll know exactly what to expect once they start developing your MVP

Set up your tools and infrastructure

Once you’ve defined how your MVP development team will work, you then need to set up your tools and infrastructure.

This is the final step before the team can start building your MVP.

Of course, they’ll know which development tools to use and you don’t need to deal with that, unless you have specific requirements.

But, the tools you need to set up are:

  • Communication tools – tools like Slack, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams
  • Version control tools – tools like Github, Bitbucket, and Gitlab
  • Project management tools – tools like Jira, Asana, and Clickup

These tools will help you manage the development process and communication with the team you’ve hired.

Also, it’s a good idea to partner with a company that uses the same tools you use to make onboarding your team seamless.

But, the best vendor will assemble a team that can easily adjust to the tools you use.

And that’s what you want from the team you hire.

Why it’s important

  • Compatibility –  if you have them set up from the start, you’ll be able to tell if a particular company is compatible with your tools and infrastructure 
  • Improved collaboration – having the right tools will improve collaboration with the team you hire, which is essential for successful MVP development
  • Reduces time to market – if you have the right tools and infrastructure in place, the team will be able to work faster and get your MVP to market faster

Discuss post-launch support

Building an MVP isn’t just about launching your product and calling it a day – you also need to think about your next steps after launch.

That’s why discussing post-launch support when hiring an MVP development team is so important.

Post-launch support usually includes:

  • Bug fixes
  • Technical troubleshooting
  • New updates and iterations

But, why is it so important?

Think about this statistic for a second – in the U.S. alone, poor software quality costs companies $2.42 trillion every year.

If you don’t want to contribute to that tally, you need to have rigorous QA and testing standards in place.

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And if you hire the right team, they’ll be able to launch a bug-free product – and keep it that way.

But, avoiding costly bug fixes is just one benefit of having post-launch support from the team you’ve hired.

They’ll also be able to iterate on your MVP and help it grow beyond the MVP stage, as a long-term development partner.

And having a long-term partnership is the best way to ensure your product’s continued success.

Why it’s important

  • Long-term partnership prospects – if a company’s team can provide post-launch support, they can be a viable long-term partner beyond the MVP stage
  • Iterative development – building and launching the MVP is just the start and if a company offers post-launch support, that also includes further iterations and improvements
  • Minimizes risks – having a plan for post-launch support will minimize the risks of bugs and security vulnerabilities derailing your product’s success

MVP development team: FAQs

What is an MVP?

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a bare-bones version of your app that includes only its core features. It’s one of the best ways to validate your idea and see if there’s genuine demand for your product on the market.

What are the key roles in an MVP development team?

They are:

  • Product manager
  • Solution architect
  • UX/UI designer
  • Software engineer
  • QA engineer
  • Project manager

How do I hire an MVP development team?

The steps you need to take to hire an MVP development team are:

  • Define your goals and requirements first
  • Research the market
  • Pick the team you need
  • Define how the team will work
  • Set up your tools and infrastructure
  • Discuss post-launch support 

Need an MVP development team?

Do you have a great idea for an MVP but don’t have a team yet?

We’ve got you covered.

We can build a dedicated team just for you and handle everything from validating your idea to post-launch maintenance and support for your MVP.

If you want to learn more, check out our MVP development process and feel free to get in touch with us.

Written by

Mario Zderic

Co-founder and CTO

Mario makes every project run smoothly. A firm believer that people are DECODE’s most vital resource, he naturally grew into the role of People Operations Manager. Now, his encyclopaedic knowledge of every DECODEr’s role, and his expertise in all things tech, powers him to manage his huge range of responsibilities as COO. Part developer, and seemingly part therapist, Mario is always calm under pressure, which helps to maintain the office’s stress-free vibe. In fact, sitting and thinking is his main hobby. What’s more Zen than that?

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