The perfect Minimum Viable Product is a lifesaver when you have an idea, but you don’t know if it will find a place on the market and among users. That’s why it is important to create the perfect minimum viable product or MVP first.
Building an MVP requires a lot less development time and costs compared to a full product, and allows you to collect crucial feedback from your users. As a result, it also reduces the risks and failures startups can face by bringing new products to the market.
So, it is crucial to learn what a minimum viable product is, and how to build the best one to showcase your product’s core values. Let’s dig in!
What is a minimum viable product or MVP?
Creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) prior to full-scale product comes from practices of agile development. The MVP undertakes step-by-step evolution of a product based on user feedback.
Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, and Eric Ries, who first introduced the MVP techniques in his “The Lean Startup”, support the minimum viable product’s philosophy of ‘ ship early, repair later’.
So when you think about building a minimum viable product, you should think of something very simple. It’s the very first thing you can give to the very first set of users from your target audience to see if it can bring any value to them.
source: net solutions
We can call a product minimally viable if it has features to be validated within the market and brings a core value to early adopters. This is what most product managers think of MVP.
On the other hand, the consultancy viewpoint says that MVP can be treated as a pioneer product version with fundamental functionality and features.
The explanation is simple, yet creating a good MVP is a bit harder.
Why create the MVP?
Creating a Minimum Viable Product can help startups confirm their opportunity hypothesis and move to develop a full-fledged product. It also helps to see if the idea finds its place on the market, and it is a great way of finding out if there is a need for the product among target users.
Here are the benefits you get from creating MVP:
1. Resources Optimization
You might see your idea as brilliant as can be, but the market may reject it for many reasons, such as deficient value proposition or harsh competition. As a result, all the effort, funds, and time were spent on unwanted products.
Creating the MVP can avoid this scenario by trying out the opportunity with the actual user. When the market accepts the new product the chances of success with a full-functional one are quite high. And if not, you avoid the risk of wasting time and money and can shift the focus or fix a startup’s value proposition.
2. Early Customer Acquisition
As the MVP is a lean version of a product you wish to release to the market, it does lack some top-level features and recent functionality. Though, it provides value and obtains new adapters.
Don’t be pushed back by releasing immature products, the goal here is to gather feedback from users to validate the value proposition after all.
3. Value Proposition Focus
If you’re still asking why MVP is important, it’s because it’s focusing on the value you’re about to deliver with your product. And MVP will let you understand the different problems your future customers need to solve.
How minimum should the MVP be?
It might be confusing when we say that MVP should be a minimum and valuable product. What exactly do we mean by minimum? To create a good MVP that will benefit your business idea, it must:
- be created for one specific audience
- aim at one specific problem
- be simple enough to build and launch quickly
- have well designed UX
source: net solutions
MVPs that don’t deliver these features are not minimum nor viable or valuable. Basically what you need is a product that will be accepted by your target. MVP is a product that is not fully built yet but provides just enough features to ease the user’s life, like Facebook‘s MVP.
Present a perfect product with minimum errors to your users, and to do so, you start with the least. Just a few features are enough, and if users find some sort of addiction in your MVP, you hit the right spot.
How to create the perfect MVP?
Step 1: Comprehensive Research
Before you even start, you should get insight into your problem and solution. In the first step focus on answering questions like “what is your market?”, “who faces the problem?”, “How can I help those people to solve the problem?”.
You should be able to address which exact problem is your MVP meant to resolve.
source: CB Insights
The research will also let you understand who will buy your product. You may uncover a category of users, who have specific needs or requirements, that can help you to improve your product and make it user-friendly for that specific audience.
Step 2. Identify and Prioritize Features
You want to come up with your product vision and specify the features you want to have there. Though, nothing special is necessary, after you list the features you need to prioritize them. A MoSCoW approach is usually used when it comes to this step.
source: Agile business
Take all of the tasks and features you have and divide them into must-haves, should-haves, could-haves, and won’t haves. The MVP should have one top-priority feature that brings the product’s core value.
Step 3. MVP Approach Selection
This step is all about deciding with which type of MVP you’ll move forward. There are options like creating a no-product, product-mockup, or one-feature product.
Base your decision on the resources you have available and on the idea to be validated.
Step 4. Success Criteria Identification
Before you even start building your MVP, you need to answer yourself a question about the success of your minimum viable product. How will you know your MVP is a failure or success?
You can specify the answer to this question with the list of metrics and success criteria in advance, so you know what you’re going to be tracking.
source: net solutions
Step 5. Prepare a Story Map
This is an essential step to list all the features and come up with the product backlog. Story mapping comes in four fundamental components that are Goals, Activities, User Stories, and Tasks.
Goals underlie the crucial vision of the product. You achieve them by completing the activities. The activities require the application of features and tasks that can be turned into user jobs or stories. Story mapping will also identify the pains and gains associated with your product.
Step 6. MVP Launch
And finally, it is the time for launching your minimum viable product and getting users’ feedback. Do not forget to track the key metrics you set earlier on, and start evaluating the results of your MVP. And remember that even negative results are results.
Even though one might think MVPs are just for startups, these methodologies are for everyone because they’re straightforward and simple. Creating an MVP is about the analysis and strategy and not so much about the complex development.
In most cases, MVPs should be fast to build, have very limited functionality, and appeal to a small set of users. And keep in mind that, if you are satisfied with your MVP and not embarrassed by putting it out there, it’s probably not MVP.
Remember that it’s all about testing the idea of the product with real users and getting feedback. Also, an MVP is not just cost-efficient but an amazing tool to attract investors as well. And even if it turns out to be unsuccessful, it’s a good sign to switch focus on resolving other customer problems.