What is a Minimum Viable Product?
What is a MVP?
There seems to be a lot of bending at the ear online surrounding the topic of an earliest testable product. Of course I am talking about a minimum viable product, or MVP. A MVP is the earliest testable version of your product that you can put in the hands of your users. Building and releasing an MVP allows you to gather feedback and validate the need for your product with the least amount of effort and resources.
In the best-case scenario an MVP has just enough features to gratify your customers by solving the problem you intended to so that you can ask them questions and gather feedback for future product development. This is the whole point of the term ‘viable’, it means that you can go out and sell your MVP because it is capable of working successfully even with the small amount of features
So how does this work?
Developers will usually make the product available to a subset of potential customers (a beta group), in order to select a more forgiving audience that understands the product’s vision and will give more constructive criticism.
Gathering this criticism is the best way to capture information about the product the product your customers want you to build and sell.This way, you’re not just offering a finished product and keeping your fingers crossed that it blows up. With a MVP you’re able to incrementally morph the product as you go based on the feedback and research you gather. This will almost guarantee your product will have a much higher success rate when the finale version hits the market. Or, you can find out that people are not willing to pay for a solution to this specific problem. As depressing as this may be, you can avoid months of unnecessary work and save a whole bunch of money to build an MVP for you’re next idea.
What are the benefits of using a MVP:
- In the first stages of a MVP it’s not about making the customer happy. You’re simply throwing out bait and seeing if it gets bites. Gathering information seems to be the central idea behind using a MVP, and it will give you an idea of the direction your product should go.
- Cost effective. You don’t have to spend tons of money and manpower developing something that might not take off anyway. All and all it’s just a smarter approach financially.
- Less is always more with a MVP. You don’t want to overbuild a product, and that’s exactly what most developers and project managers tend to do on their first product release. Keeping it simple will bring focus to the core value of the product, and will keep some efficiency to the process.
Below is an example of the MVP process:
Let’s say you have a problem and an idea to solve this problem. The problem is getting from point A to point B faster than walking. So in this picture you see that you have solved that problem by making a skateboard. You test it in the market and you get some feedback about being able to steer the skateboard with your hands which takes you to the second picture. Now you have come up with something that still solves your underlying problem, while adding features from the market feedback you received. This goes on until we get from a skateboard to a car. We know that the difference between a skateboard and a car almost infinite, however they both solve the same problem and you have created a product people want based on the markets feedback.
While building a big beautiful expensive product that has all the fancy features might sound like a good idea, we can almost guarantee that once that product hits the market you will still need to make changes. You have to remember that you’re not building your product for yourself, you are building for others. With an MVP you are able to take on changes that need to be made without taking it personally, and at the same time it will allow you to observe how people will react to the product. As long as the core idea stays the same, testing a raw product will give you the ability to improve it.
Deciding exactly what your selling point is will allow you to clearly present your product to your customer and you will be able to see how they respond to your product. Putting out an MVP gives you the time and ability make changes in early development from the gathered data. Why build and release a finished product and hoping it doesn’t flop, when you can truly test the market by giving a simple solution to a problem and then build from there.
If you are looking to build a MVP but having trouble getting started, click here to fill out this form for a 15 minute consultation with an expert.