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Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Sources: Andy Areitio, Maitrik Kataria


Jumpstart: | What is a Minimum Viable Product | Why Should You Build an MVP | How to Build an MVP | Common MVP Traps | Features to include in a MVP |



What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?


What is a Minimum Viable Product?

Post the ideation stage, comes designing a test version of a product/service with the basic/minimum features needed to satisfy a user/client's demand, and brings value to them.


This prototype is called as Minimum Viable Product (MVP).




Why Should You Build an MVP?


Launching a full-blown product, without validating the idea first is one of the most common reasons of "why startups fail!"


Besides, an MVP is kind of a lean approach that helps founders to test their business ideas with minimal costs.



How to Build an MVP?




It’s highly unlikely that the initial idea comes close to the final MVP; that’s why the Lean Startup methodology has been so successful.

The key is to learn what the user/client wants without obsessing over a “perfectly developed” product.

If an MVP doesn’t allow you to test the idea, you could also build a temporary site/landing page that validates your hypothesis. That is one of the best ways to reduce risk during the Idea stage!


To quickly prototype an MVP, check out below posts:



How to Avoid Common MVP Traps?


Everyone has product ideas, but when you ask them deeper questions about customer problems, needs, and user research backing their assumptions, they can’t answer them or haven’t done any customer/market research to validate their ideas. This lack of validation leads to the most common MVP trap, founders quickly prototype that are half-baked and without thinking about customers’ needs and wants.

When you go out and talk to customers, it will make you face reality and let you test the most basic assumptions with 0 investment - Steve Jobs.

If there is interest in the product, then you can learn more about what features to build and what not to build.


Concierge Minimum Viable Product is where you manually provide the functionality of the product to the user to test out the product ideas. You guide your user through the solution to a problem. The Concierge MVP approach is much simpler, less wasteful, and more effective for learning what customers want.



What basic features to include in a MVP?


When the idea is validated, you must build something to take validation further!


Let’s say you have done customer research and/or the problem you are solving comes from your personal industry experience. The next step is to build the first version/prototype/proof of concept to test your hypothesis. An MVP can be the easiest way to test your hypothesis, but that doesn’t mean that building one is easy.


You cannot achieve what Dropbox did if you just build a minimal version and hope customers will bear through it for months. You will have to build a minimum awesome product that doesn’t compromise on experience and value.


One best practice is to always ask:

  • Are these features critical to your value proposition?

  • Would investment in these features lead to a revolutionary offering or a valuable and differentiating capability?


Both Minecraft and Foursquare had fewer features when they launched but the initial experience and value they provided were great and well thought out.


When you are developing a product and there is tons of competition. This is the most expensive approach to an MVP. Companies innovating in existing businesses or B2B businesses find themselves in a feature war, so they must build more than the minimum.

Simply put: In order to be viable, the MVP must be enough to compete against existing players plus some sort of differentiation.

Remember in case of MVP, you need to build a prototype targeting the core problems customers are facing and make sure the solution is 10 times better than any other solution in that domain. We have seen many prominent players who have made attempts to disrupt the market and measure the demand with a “minimum loveable product.”


To Summarize:


So, an MVP is not a cheaper product, nor it is necessarily a minimal version of a product with a single feature set. MVP is a series of experiments and research activities with the sole goal of helping you build a prototype that solves a key problem in an effective way using minimum effort.


When Apple first released the iPhone it was lacking in many features that competitor’s phones (mainly Nokia phones) offered. But its experience and new interface were simply dazzling.

 

Resources:


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