Minimum Viable Product is a product development strategy that emphasizes the importance of learning from customers. It is a core principle of the Lean Startup methodology.
This article will explore what an MVP is, how to create one, and give examples of companies that have used this approach. We will also look at the benefits of using an MVP and some common mistakes to avoid.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
A Minimum Viable Product is a prototype of a product that is deployed to customers for evaluation. This allows the developer to gain valuable feedback about a product idea before investing a lot of time and money into creating a full feature-complete product.
This type of testing can be done in a variety of ways. Some examples include landing pages, online polling, or even simply asking potential customers for their email address in exchange for a free trial of the product. Buffer, an app that lets users schedule posts on social media, is a good example of a successful, practical MVP.
The MVP approach is often used by startups that are trying to find a product-market fit, as it can reduce the amount of resources needed to develop a new product and ensure that any product development efforts are focused on customer needs. It also helps to minimize the risk of failure, as enormous amounts of capital can be saved by avoiding the building of products that do not meet market demand.
How do I create a Minimum Viable Product?
Creating a Minimum Viable Product requires market research and careful planning. It involves prioritizing your product requirements, and only building in core functionality that addresses the market problems; the rest is “nice to have.”
Using the MVP approach can help you save time and money. It also allows you to test your idea with selected customers and get useful feedback before investing a lot of time and resources into a feature-complete product.
However, before you create an MVP, you must define what your value proposition is. Describe the problem your product solves for your customers and how you are unique in solving it. It should be based on real market research and agreed upon by all major stakeholders in your company. It will serve as the foundation for your business plan and marketing materials. It will also determine if your product is viable in the market. This is important because launching a product without a market need accounts for 35% of startup failures.
What are the benefits of creating a Minimum Viable Product?
Creating an MVP can help reduce the risk of spending valuable resources building a product that won’t meet customer needs. It can also allow a business to learn quickly how customers and the industry responds to a new product. This information can then be used to iterate and improve the product before it is ready to be brought to market as a feature-complete solution.
When compared to traditional development methodologies, the “build-measure-learn” process of an MVP can lead to faster time-to-market, reduced costs, and improved user experiences. This is because it allows you to quickly test assumptions and make changes to the product based on real feedback from users.
Another benefit of creating an MVP is that it can be a great way to validate a business hypothesis. For example, Dropbox founder Drew Houston created an MVP to see if people would be interested in his file-sharing service before developing the full product. The results of his MVP testing showed that his idea was a success and led to the creation of a hugely successful company.
What are the disadvantages of creating a Minimum Viable Product?
In addition to a long development cycle and high costs, creating an MVP can lead to the wrong features being developed. It’s important to focus on the core functionality needed to solve a problem and forget about the “nice to have” features.
Another disadvantage of an MVP is that it may not be fully scalable. It’s important to ensure that the technology stack is strong enough to accommodate future features without requiring a complete redesign.
Despite the disadvantages, creating a Minimum Viable Product can be a great way to test out a new idea and reduce risk before investing time and money into a full-fledged product. In fact, many well-known brands, such as Facebook, Airbnb, Dropbox, and Spotify, began their journey with an MVP. If you’re interested in learning more about Minimum Viable Products, we recommend reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. He explains the concept of MVP in detail and discusses its benefits and drawbacks.