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What is Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

Written by

Emmanuel O.

Reviewed by

Andrew Strassmore

Fact checked by

Artem Goryushin

Updated: May 21, 2023

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Definition

The term “Minimum Viable Product,” often known as “MVP,” refers to a development strategy where a new product is released onto the market with only the most fundamental functionality, yet just enough to attract customers.

According to Eric Ries, an MVP is the version of a new product that enables a team to get the most verified customer learning with the least amount of work. Whether or not your clients buy your product is how you validate your learning.

Understanding MVP 

A fundamental tenet of the MVP concept is that you create a real product—which may be as simple as a landing page or a service that appears to be automated but is entirely manual—that you can provide to clients and watch how they use it. Asking individuals what they would do is significantly less reliable than observing what they do with a product.

If we examine the above definition, we will find three key elements:

An MVP Satisfies the Needs Of Early Customers 

Your product’s initial release must be sufficient to help your clients solve their problems; it must be valuable to them immediately. Your MVP must be usable and effective for users to interact with it and pay for it.

Early adopters should be so pleased with your product that they’ll spread the word about it and publicly express their gratitude and excitement.

An MVP is Better If It Has Enough Features

You must choose which features to develop first and when to release your product after creating a list of all the features you want to include.

The idea is to release a faster, more manageable version of the product by prioritizing the features and criteria for ranking the priorities, the value for users, and the feasibility of the product. 

The term “feasibility” in this context refers to choosing the best subset of features from your entire product backlog, the subset that is anticipated to provide the most outstanding value to your users and that is also viable for your team to develop, launch, and maintain.

Meanwhile, identifying the ‘red line’ or features to release on your MVP requires you to think as a user and entrepreneur. 

Having an MVP Makes the Future Feedback Process Easy 

Product managers must thoroughly understand user needs to incorporate those needs into product strategies. It would be best if you had the appropriate tools and procedures to assess user interaction with your product and gauge user engagement across platforms, channels, and markets.

These analytical demands can be provided by telemetry systems, the appropriate reporting and analysis tools, and specific product performance dashboards that present KPIs in the proper context for drawing comparisons and making quick decisions. 

As a technique to record use consistently, you may also consider customer satisfaction mechanisms like the NPS — Net Promoter Score.

Types of Minimum Viable Products 

MVPs can be broadly divided into two categories: Low-fidelity MVP and High Fidelity MVP.

Low-fidelity MVP

This is a fundamental stage in determining the market for your idea. You could do a paper sketch illustrating your intended ideas’ function.

High-fidelity MVP 

This more comprehensive method determines how much customers are prepared to spend on your goods. A good example is a single-feature MVP like an online cleaning service app where you can only order this service from the companies available.

Why Using MVP Might Be Beneficial For Your Business 

MVP Creates an Economic Production Process 

The MVP definition process will help you create your product with fewer resources because it focuses on identifying the essential features to retain and delight your early adopters. As a result, you can create a more compact version of your product that still accomplishes the primary goal of solving the users’ main problem.

By minimizing the importance of the less crucial aspects for upcoming iterations, it will also help you reduce your development and operating costs. You’ll save money if your MVP is well-defined and constructed.

Encourages ‘agile way’ Thought Process 

A strong product vision is crucial to attaining success. The “agile way” of developing products gives you the freedom to think big. You can build backlogs that describe “complete products,” even ones with pricey and “crazy” features. 

These features can be recorded in your product backlog and wait for the appropriate circumstances and timing before implementation. I advise you to prioritize carefully and document everything.

You Can Quickly Enter the Market and Get A Share Of It 

Because your MVP focuses on creating a more compact version of your product, you can launch it faster. Using the same agile development methodology, you will also be able to release features frequently and keep your flexibility to make changes in response to customer feedback and market signals.

You Can Easily Redirect Focus 

You can utilize data on product performance and insights to change your objectives and product roadmap as you become more in touch with your users. You might also see signals that point to a potential pivot, a significant change in your product strategy, or your approach to solving a customer problem.

Easily Connect With Your Customers 

A success factor is undoubtedly the capacity to get user feedback regularly and early enough. In various ways, directly and inadvertently, your MVP should deliver input streams because you need that input to be upscale and provide better services in the future. 

A correctly constructed MVP, for instance, ought to record each user interaction and add the information to a database of previous user interactions (be aware of GDPR and related regulatory constraints here). 

You could find fascinating trends about your users and how they use your product by correctly reporting and analyzing your data. These insights will likely contradict your original product assumptions or point up other routes and pivotal opportunities.

Embedded forms, internet surveys, focus groups, and user interviews can also be used to gather and use qualitative input. These offer extra cues, information, or viewpoints you would have needed to consider.

Examples of Minimum Value Product 

Uber 

The concept to match consumers seeking cheap transport with drivers willing to accept them came from Garret Camp and Travis Kalanick.

They played it smart and began with something straightforward (UberCab) rather than fully-fledged mobile app development to test this theory. It was only accessible in San Francisco and only functioned with iPhones or SMS.

However, it was sufficient to demonstrate that there was a market for the concept. Uber was able to test market risks and increase its worth based on the information it got from MVP.

Spotify 

Nobody wanted to pay for streaming music in 2006 because it was widely accessible for free on websites like The Pirate Bay and LimeWire. At that point, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon developed the revolutionary concept of launching a free music streaming service and employing advertisements to make money. But because so many previous music streaming firms were started and shut down, they first had to put their concept to the test.

The app currently has an $18.70 billion market, but it didn’t just happen. Ek and Lorentzon took smart steps. They developed a desktop app as an MVP with music streaming as its only essential function. A monthly fee for an ad-free experience was later added as a choice for customers. They began developing the concept further as soon as they realized it had potential. 

Airbnb 

Before Airbnb’s founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia gained international fame with their software, they experimented with renting out rooms in their apartments. They created a website, gathered customer input, and discovered the best model for Airbnb to accomplish this.

Buffer 

Buffer built several landing sites before releasing the app for scheduling social media postings. If visitors wished to learn more about the plans and costs of the product, the first landing page requested that they provide their email.

Users were given a choice between two excellent alternatives and a free version on the second landing page. Surprisingly, most users were willing to choose to pay plans, and Buffer knew there was a market for their services. It’s one of the most trustworthy programs available today for organizing and scheduling social media updates.

AngelList

AngelList is a well-known job and investment site nowadays. However, it only initially used the team’s contacts and email for all initial interactions. Although the execution was modest, it demonstrated that the concept was sound and aided in AngelList’s development into the more well-known platform it is today.

Conclusion 

You can save time, money, and effort by using a minimal viable product (MVP), enabling you to evaluate the market before developing a real product. Additionally, it enhances the possibility that your business will obtain funding and discover product-market fit. This article explains the meaning of a minimal viable product, its components, and its advantages for business.

It takes the risk to create a product. Making something new comes with the uncertainty of how others may react. What if they don’t like the thing you’ve got? We’re not talking about a few dollars here; we’re talking about your time, effort, and money. Losses can occasionally be so severe that recovery takes years.

MVP allows you to test the waters before going all in into the business; a lot of start-ups use MVP to get feedback for strategic planning.

Related articles:

What is ARPU? What is Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)? What is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)? What is The Average Order Value (AOV)?

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