MVP means Minimal Viable Product. Developers create a product with minimum features just to get feedback for future development.
What Is a MVP
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) represents a concept from Lean Thinking that emphasizes the impact of learning in new product development. It is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
The key idea of MVP is that you produce the MVP version to customers and observe their actual behavior with the product.
Why You Might Want the MVP
- The main benefit is that MVP helps to understand real customer needs without fully developing the product. The sooner you find out that your product meets customer interests, the less effort and expense you spend on a product that will not succeed in the market. The principle is also known as “Fail fast”.
- Using iterations, you can discover a direction of development which will be optimal.
- MVP allows you to build a basis of potential customers and find the first product users.
Problems the MVP Solves
- Increased cost
- Bad product-market fit
- Demotivated team
- Meaningless work
- Unsuccessful product
- Unnecessary functions
- Unhappy clients
- Disconnect Between Business and IT
How to Implement the MVP
Necessary steps to build an MVP:
- Problem Clarify what problem you solve and for whom. Start by putting yourself in customer’s shoes: "Why do I need this product?" and "How it can help me?" Tip: A practice of Value Proposition Canvas or Design Sprint can help you.
- Competitor analysis Do not forget to research what your competitors offer and how can you make your idea unique. Tip: There are various tools available that can help you investigate your competitor's websites or apps. One of them is Similar Web which is free and allows you to get some insights about their monthly traffic, sources of traffic, geographical location of a user and other helpful information.
- User Journey A user journey is a series of steps representing a scenario in which a user might interact with the product you are designing. You should think less about particular features and concentrate more on basic activities, such as “find T-shirt” or “receive orders”. These are the types of goals your end-users will have when they use your product.
- Prioritized List of Features Create a list of all necessary features for each goal, prioritize them and categorize them based on priority, for example, “must-have”, “nice-to-have” and “don’t care”. Maybe it will help you if you ask yourself questions, such as “What do my customers want?” or “Do I offer them something beneficial?” Tip: If you want to see how your future product will look, you can even create a wireframe or Clickable Prototype of your MVP if possible.
- Build, Measure, Learn After the completion of product development, the product needs to be tested. Collect the feedback from the users, measure the quality and learn, then start improving your product. The process goes on until it is finalized.
Common Pitfalls of the MVP
MVP is too large
It means that features do not add up to the MVP’s purpose. This is mainly because product owner (or another decision maker) wants to have the perfect product and is afraid that product is not ready and will discourage the customer. It is good to consider whether it is not a waste one's time. There are several indicators how to get to know it:
- Set of features in the backlog is unconnected and does not represent a minimum user journey.
- Backlog items are too complex or deep (in functionality).
- Product owner, or any other member of the team, has not a clear vision of the product to be developed neither the MVP purpose.
- Focus on the minimum On the other hand, team can have a focus on the minimum part of MVP to the exclusion of the viable part. The product delivered is not sufficient quality to get accurate feedback. In addition, it can cause that users abandon the product for a long time.
- Minimum = smallest amount of functionality Team interprets minimum as the smallest amount of functionality they can deliver, without the additional criteria of being sufficient to learn about the business viability of the product.
- Feedback is not measured There are no defined metrics to measure the feedback. Therefore, the learning phase could not happen.
- Feedback is being ignored The team delivers what they consider as an MVP. They do not do any further changes to that product, regardless of feedback they receive about it.
Resources for the MVP
- AgileAlliance: Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
- Net Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
- RubyGarage: How to Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)