In today’s world if you wish to succeed as a business then you have to ensure that your product is in demand and a customer requirement. So, is there any specific method behind building a successful product? Well answer to this question is MVP i.e. a Minimum Viable Product. It is a perfect method to test your product idea and develop something that is scalable.
So, if you are an entrepreneur or new in the world of startups, this blog will help you find specific reasons like – why you should develop a Minimum Viable Product?
MVP Minimum Viable Product Definition
An MVP or Minimum Viable Product is the maiden version of the Product. This version is the first one that only consists of basic features. In general, these basic features determine whether the product has prospects of succeeding. These features are enough to deliver core values and verify them to early customers. In short, the main idea behind a Minimum Viable product is to provide a perfect balance between the minimum and viable. This basically saves time and development costs. In addition, it also assists in acquiring valuable customer feedback.
Eric Ries, entrepreneur and author of the book “The Lean Startup”, gave a straightforward definition for MVP. As per Ries, an MVP is a version of a new product that permits a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
However, it’s important to understand that goal of an MVP strategy is not to build a product for a short-term period. To clarify, it merely helps you develop a simplified version of a product available for public access.
Once you receive the feedback on your MVP you can understand the customer experience and also improve the features of the product for better enhancement. Often a minimum viable product is also used for testing a product for a business model and monetization.
Let’s move on and see what types of minimum viable products are there.
Types of MVP
#1 Piecemeal MVP
In general, the idea of piecemeal is to provide value using existing tools instead of building a custom solution. This is a smart method to derive functionalities for a basic first version.
However, the product prototype appears like a complex product. So, once you get the end-user feedback use simple software for necessary modifications in functionalities.
Groupon is one of the best examples of piecemeal MVP. The founder of Groupon launched a WordPress website and manually posted pictures of meal deals daily.
In addition, these daily deals were featured as blog posts. After people began to buy the deals, Groupon started to use a filemaker to generate PDF versions of coupons using AppleScript. These coupons were mailed to people. This shows us that Groupon was only able to scale its business after finding the right market fit.
#2 Wizard of Oz MVP
Wizard of Oz also known as Flinstone MVP is somewhat similar to a piecemeal MVP. However, here the potential user is not aware that the product is really ready.
The demonstration of a full-fledged product is carried out in Wizard of Oz MVP. In fact, the end-user experience is pretty much real. Additionally, the work in this MVP strategy is done using a piecemeal approach or delivering a service the concierge way.
For instance, Amazon began to sell books. The idea behind this was to buy them directly from the distributor and ship it without actually having any book stocks in place. In the beginning, they were only focusing on books as it was easy to buy and ship. Later they capitalize on other product services like groceries as well.
#3 Concierge MVP
In general, concierge MVP is quite different from the wizard of OZ. In concierge MVP you have to manually deliver the services to possible customers. This means that the customer knows that the services will be delivered by an actual person.
In addition, the concierge-type seeks to generate ideas about the future product, offering services, customer interaction, and much more.
Wealthfront, a service for financial planning & investments was started using the idea of concierge MVP. In fact, the Wealthfront workers communicated directly with their clients to help them with wealth management.
# 4 Single-feature product
At times the minimal viable product can also be the actual product but with minimal features. In fact, with actual product/software you can easily verify and narrow down a target group, receive, and analyze the feedback. This will help in focusing on the testing phase.
Also Read: How to build an app for your business?
Now we are ready to explore the steps of MVP development.
Steps for how to build Minimum Viable Product
Often there is a misconception regarding the concept of Minimal viable product development. It is not a proof of concept. The MVP development is basically knowing about the product and selecting the best approach to make it successful. Here are the steps for the MVP development process:
Step 1: Finding the perfect balance
While companies make a product often they tend to miss out on key functionalities or end up complicating features. Here it is necessary to find a perfect balance between product design and product value. This means, that with a minimal design the product must offer maximum value.
Further, keep in mind that while keeping minimum functionality you cannot ignore products USP. So, the focus is on maintaining minimum functionality but also making sure that it rightly maintains the essence of the product.
Step 2: Value proposition
The value proposition of a product not only defines your brand but also highlights your goals and vision. These goals are generally based on factors like,
- What your target audience demands
- What value do you plan to deliver
- How exclusive is your product (USP)
Step 3: Don’t overdo it, make a viable product
MVP is basically used in gathering reviews and responses so it doesn’t need to be perfect. At times, organizations rather than developing viable products end up shifting their focus on making a perfect product. In such cases, basic features are left out sometimes, also the product will enter the market late.
Hence, overdoing MVP development can consume a lot of time and the extra efforts craving for perfection might fail.
The best examples where the product MVP laid the perfect roadmap for improvement and development are social media platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram.
In its early days, Facebook began as a social network platform for Harvard students only. This version had basic features like a profile page, texting, and sending friend requests. From the basic version to including features such as feed, news, reaction, stories, and live video streaming Facebook has shown how you can build a viable product and scale it in the future.
Step 4: Set your priorities
Prioritize the ultimate goal of your minimum viable product. As we have seen many times, the main purpose of an MVP is to gather customer feedback, so, setting up the priorities is important.
The main goal of your MVP should answer the questions like- will this spark some curiosity in customers’ minds? Will they pay for the product? Eventually, this helps you narrow down the features of your MVP.
After you set your priorities you can use any of these below-mentioned methods to build your Minimum Viable Product:
This is an agile software development method that is based on different core principles such as eliminating useless features, amplifying learning, deliver as quickly as possible. It uses iterative development.
With lean, developers easily set up a rapid feedback loop, and ensure that they develop the product in demand.
Scrum method also follows an iterative approach for software development like Lean does. Using scrum you can manage the development features of MVP in short cycles. Once you release the MVP after the first cycle, the development team can make changes to the product as per the user’s feedback.
Although this method is time-consuming, it is less stressful from the developer’s perspective.
The Kanban method focuses on the work-in-progress model. Unlike Lean and Scrum, this method doesn’t have a cyclic progression. Rather it emphasizes tasks as they appear.
The benefit of such an approach is that you can lay out the scope of work with team capacity. In addition, engineers constantly add tasks to a pipeline as they receive customer feedback.
Kanban is generally more effective if used after the first release of a minimum viable product. In fact, it becomes a more powerful approach if the customer feedback is ongoing.
✤ Extreme programming
Extreme programming i.e. XP is a bunch of engineering practices. These practices include code refactoring, small releases, simple design, and coding standards. Eventually, this set of practices makes sure that there is scope for optimizing the code and upgrading it as quickly as possible.
Further, the development cycle in XP, in general, does not exceed one week. You can release the first version and then make it scalable afterward. Extreme programming is suitable for use-cases where the product relies more on Code Quality.
Check out, The advantages and disadvantages of Top Software Development methodologies
Step 5: Gather Customer feedback
Your MVP will need real-world testing. This means you will have to test your prioritized features amongst customers and gather their feedback for recognizing the scope for improvement.
Step 6: Upgrade and Enhance
Once you gather the data on how the user is interacting with your minimum viable product, sort it out. Meaning, decide which elements require enhancement and which ones are to be removed.
Further, make sure that the product has an easy way to navigate UI and provides a pleasant User Experience.
Final Remarks on Minimum Viable product
On a final note, a perfect MVP will be the one that provides a precise balance between the minimum and viable. The balance is important as it gives you the opportunity to flourish your business and assist you in making decisions on the basis of facts instead of assumptions.
So, if you are looking for exploring the idea of building a minimum viable product and test your product in the real-world market then Webbybbutter is at your service.