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The minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient functions to satisfy the first users. The final and complete set of features is designed, and developed only after taking into account the feedback from the initial users of the product.
The development of MVP, the main premise of lean, is in line with the process of building, measuring and learning; the aim is to provide immediate benefits while minimizing development costs and using data to add value to the user over time. The Lean Startup MVP method helps you release a product that can be continually improved by verifying assumptions, learning what users really want, and building future iterations of applications that better serve your customers.
What is the purpose of MVP?
Eric Ries, who presented the concept of a minimum cost-effective product as part of its Lean Startup methodology, describes the MVP objective:
This is a version of a new product that team uses to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
The company may choose to develop and issue a minimum cost-effective product because its product team wants to:
- Release the product as soon as possible
- Test the idea with real users before using a large budget for full product development
- Find out what is compatible with the target market of the company
In addition to enabling your company to verify the idea of a product without having to create the entire product, MVP can also help minimize the time and resources that you may otherwise spend on creating a product that is not successful.
Three key features of MVP
- This is a sufficient value to make people willing to use it or buy it at the beginning.
- Shows sufficient future benefits to keep the first users.
- Provides a feedback loop to help future growth.
The MVP development team will not spend time on anything other than the absolute minimum and will build any other function over time, assessing customer wishes and preferences when they start to use the product.
The product can even change radically or even be abandoned, as user feedback can differ greatly from the original design. However, development teams will not waste any resources (effort, time, money, advertising) on a product that nobody really wants, doesn’t need or likes.
Plan for a minimum cost-effective product
The minimum cost-effective product planning process has three simple but valuable steps.
Each of these steps should be part of the product definition for each project, but following these steps will help you identify and prioritize features in a way that will help you determine what you need to place the minimum cost-effective product on the market.
1. Identify and understand business needs
- Set a long-term goal for the product and save it
- Answer the question “Why are we doing this project?”
- Identify the success criteria that will indicate if the product has been successful
2. Find opportunities
- Assign a user path
- Create a map of benefits and disadvantages for each activity
- Summarize the defects and benefits in the opportunity descriptions
3. Decide which features you want to build
- Use the opportunity summaries to finalize your features
- Provide a summary of the features to include in the product map
- Use the priority matrix to prioritize characteristics
MVP must actually contact customers to find out more. The minimum cost-effective product that customers haven’t seen is not MVP, that is a prototype.
There must therefore be some form of measurement of the response of the customers in order to make any learning. These may be notes, statistics for visitors to the site, or any other method related to the product.
The main advantage of MVP is that you can get to know the customer interest of your product without fully expanding it. The sooner you find out if your product will appeal to your customers, the less effort and cost you spend on a product that will not succeed in the market.
The short time frame in which it is possible to move from having a vision of a product to actually allowing it to be released to public consumption is also the main factor that makes the companies choose MVP. The key is to meet immediate needs related to the problem that your application or product is about to solve.
MVP can help you verify an established solution to the problem. This is important because, when starting with the product, even if the initial market survey was conducted correctly, future customers still rely on certain assumptions. MVP is the easiest way to prove that your idea is worth it.
Because MVP can be developed quickly and with minimal investment, you are more flexible and ready to respond to the feedback you receive. This will allow you to see what your users are looking for, what they are not competing with and what they need.
Besides to improving the product based on customer feedback, MVP will also let you know what is compatible with the target market of the company and what is not.
The correct use of MVP means that the team can radically change the product that provides its customers or abandon the product together based on the feedback they receive from their customers. MVP encourages teams to do as little work as possible to obtain useful feedback, which helps them avoid working on a product that no one wants.
However, targets and their scope need to be well defined, because too small range will not represent the product correctly, while too large it will destroy the MVP target.
It is also worth taking care of a good technical team that will ensure about the right programming tools. They will make sure that the tools selected can scale the product.
Often the lack of understanding is demonstrated by the belief that MVP is the smallest functionality they can provide, without additional criteria sufficient to understand the business life of the product.
The teams can also confuse MVP which focuses on learning with a minimum market feature (MMF) or a minimum market product (MMP) that focuses on earning. There is no excessive damage to this unless the team is focused too much on delivering something without considering whether it is the right thing to meet the customer’s needs.
The teams place emphasis on the minimum MVP part, excluding the feasible part. The product provided is not a sufficient quality to ensure accurate assessment or whether customers will use it.
Teams provide what they consider to be MVP and then do not make any further changes to this product, regardless of the feedback they receive on it.
When MVP is launched, it is necessary to gather feedback from users. Users inform us where the product is missing and provide market validation. This will help you generate new ideas based on user behavior studies that will shape future versions of your product. It is important to continue testing, learn and measure, and then test again until the product is finalized.