Is innovation the key for a Minimum-Most-Viable become valuable?.
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a prototype that focuses on a product or service's most important part. It is typically offered to a group of potential customers. The most important aspect is to prove its viability and to test the core of your business value proposition. Imagine if you have the resources to validate, learn, and replicate the idea.
The MVP concept comes from the Lean Startup methodology, which provides a scientific approach to getting the desired product to customers’ hands faster and to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration so be careful to treat your MVP as a pilot project, which instead is designed to test the final product with a selected customer group.
An MVP aims to avoid the risk of building products or services that nobody wants. Eric Ries defines the MPV as the version of a new product that allows you and your team to “collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. “ For example, Dropbox used the concept of an MVP and created a 3-minute explanatory video to demonstrate the product. Their sign-ups went up from 5,000 people to 75,000 overnight — without having a real product.
It’s easy to talk about idea validation in the abstract and difficult to put into practice. But it is not impossible. Teams of startups often have too many ideas that they want to test because of everything about business matters at every stage. However, the problem can quickly become attempting to build a startup around an idea for a product and a customer that averages itself out, and that pleases everyone and anyone.
“When you seek to engage with everyone, you rarely delight anyone. And if you’re not the irreplaceable, essential, one-of-a-kind change-maker, you never get a chance to engage with the market”
The other common problem is managers treating MVPs as the M in MoSCoW rules. For those who haven’t heard of them before, these rules are an old prioritization technique used for project requirements:
- Must-have (the essentials)
- Should-have (really important)
- Could-have (might be sacrificed)
- Would like to have/won’t-have (probably aren’t going to happen)
MoSCoW rules' problem is that at least 60% of any requirements list gets classified as “musts.” Several stakeholders demand their request is a “must” and fight to avoid “could” or “would” status. A vicious circle is created as stakeholders realize that nothing except “musts” will get done. If it gets to the point where more than 60% of requirements get classified as “musts,” there may even be some “musts” that don’t get done. You need to put stricter limitations on the requirements.
Therefore, building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product or Possibility) is a technique, and building an MVA (Minimum Viable Audience) is a strategy.
Focus on the MVP
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering the product’s initial users' feedback. In other words, the result of an MVP is the first ‘buy-able’ product that has the minimum set of features to prove an essential hypothesis in your business. By the time the product is ready to be distributed widely, it will already have established a customer base, creating a demand for it and brand awareness. Most importantly, it will have solved real problems and offer detailed specifications for what needs to be built.
An MVP has three key characteristics:
- It has enough value that people are willing to use it or buy it initially.
- It demonstrates enough future benefits to retain early adopters.
- It provides a feedback loop to guide future development.
Keep in mind that technical users' technically orientated products may be most appropriate for this type of development technique.
It ultimately comes down to asking, “Should this product be built?” and “Can a sustainable business be built around this set of products and services?”
Many startups have an idea and nothing built, and the first goal is to prove that people want what they are planning to build. Therefore, a Minimum Viable Product would be what you could build at a minimum to prove that. I also call it a ‘Most Valuable Product’ because it solves a problem, brings value to your customers, and ultimately differentiates you from the competition.
MVP — Behind the scenes (simplified model)
a. Get Technical: outline your web or mobile app's features from the end-user perspective with user stories to define the technical requirements.
b. Plan it: Engage a Startup consultant, preferably a Lean Startup consultant or someone in your team familiar with the methodology who will help you identify the assumptions and must-have features your MVP will require to begin the Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop.
c. Build it: Make sure you have an agile team of UX/UI designers and full-stack developers who can work in two-week sprints to launch your product (usual turn around for web or mobile app is two weeks)
Mark Randall, Chief Strategist, VP Creativity at Adobe said,
“Only write code when you can’t think of any other way to validate your hypothesis.”
A Smoke Test is a tactic you could use to validate (before it is built) that a product will solve a certain problem.
An example of a Smoke Test is to create a one-page website that says what your product will do along with an email signup box. No actual product exists yet, but the goal is to see if any potential customers signup for what you want to make before you spend time making it.
This is something social media company Buffer did when they first started. Buffer launched with this 2-page website.
Minimum Viable Products of popular products:
eBay, the today’s most popular online auction website, was originally called AuctionWeb when it launched in 1995. Here’s the earliest screenshot available of eBay’s original homepage compared to their homepage in 2014.
Apple is one of the world’s most valuable brands in the world. When the company was founded in 1976, there were a lot of risks. Personal computers weren’t a thing yet, so Apple had to keep things minimal.
The Apple 1 was the first computer released by Apple in 1976 and was just a circuit board. It didn’t have a keyboard, monitor, or case.
Kickstarter flipped the funding model for creative projects by allowing people to support and fund project creators from all over the world.
It seems like an obvious solution now, but when Kickstarter founder Perry Chen first had the idea, it took 6 or 7 years to launch.
Although he wasn’t a designer, Perry sketched his initial vision for Kickstarter in 2006.
The Minimum Viable Product approach doesn’t end after your first Minimum Viable Product is launched. It continues through the entire life of your product.
What will your MVP get you?
1. Idea validation
If you are getting organic users, your product is bridging up some gap in the market. Nothing is better than your idea of getting validated by the actual users. You get the feedback, you notice some glitches, and you improve it iteratively.
2. Seed funding
Your initial users give you valuable feedback to improve the product and be your asset to showcase venture capitalists. Your users are like a product only, looking at which venture capitalists believe in your idea and get ready to fund it till it becomes successful.
3. MVA focus
When you have your eyes firmly focused on the minimum viable audience, you will double down on all the changes you seek to make. Your quality, your story, and your impact will all get better.
The solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve.
Your audience will tell you what they want, which you may not have thought of initially. It is a good sign if your product is in circulation and your audience will want to use it with an additional set of features.
Your first set of audience will always be honest if your product is unique and intuitively; they will be your best marketers moving forward. Loyalty and Conversion are key.
Ironically, the lesson is: do what everybody does. Secretly every brand and company that has been successful does this, even when they have multiline products — this is how they got there by focusing on building a ‘buy-able’ product solves a problem for just a few ‘customers’ and ignoring the non-believers, the uninvolved and the average.
Keep in mind, the idea of a minimal market test is still one of the most important components of product creation. It protects teams from leaders who blindly believe that their product will succeed. If you don’t have the expertise, resources, or courage to perform a reasonably comprehensive market test, you shouldn’t be making products. Period.
The best advice for getting MVPs right is to stop using them as prototypes or foundations for the final product. Build the MVP as a learning tool, and once you’ve learned what you need, scrap it.
So when someone asks for an MVP, say to yourself, “What 10% segment of this request could we build to discover if it makes sense to build the other 90%?” And make sure it would take under 10% of the time needed to build the entire product.