Minimum Viable Product Explained

Iteration and the Minimum Viable Product
March 29, 2023

What is an MVP?

You might know the term MVP from basketball, in this context the word differs though. 

This time, we’re talking about Minimum Viable Products. 

An initial iteration of your product that has the most basic features, that is functional and that has a primary design. 

Nothing complete or extremely advanced, but still more developed than a prototype

When building a product and putting it out to market, your goal should be to get to the MVP as early as possible. 

Building prototypes and iterating over them is fundamental to testing your products and making sure each iteration brings something new and validates the existing parts. 

However, the process is costly, and keeping this process up means you need to push an MVP quickly to try and sell it as early as possible.

Your MVP gives you leverage to start selling the product to potential customers, it shows what you’ve accomplished this far and where you’re going, and what the next steps are. 

Building an MVP will also help you secure funds from investors. 

Seeing that you’ve started work on building your idea means you’re that much more serious about the whole thing, encouraging investors alike to follow you along your journey.

Understanding the lean startup methodology

It’s important to understand the lean startup methodology because it can serve as the entire mindset behind your company. 

It provides a thought process and a particular approach that can save you resources.

With it, you should design that solves real-world problems. 

In most traditional development methods, you acquire capital first and then move on to designing a product.

That initial investing phase can be very time-consuming and doesn’t contribute much to the result of the final product.

The lean startup method, on the opposite, works because it focuses on innovation and solving real-world problems, the backbone of a working product. 

As opposed to products that rely on heavy marketing to be sold.

The methodology can be summarized in three simple ideas: Build, Measure, and Learn.

  • The building phase is all about your Minimum Viable Product, the product that has enough features to keep customers satisfied while you test your theory and make sure the product can be successful on the market. MVPs shouldn’t be distributed to all of your customers, think of it as a small-scale experiment. Only a small subset of customers, possibly one that crosses a wide range of demographics, should have access to your product.
  • The measure phase is subtle, following the building phase, it should be thought of as a new objective. It’s essential that you effectively measure the result of your product while continuing to develop its features. It’s not because you’ve achieved an MVP that you should focus entirely on the measuring part, keep developing your product while you receive feedback and measure its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Measuring your results just isn't enough, you should strive to gather as much valuable feedback as possible. It then should be used to understand what aspect of your product isn’t working and which ones should be refined. Learning from that feedback means making changes that take into account the customer’s point of view to get a product that meets the needs of a target audience.

Business ideas and minimum viable products

The idea behind building a product that has only the most basic functionality is to test business hypotheses and a product idea. 

This means you'll spend money to try things out. 

Where the MVP development stands out is in the amount of money you'll spend.

MVP product development allows you to gauge market demand and make a value proposition very early on in the product development process. 

You should have a good idea about your business idea and business model using the MVP concept.

This concept refers to the idea of time to market. 

Diminishing the time it takes to target users and get user feedback ensures you spend less money in the development phase. 

Therefore you can shut down your business idea very early on if you think it won't work.

Another element is the minimum marketable product which refers to the similar idea of less is more. 

It aims at building the product with the minimum feature set and complexity that should satisfy consumers.

Startups fail, and if they have to, it better be quick.

This summarizes the mentality quite well, since we know startups fail, we better make sure the ones that fail, fail quickly so we limit our losses. 

If they don't do well, we should recognize their potential early and develop a business model from there using validated learning.

The role of early adopters

Building MVPs and Minimum Marketable Products sometimes means not offering the customer the best product possible, so why should customers follow you? 

A central piece of customer development is early adopters.

These clients see the value proposition and the potential of your business model. 

In your target group, these might not be your end users since they benefit from the first version and the full-fledged product. 

Having an early version, they'll help you with your product vision.

Earliest adopters have an entrepreneurial spirit and are willing to take the risk of trying a new product. 

While this is low risk, these users still put time and effort into an unfinished product.

As a builder, you should cherish these users, they will help you test your product hypothesis, core features, and business model. 

They will guide you on your product market fit, help you find your potential customers and end users, and help you see how the market reacts to your actual product.

Think we could help you out?

Let's make it happen

Spill the beans about your problem, challenge, intuition... and we'll bring a solution to life at lightning speed.