You are probably wondering what a minimum viable product is. Well done! You find the right article. In short, a Minimum Viable Product – AKA MVP – is a concept that has become increasingly popular in recent years for startups and product development teams. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore first what is the meaning of MVP. Then, provide examples of successful ones. It will help you to understand this concept. Finally we will discuss on how to develop an MVP using Agile methodology.
We will also talk about the benefits and drawbacks of this product.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about MVP, keep reading!
MVP meaning: definition
First, what is the meaning of MVP? MVP stands for “Minimum Viable Product”. This is a term commonly used in product development, especially software development. It is the basic version of a new product that is released to the market to validate usage and market demand.
This product is designed to solve the primary problem that the product is intended for, with the least amount of functionality needed.
The MVP concept is a critical aspect of The Lean Startup methodology developed by Eric Ries, which emphasizes experimentation to validate business hypotheses.
But, let’s jump from theory to practice with a well known product.
Examples of minimum viable product
Here are some common successful examples of MVPs across various industries. They can help you to understand the meaning of MVP:
- Zappos – Zappos’ MVP was a simple website that listed shoes for sale… from a local shop near Anthony Hsieh apartment, the founder. The company didn’t have any product in stock! For each order, the founder would go to the store to buy the pair of shoes ordered. The website allowed the company to test the demand for their service before building a full e-commerce platform.
- Airbnb – Airbnb’s MVP was a website that featured photos and information about the hosts’ living spaces. The founders did the research of the host. They took the pictures of the apartments by themselves. It has a non-scalable business. It’s often the case with MVP. The website allowed the company to test the demand for their service before building a full platform.
- Instagram – Instagram’s MVP was a simple photo-sharing app with a few basic filters. The app allowed the company to test the concept. It also gather feedback from users before adding more features.
- Uber – Uber’s MVP was a simple website that allowed users to request a ride from a nearby driver. The website allowed the company to test the concept and gather feedback from users before building the full app. The key features included in the initial version of the app were: sign-up and login, ride request, driver matching, real-time tracking of the ride, payment, and user feedback. These basic features were enough to prove the viability of the concept and attract early adopters.
How to develop a MVP using Agile methodology?
One of the most popular ways of developing this kind of product…
Developing a MVP involves breaking down the product development process into small cycles (2 to 3 weeks). Here are the key steps to follow:
- Define the product vision and goals – This first step involves identifying the problem the product will solve. What is the target audience, and the desired outcomes?
- Define user stories – What are user stories? User stories are short, simple descriptions of a feature or functionality from the perspective of the user. They help the development team understand what the user needs. Also, they help to know how the product can solve their problem.
- Prioritize features – The product team should prioritize features based on their importance to the user and the value they provide. This involves determining which features are essential for the MVP and which can be added later. It’s the most important and hard part of the process. Try to select only a few user stories to develop. It’s better to ask someone outside of the project to have a look at your backlog (list of user stories you want to develop), and told you which one you need to remove.
- Plan the sprint – What is a sprint? A sprint is a short, focused period of development (typically two to three weeks long). During this period, the team should identify the user stories they will work on during the sprint. They will also estimate the effort required to complete them. Each sprint or two sprints must provide new features that can be used by users.
- Develop the MVP – In this step, the development team should work on the user stories identified during the sprint planning. Thanks to that, they can develop the Minimum Viable Product.
- Review and iterate – After each sprint, the product team should review the MVP and gather feedback from users. This feedback should be used to iterate on the product and improve it in subsequent sprints.
- Repeat the process – The development team should continue to work in sprints. But also prioritizing features, and iterating on the product until it meets the needs of the target audience.
Benefits of MVP
Here are some important benefits you can focus on:
- Reduced risk and cost – A MVP allows you to test your product idea with a minimum investment of time and resources. By focusing on the core functionality needed to provide value to users, you can reduce the risk of investing in a product that may not succeed in the market.
- Faster time-to-market – Developing a MVP allows you to get your product to market quickly, which can be critical in a competitive environment. This can help you to have a place in the market before your competitors and to start generating revenue.
- Validation of assumptions – A MVP allows you to test your assumptions about your product idea and to validate whether there is a market demand for it. By gathering feedback from users, you can iterate on the product and make sure that it meets the needs of the target audience.
- Faster iteration and improvement – By developing an MVP, you can gather feedback from users and iterate on the product quickly. This can help you to improve the product over time and to add new features and functionality as needed.
- Better use of resources – By prioritizing the most important features and purposes in an MVP, you can make better use of your resources and avoid investing time and resources in developing features that are not necessary or do not provide value to users. This can lead to a more successful product in the long run.
Drawbacks of MVP
While there are many benefits to developing a minimum viable product, there are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of. Here are a few ones:
- Limited functionality – An MVP by definition includes only the minimum necessary features to provide value to users. This means that the product may not have all the features that users want at first, which can limit its appeal and adoption. But if you really tackle a painful need, be sure users will come back and will wait patiently for the new features.
- Negative user experience – If an MVP is not developed carefully, it can lead to a negative user experience. For example, if the user interface is not intuitive or if the product is not stable, users may not be satisfied and abandon the product. But it’s OK, it’s part of the process. Bad feedback are also good to allow you improve your product.
- Limited market appeal – An MVP may be developed with a narrow focus on a specific target audience, which can limit its market appeal. This can make it difficult to attract new users and grow the product over time. You will need to add new functionality for that, but it’s Ok because you will already have validated traction on a particular target and have your first users. You will be able to grow you product with confidence to be on the good path.
- Difficulty in attracting investment – Investors may be hesitant to invest the creation of MVP because the concept is not proven yet. But when you get traction via your MVP you will be in a strong position to go fundraising: validate concept, first (paid) users, data on the market, growth perspectives…
Developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be a great way to test your product idea quickly and efficiently. By focusing on the core features that provide the most value to users, you can minimize risk and cost in case your product doesn’t succeed in the market. With the Agile methodology, you can develop your product in iterative cycles and speed up improvements. But keep in mind that there are potential drawbacks to developing an MVP.
We hope that this article will help you to understand the meaning of MVP. Furthermore, we hope it will help you to make an informed decision on whether an MVP is the right approach for your product idea.
We invite you to read our other article on the same subject: Finding the right company to build your MVP in Belgium.
You want to create a MVP for your project?