Usually, if a product is at least somewhat innovative, its launch is preceded by the launch of a minimum viable product (MVP), which allows its owners to test all hypotheses related to its interaction with users in practice. Below, we’ll present to you the minimum viable product definition and show you how to deliver the most effective user value in your MVP strategy in practice.
What Is MVP?
MVP in entrepreneurship is a test version of a product or service with a minimum set of functions (sometimes, it can be only one function), which is valuable to the end user. MVP is created to test hypotheses and check the viability of the initial concept, that is, it helps to determine how valuable and in demand it will be on the market. MVP testing results and feedback from the target audience help project owners understand whether it is worth developing it further, what changes should be made, and what should be left as is.
Benefits of an MVP Approach
In general, the development of an MVP helps product owners to check the readiness of the target audience to buy and use it at the initial stages of its formation. However, its benefits do not end there. Let's check them out in detail:
- In-depth understanding of the real needs and pain points of the target audience through gathering feedback on user experience
- Ensuring demand for the product at an early stage
- Rational expenditure of financial resources for the implementation of the project
- The ability to abandon unnecessary features before they are fully implemented
- Accelerated product launch
- Simplification of the testing procedure
- Simple and gradual optimization and improvement of the product
- Fast customers engagement and profits that can be invested in the further development of the product almost immediately after launch on the market
- Reducing the risks associated with unnecessary expenses
- The effective attraction of investors for project development
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Steps to Implement an MVP Approach
To create an MVP with the least risk, you will have to follow these steps.
- Step 1: Identify the problem your target audience has to be solved with your product.
- Step 2: Define your target audience and prepare portraits of average customers (usually, there are several of them).
- Step 3: Perform an analysis of competitive solutions to determine their advantages and disadvantages and form a “hodgepodge” of features that will be embodied in your product.
- Step 4: Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your product, as well as assess the possible risks and prospects associated with its implementation.
- Step 5: Build a user flow, the path that the end user will have to overcome from getting to know your product to perform the target action within it: it should be as simple and short as possible.
- Step 6: Identify key functionality and each MVP feature that can be implemented over time; for this, you can use user stories that describe the experience of real customers from dealing with your product.
- Step 7: Choose the best one from all existing types of MVPs.
- Step 8: Conduct alpha and beta testing, which consists in obtaining feedback from small focus groups in the first case and on a larger cross-section of the target audience in the second case.
- Step 9: Optimize your product according to the feedback received and test it again.
As for the most iconic minimum viable product examples, we can't help but mention Uber and Airbnb.
In particular, the first project started in the form of the UberCab iPhone application, which allowed passengers to rent premium cars for a trip at only one and a half times the cost of a regular taxi. Initially, the application worked in a limited area and with a narrow target audience, but after a year of beta testing, the creators were able to attract the first large investments. Currently, Uber is represented in almost every country.
As for Airbnb, in 2008, its creators developed a simple one-page website with photos of their apartments and began renting out their own attic. Already in 2009, their startup attracted the attention of investors and received significant funding from the Y Combinator business incubator. A few years later, the cost of the project grew to several hundred million US dollars, and it became multinational.
Challenges and Limitations
If we talk about the problems that you may encounter when implementing an MVP, there are five main ones.
- Incorrectly chosen methods of market research and incorrect conclusions. No matter how cool your business idea is, it will not mean your target audience needs to purchase your product. To solve this problem, you will need to choose the proper methods for market research and conduct them before, during, and after the launch of the MVP.
- Lack of team professionalism. In view of the budget constraints, startup owners may not pay special attention to the expertise of the development team, which as a result, leads to the fact that the product turns out to be poorly scalable and inconsistent with generally accepted usability requirements. To prevent this from happening, you will have to think about how to plan your MVP product management processes so that you do not have to save on the level of expertise of specialists.
- Lack of understanding of the key features of the product. Sometimes for those who have never worked on an MVP before, it can be difficult to determine the key MVP features that should be embodied first. As a result, the cost of the project is too high, even though it is “basic”. To prevent this from happening, you will have to enlist the support of an experienced team that will define and implement minimum viable features in the best possible way.
- Wrong launch date. Time can negatively affect the demand for your product. If you spend too little time on its implementation, it may turn out to be too “raw”, earn a lot of negative feedback from its target audience, and ultimately fail. Conversely, a too-late launch of a product may be accompanied by increased competition that will be impossible to resist. That's why you need to be very careful when planning your launch date.
- Excessive desire to make the product perfect. At the same time, you must understand that the goal of your MVP is not to present the ideal solution to potential buyers but to understand whether you have chosen the right direction for the implementation of a full-fledged project. Therefore, spending too much time on optimization is not worth it, as this may lead to the fact that someone will bring your business idea to life before you.
Often, the development of an innovative product is complex, time-consuming, and expensive. In turn, the Minimum Viable Product concept involves small and gradual changes that are safe enough to allow features or updates to be implemented without causing inconvenience to product owners. If you want to enlist the support of a reliable, experienced team in creating a working MVP, consider cooperation with our company. We have successfully implemented over a hundred projects and advised dozens of startups. Now we are here to help you achieve your business goals.
What is MVP?
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product, which is a test version of a product or service with a minimum set of functions that are valuable to the end user. It is created to test hypotheses and check the viability of the initial concept, helping project owners understand whether it is worth developing further based on feedback from the target audience.
What are the benefits of an MVP approach?
The benefits of an MVP approach include an In-depth understanding of the real needs and pain points of the target audience through gathering feedback on user experience. Ensuring demand for the product at an early stage. Rational expenditure of financial resources for the implementation of the project. The ability to abandon unnecessary features before they are fully implemented. Accelerated product launch. Simplification of the testing procedure. Simple and gradual optimization and improvement of the product. Fast customer engagement and profits can be invested in further product development almost immediately after launch on the market. Reducing risks associated with unnecessary expenses. The effective attraction of investors for project development.
What are the steps to implement an MVP approach?
To create an MVP with minimal risk, there are several steps that should be followed. Firstly, it's important to identify the problem that the target audience has to be solved with the product. Secondly, the target audience should be defined and average customer portraits prepared. Thirdly, an analysis of competitive solutions should be performed to determine their advantages and disadvantages, and form a list of features to be included in the product. Fourthly, a SWOT analysis should be conducted to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the product, as well as assess the possible risks and prospects associated with its implementation. Fifthly, a user flow should be built to determine the path that the end user will take to perform the target action within the product. Sixthly, key functionality and each MVP feature should be identified and prioritized. Seventhly, the best type of MVP should be chosen. Eighthly, alpha and beta testing should be conducted to obtain feedback from small focus groups and a larger cross-section of the target audience. Finally, the product should be optimized according to the feedback received, and tested again.
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