Disclaimer: Minimum viable product is a kind of first form of a product for further market entry.
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. In a nutshell, it is a small version of a complete working solution that can be used and assessed by the first customers. This first exploitation of the product provides the developers with valuable feedback on what features need to be improved. In this article, we will focus on what MVP means for business, where it is good to be used and how to benefit from it.
Many businesses or individuals want to turn their brilliant ideas into solutions or products and earn a profit. But these experiments can cost a lot of money and ultimately not bring real results for the owners. So, what should you do in such a situation, and how can you minimize the risks?
Developing a minimum viable product is the solution. It helps not only to launch a product very quickly, but also to collect opinions about it from real users. Then, based on the feedback and reviews, companies decide whether or not to continue with the tool development.
MVP is a basic solution that emphasizes the main idea but without additional functionality or thought-out design to the smallest details. MVP stands for a 100% working product, in contrast to the prototype. On the basis of the MVP solution, through further development services, more and more new functions are added, the design is improved, and new ideas are tested.
Minimum viable product helps to deal with the following issues:
collect customer feedback
check the solution for viability without huge development costs.
If the new product is accepted positively, it will be developed further. If consumers don’t like the main idea, owners have two choices:
forget about the project
radically change the idea. In startups, this process is called pivot, that means “turning around.”
Has anyone I know created MVPs? Sure, have a look:
Dropbox. Before the file sharing tool we know today, there was a video that showed the possibilities of the product. The high interest in the video promised the tool was worth investing in, and it soon became a commercial success.
Spotify. In its MVP, Spotify developers concentrated on the core feature, which was music streaming. It showed potential customers were interested, and the project was launched. All the complex functionality that exists today was added later.
Airbnb. The giant in the accommodation rental business started from a simple site offering one apartment for rent with pictures attached and the possibility to book the available dates online.
Benefits for business
MVP enters the market with a core idea and key functionalities that will be tested. If people do not like the main idea of the solution, additional features will not change their minds.
Let’s look at this situation with an example that we all understand. In a restaurant, if you didn’t like the whole dish, but the sauce for the meat was good, this does not mean that you will order it next time just because of the sauce:)
Any business can create an MVP and benefit from it. Developing an MVP is not as costly as developing a whole product. It will show whether potential users are interested and what needs to be changed or improved. Here are some examples of the spheres where an MVP would be a nice first step.
Each new design of the product implies prototypes. The first prototype should be implemented as an MVP for the users to test it and share feedback with the creators. The first MVP design will provide information on the parts that should be improved, the elements that are excessive, and issues that are missed. This analysis enables the team to develop the best version of the design.
Agile methodology projects.
When Agile is applied, it means the whole process of work is organized around creating MVPs. With Agile, teams work in sprints, then analyze the results, and go back to the initial steps of the cycle to enhance the product. Each cycle is an MVP at its core. The team brainstorms the idea, prepares the prototype, launches an MVP, and analyzes the feedback.
Affiliates and marketing agencies are interested in cheap leads. However, campaigns tend to blow budgets away. An MVP can become a solution here. For instance, before starting an international full-scale campaign, it can be tested in a separate region.
It seems that MVP is a magic pill for any project. That is not quite true. Sometimes there are products that are easier to develop till the end than to waste time on creating just one part of them. MVP is useless if:
The idea of your product lies in offering many possibilities and features. So, you can’t choose the core because the essence is in diversity.
Creating a simple landing page will not be informative, as the users will need a complete personal account on the site. So, you will spend resources on something that will not be used in a real product.
Advertising campaigns are unpredictable. It may happen that you spend a fortune on promotion and do not get any feedback, while you could invest this money in the development of a complete product and then start advertising it.
Besides MVP, there are a number of other concepts that have similar and distinctive features. Let’s take a closer look at each of them in order to delineate the options.
MVP vs. Minimum Marketable Product
The Minimal Marketable Product (MMP) is a complete solution to sell, with minimal features but ready to generate full-fledged sales. The main difference between these two options is that MMP aims to reduce time-to-market while the MVP phase stands for risk reduction.
MVP vs. Proof of Concept
Proof of concept can be a preparatory stage before building an MVP project. The business idea and technical capabilities of the team are tested, but without the involvement of customers and the possible collection of feedback. Proof of concept remains an internal product without going to the market.
MVP vs. Minimum Lovable Product
The Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) name speaks for itself. This is a product with a minimum set of features, made with one goal in mind: to win the clients’ hearts. You can imagine MLP as a quality version of an MVP variant that customers will immediately fall in love with. Depending on the product or solution, MVPs can be delivered in different ways.
MVP vs. Beta Version
The difference between these two approaches is the degree of readiness of the products. MVP stands for the minimal version of the final solution, as a beta version is an almost ready product with all the functionality (basic and additional). The latter concept refers to the testing phase before launching the application. It’s the last preproduction phase to collect feedback, find the latest bugs, and go to market.
Creating a Minimum Viable Product is a helpful solution to test the future of the product. It conveys important data on the success of the product and allows companies to save money. Key functionality of the product will interest users or turn them away. An MVP is a fully-fledged product, not a quickly made prototype. Thus, the development of an MVP should be taken seriously, otherwise the resources will be wasted and no valuable feedback will be received. Designing an MVP is a key step on the way to a successful product launch.
What is MVP?
MVP is a working key functionality of the product that is launched on the market to get the first feedback from users.
How do I know if my prototype is ready for an MVP?
Your prototype has the core functionality, was created with a minimum budget, and is fully ready to be tested by real customers.
What are the pros of an MVP?
It is a cheap and fast way to understand if your product will be in demand.
How long does it take to create an MVP?
Depending on the size of the project, 1 to 1.5 months.