What Does MVP Mean
The Minimum Viable Product (a product with the minimum acceptable requirements) is the version of a new product that allows the collection of the maximum number of data and validations regarding users with minimum effort.
In practice, the MVP is a simulation of the digital product (like a high-level prototype) or a very simplified version, which allows both validations by potential investors and an early market launch. All to collect feedback from users to build the perfect product iteratively. It is about giving the user what he needs before being sure what he wants. The characteristics of an MVP can be summarized in three simple points:
- Provides enough value to make the product attractive to users after its launch;
- Show that future features will be implemented to convince early adopters to stick around;
- Create a feedback loop that helps drive future product iterations.
The MVP contains the key features of our product, leaving out at first everything that can be defined as “nice to have.”
How Does MVP Work?
Identify Key Features
The first step is to define priorities. Imagine, for example, launching a new app to create wishlists with the products you would like to buy or receive as a gift. The main features should be very few:
- Create and organize lists.
- Somehow add products to them.
- Please share them with your friends.
You may already have a first product to test in a few weeks. But if you would like to add more features, such as Facebook integration, an amazon integrated product database for you to choose from, the ability to have lists co-managed by family and friends, or an in-list messaging system, then the design and development time would expand enormously. Why wait so long and invest in implementing optional features for our users when we can proceed step by step and understand what they want?
Test And Validate
Once the key features have been identified and a project roadmap created, the MVP will be your litmus test to understand if you are moving in the right direction. By validating with A/B testing, with qualitative and quantitative user tests, or simply by analyzing Google Analytics data relating to the use of your product, the following steps to take and the features to implement will be more apparent to you.
Not Just For Startups
The MVP was born in the context of the Agile methodology applied to the world of startups but is currently used by large companies and big players worldwide. For example, when Facebook was launched, there was no timeline feature. On the other hand, Airbnb still needed to offer experience services due to the booking system for private houses and apartments. These features were added later, learning from mistakes and listening to the voice of the users who used the product. Any business can benefit from an iterative approach of this type.
MVP Made Easy: Which Methodologies Or Approaches To Use?
It is the best way to validate a product with minimum effort, allowing you to create a valid version and collect meaningful feedback before starting the expensive development phase. After an alignment phase with other departments (business, marketing, IT), the design team can then build high-level prototypes and test with users through quality tests. They are also great for presenting an idea to the company’s potential investors or decision-makers.
Code Based MVP
Another way is to develop a real MVP, i.e., not a prototype, put it into production, and launch it on the market to collect feedback from a wider pool of users. However, this is more expensive than prototyping, and you risk spending too much time perfecting the product before testing it.
Qualitative tests with users are the best way to collect important information about our MVP, such as insights, suggestions, ideas, missing features, or usability problems. Statistically, more than five target people are needed to understand our product’s problems.
The Design Sprint is a methodology that manages to compress a product’s conception, design, prototyping, and testing into a guided and shared 4-day process. It’s one of the best ways to approach an MVP and gather insights in a concise amount of time.