What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
A minimum viable product, shortly known as an MVP, is the most basic model of a product which can be launched and tested in the market. It contains the must-have features of the product. To put it easily, it is a work-in-progress which has the basic features that allow its main goal to be achieved.
An MVP is launched in the market with the intention of attracting early adopters as well as to check if the product happens to solve the consumers’ problems efficiently. It also counts as an early entry into the market. This gives the business a competitive edge over others.
What is the Development Process when you Build an MVP?
A minimum viable product (MVP) consists of the core functionalities needed to make the product work. It has the most essential yet minimal features and is launched into the market at that stage. The team then awaits feedback from the early adopters of the product. Based on the feedback gained from the users, the main development of the product takes place.
On the basis of what users think is good and what can be improved, the team makes a better and improved version of the product. Some of the assumptions made by the users are validated whilst others are invalidated. The newer version developed by the team is marketed again. Once again, feedback is awaited from the product users to make further changes to the product. With this series of iterations, an MVP is continuously improved in accordance with the criticism provided by the product’s target audience.
What is the Purpose of an MVP?
The primary purpose of an MVP is to launch the product as fast as possible while minimizing costs. It allows the team of developers to gain valuable experience. They learn more about what the users of the product need and want, and how to develop it to better suit those needs and wants. It also allows getting the best quality of feedback for the product as it will be targeted towards a specific audience.
How to Build an MVP?
Building an MVP (minimum viable product) can seem like a complex procedure if one does not understand how the steps required in the building process of an MVP. The task may not be as daunting as it seems.
Here is a step-by-step guideline on how to build an MVP ( minimum viable product):-
1. Identifying and Defining the Problem
When trying to develop a minimum viable product, first, a person needs to see if their potential product will be useful for its intended users. Is the product needed by the target audience? If yes, then how will the product aid them? What problems can this product solve for the audience it is targeted towards?
A person can start this step off by asking people around them. It can be family members, relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues, or someone at a convenience store. This is a crucial step as a person’s thoughts regarding their potential product can be very biased. This step will allow them to have a basic idea of how others view their product idea, whether it really is needed in the market and whether it will be successful if they go through with the idea. An unbiased opinion is vital in defining the problem and coming up with the following potential product.
2. Conducting Market Research
After defining the problem and gaining some knowledge about how other people perceive the product idea, one should always conduct market research. However, the research should depend on whether the idea was perceived positively. This is one of the most fundamental steps in developing a minimum viable product. Unfortunately, this phrase more often than not gets ignored by people as they like to believe that their idea is unique.
Doing some market research may provide a rude awakening to some people. They might figure out their product is not as unique as they may have perceived. It also allows a person to identify the gaps within the market. One can conduct some surveys online to make this process faster. Some small surveys like online questionnaires are very helpful in this stage.
3. Analysing the Competitors
Typically, the product a person has in mind already exists in the market. So, it is necessary to check out how rival businesses have developed their products to suit the needs and wants of their consumers. It is also beneficial to check whether the consumers of the competitors have any specific needs or wants which are not satisfied by the product existing in the market. Having the MVP fulfill those particular requirements can give the business a competitive edge over its rivals in the market.
4. Defining the User Flow
This is a relatively easy step as it is basically a simple walk-through of the product’s process stages. Take the process of sending an email as an example. One needs to open the app or the website. Then, they have to log in to their email. Next up, they compose the email. After that, they type in the recipient’s email address. Finally, they send the email. The main purpose here was to send the email.
Similarly, one needs to define its product’s user flow. How will the user use the product? How will they achieve the main goal of the product? Answers to such questions are pertinent in build an MVP (minimum viable product). When these stages have been defined, one can move on to the next phase of building their minimum viable product.
5. Make a list of the Features required in the MVP
In this stage, one needs to figure out all the features the MVP requires. For instance, they can start by making a list of all the features they want in the product. Next, they need to arrange the features according to their necessity. A simple method of doing this is by marking and grouping all the functionalities according to “must-haves,” “will be nice to have,” and “not really necessary”. Cross out the items under the last category. See if any of the items in the second category can be used in the development of the items on the first list. If it is possible, include it in the first list. In this way, map out all the features for each stage of the MVP accordingly.
6. Building the MVP
Now that all of the must-have features of the MVP are listed out properly, the esteemed team of developers can start to build an MVP. The team should keep in mind that, even though the product being created is a minimum viable one, it remains a product nonetheless. It is not of lower quality just because it only has the most basic features of the product. It needs to be useful, easy to use, and suitable for the intended users. The initial release of a quality MVP, which serves the customers’ needs impeccably, shows the dedication of the team. This, in turn, will encourage further customers to use the product.
As the author of “The Lean Product Playbook,” Dan Olsen has said, “The main reason why products fail is that they do not meet the customers’ needs in a way better than other alternatives.”
7. Test the MVP
After the MVP has been created, it needs to be tested out. The team needs to gather up the responses of the audience when they launch the product. It is normal to have the product criticized. The team needs to gather both positive and negative feedback for their minimum viable product. On one hand, the positive reviews will let the team know which of the features and qualities of the product were liked by the target audience. The negative reviews, on the other hand, will give them knowledge about what the users did not like or what the users wished the product had.
8. Improving the MVP
The team should start making improvements on the MVP on the basis of the negative reviews. They should add in features the users wish for the product to have, change the design in accordance with the convenience of the target audience. In simpler words, the team should adopt the rule of “Build, Measure and Learn.”
Mistakes to avoid making when build an MVP
People indeed learn from their mistakes. If mistakes are not made, one will never learn how to rectify their errors and improve themselves. However, one does not only gain knowledge from their own faults. They should also learn from the blunders others have made. This also applies when creating a product. There are mistakes others have made in the development process of their MVPs. Here is a list of some of these mistakes everyone should avoid making:
1. Choosing to Solve the Wrong Problem
One of the most common mistakes made when building a product is choosing to solve the wrong problem. The first step to avoiding this blunder is choosing to solve a problem for the right target audience. Aiming the product at everyone is not the correct choice as everyone cannot be satisfied with it. It can be possible that majority of the people like a product but there will always be some people who do not like it. The product one creates should always be targeted at the audience who have a particular problem.
Next up, one should determine what problem they are solving for their audience. Once that is determined, they should think about whether or not their idea is effective in solving the audience’s problem. If it is effective, then then they should go along with the idea.
2. Choosing to Skip making a Prototype
The prototype gives the team a visual idea of what their product will look like. Skipping this step is a serious blunder many people make. Jumping straight into build an MVP without making prototypes is most likely to cause more errors in the actual development procedure of the MVP. Making a prototype is a great way for the developers to understand the mechanisms of the product better.
3. Quantitative VS Qualitative Feedback
People face a common confusion between whether they should focus on quantitative feedback or qualitative feedback. The answer is both. Focusing on one over the other is a major blunder that should be avoided at all costs. Take a business’s profitability and liquidity. A business cannot choose one over the other without resulting in business failure. This is because both profitability and liquidity are needed by a business. Profitability is necessary for the long-term run of the business whereas liquidity is required in the short-term period. Likewise, both qualitative and quantitative feedback is required in regards to a product to make improvements to it. Choosing one over the other will not help in making the product better for the users. It will most likely leave the users dissatisfied since there are higher chances of missing out on valuable information regarding what the users need or want in the product.
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Stringently following the step by step procedure should allow anyone to develop their minimum viable product with ease. While it may take some time to comprehend and adjust to the process, it should be relatively simple to improve their workflow.