A minimum viable product (MVP) is a version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development. In this article we talk about the importance of an MVP and the steps needed to succesfully create one
Everyone thinks they have a great idea that will change the world. Lots founders take their idea and try to build the most polished, refined product, only to find out after investing a ton of time and money that most people don’t value it as much.
The Minimum viable Product solves this problem by not trying to be the world’s greatest product but tries to prove the most fundamental assumptions of the problem you are trying to solve in the least expensive way possible. This is based on the principle called Build, Measure and Learn a concept pioneered by Steve Blank and made famous by Eric Reis with the Lean Startup Movement. The lean Startup approach is a systematic way of building a business. When uncertainty is high (i.e. when you are yet to launch your product) and your resources are limited, keep your investment low and prioritise the things that are important. As you Build, Measure and Learn you incrementally invest and deliver better Product Market Fit.
The above is illustrated by Poplify’s model below coined The Product ‘Love’ Cycle
You have an idea of a product or service you want to bring to life? It is important to first establish your core value proposition prior to diving into requirements and design. To do that we recommend using The Value Proposition Canvas created by Alex Osterwalder (the creator of the Business Model Canvas). The Value Proposition Canvas is a framework to help you design products that customers want. Read our in depth guide to using the Value Proposition Canvas here.
If you have found a problem worth solving but still need market validation then we recommend creating a Proof of Concept. A Proof of Concept (POC) is an exercise to test your idea and key assumptions by getting feedback from your target audience. The POC can take the form of a concept design to a landing page. The goal is to identify any potential risks early on before detailed planning.
Product Planning is a critical step before development and focusses on defining your entire product architecture from UX/UI, functional and technical requirements to timelines and costs for product development. The planning process is key to product success and includes:
Once designs and requirements are complete you can move on to software development. We recommend using Scrum and TDD (test-driven development) approaches during the development process to ensure high delivery standards.
Once development and testing has been completed it’s time to prepare the app for release by completing final integration testing, data migration and then user on-boarding.
Once the product is live it’s important to choose the right success metrics and build a data driven user feedback loop.
Capture feedback, brainstorm new features and prioritise them in a backlog and continue to build, measure and learn and scale your product.