What do you REALLY need?
“Let’s start with a Minimal Viable Product” is a widely heard cliche used loosely by the startup community, while venturing into the world of product development.
MVP is defined as an iterative process used to help frame the ideas into structured thoughts. While most people think an MVP is an actual “product”, it in reality might not result in any product.
There are, of course, examples of MVPs that result in disappointments. In those instances, a sizable chunk of initiatives is dropped. Even though the idea may have been good, the team or individuals might have to shelve their plans as a result of a poor MVP.
Having said that, it is important to keep in mind what the focus of an MVP is to figure out if the product concept is viable.
So how do you crack the MVP rule book to give yourself a better chance to succeed. Let’s start with understanding the myths about MVPs and how to get over them.
If you are not sure about an idea then do not venture into it.
MVP should be an eventual product which is released.
It should always be quick to build and must be delivered fast.
It may not be a robust solution but a low cost prototype with partial offerings to test the waters.
Only startup ideas need an MVP.
MVP Myths Truths:
If you are not sure: if your business idea has potential, then build an MVP and test it out.
MVP should be an eventual product which is released: MVP may not always be a final product which is ready to launch. It could be a plan, wire-frame, and prototype which covers the product value offerings. By doing so, it is a step forward in getting the right feedback to ascertain the assumptions and course correct them if necessary.
It should always be quick to build and must be delivered fast: MVPs may not always be FAST. They should be thought through and holistic. The quality and completeness MUST NOT be compromised to achieve the SPEED.
It may not be a robust solution: The solution must be robust, with a strong road map. It should NOT be a throw away effort, but should be scalable on demand and extremely fluid to adapt and onboard changes and enhancements.
Only startup ideas need an MVP: MVP is a process that, when ingrained as a methodology, must stay and help evolve any size company or project including those outside of the software industry.
A viable business model: This is the crux of any product journey. Nothing should progress without a business model in place.
Problem statement: This should be revisited often so decisions are made while keeping the problem statement in mind.
Market/Customer Findings: Surveys from intended customers (discussion in-person, market research, online feedback, social media interactions, etc) should be included to vet the idea.
Marketing plan & Revenue stream: Product pricing should be set in comparison to the existing direct/indirect competitions.
Features and Functionalities: The product features should address the customer’s immediate needs while addressing the core problem statement.
Road map: This should clearly identify feature offerings as an ongoing journey
Multiple yet Short Learning cycles: The iterative learning process should be quick. They should feed into the ideation process to evolve the product continuously with each iteration.
MVP is an iterative, never-ending process of validating and course correcting of the hypothesis till it reaches a viable state of maturity and addresses the ever evolving business needs. This process helps kick startup ideas and also helps sustain larger setups to stay lean and profitable.