Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a term frequently used, with an abundance of definitions, and is often poorly understood.

An MVP isn’t an incomplete product, it is the the MINIMUM product that will accomplish what you desire.  It is a whole, useful, and useable product.

business_building_bar_growth_anim_300_clr_12229MVP is the core of a product.  The part of the product that all the rest of the features exist to support/enhance.  Often it is what makes a product unique, different, or innovative from what is already on the market.  The MVP is the part of the product with the highest risk involved because if people don’t want the core of your product, or it doesn’t work properly, then the rest of the product is irrelevant.

While the MVP for any given product may be unique, the problem the MVP solves is the same: risk.

For example, you want to build an app for a product called “XYZ.”  What would you want to know before you started development?

  • Does anyone even care about XYZ?
  • What do people who like XYZ want?
  • How is your product different from others in it’s class?
  • What is the value that your product delivers to users?

Before you start development, you should have the answer to the above questions.  You can research this on the internet if there are available studies or if there are already products out on the market.   You can build a landing page that people searching for XYZ would click on and measure how much traffic you get.  Though, with current search engine optimization criteria, the landing page test may not be as useful as it was in the past.

How can you lower risk with an MVP?

  • Using wireframes/mock ups at a pre-MVP of the product to get feedback from potential users about the structure and usability of the app.  Changes to the app can be made based on this feedback before it is built.
  • Build the MVP in stages, starting with a prototype and again get potential users to try out your app at each stage.  People don’t use apps the way you think they will, no matter how simple your app is.
  • Knowing how people will use the app will  give direction to improvements to the MVP and inform you as to what features to prioritize building.
  • Once the core of the product is completed, you can get it out there.  You can push out additional features over time until you get to the complete feature set of the product.  If your product has traction in the market, you begin getting a return on your investment from an early stage.
  • If no one is using your product, you can learn why and either change it or stop investing resources in something the market doesn’t want.

When most people conceptualize their product, they imagine a highly elaborate and sophisticated application.  We can build that for you. However, using the MVP is the best and most efficient way to get you a successful application.

We highly encourage our clients to approach development with the MVP first.  Most of our clients are independent entrepreneurs, and need to spend their resources wisely; an MVP helps you to do that.

The MVP isn’t the only thing you will build, but it should be what you build first