What Makes "Minimum" in Minimum Viable Product?
First, we explain the pros and cons of MVP. Then, use the simple MVP checklist as a guide to product development.
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What Is an MVP?
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product without any additional features and, at the same time, comes with all the essential features that users want.
Think of it as a test drive. It is a lean, agile model that allows you to maximize learning about your business with minimal development effort and the shortest possible time, resource, and cost commitment.
Unlike a prototype or the traditional business model canvas, which are usually created once the idea generation stage of one's startup is finished, the
MVP forces you to focus on creating an initial version of your product to test assumptions early.
The information gained from an MVP can be used to guide further development, helping startups understand their customers' needs as quickly as possible and start generating revenue, thus saving both time and money.
Agile product development reduces risk and allows teams to iterate more quickly, rather than building an ideal product only to have it fail.
Implementing the MVP approach allows a company or business to be more productive by enabling them to use the least amount of features to solve a user's problem.
Therefore, this means less support staff, less code being written by developers, and less work for development teams.
So What Makes the Minimum in an MVP?
The keyword is minimum. When starting a business or building an application, your time and budget are limited. Therefore, you want something that will get you the maximum knowledge about your idea for minimal effort. However, determining what the bare minimum should be is not always easy.
What Does an MVP Checklist Look Like?
You should be able to answer the following questions about your product.
- Who is the product for?
- Is the product user-friendly?
- How will the product make their lives easier?
- How is this better than what currently exists or what they have used before (This helps identify your niche)
- Why will they use it?
A simple test to identify what qualifies your product for the MVP stage is to sort out the features. Then, identify what matters and what doesn't.
Make a list of every possible feature the product could have, and then go through them individually. Then, ask yourself if the element is integral to the product's value. If Yes- Great, keep it. No? Well, you know what to do.
It's okay to resist letting go of features in the "no" pile. Just keep in mind that every new feature means more time and money spent on building and testing before your MVP is ready to be launched.
Besides, you can always add some features back later. Also, discipline when it comes to cutting features helps you see your product's fundamental value better as the user experiences it.
Advantages and Disadvantages of MVP
It is essential to know the benefits and drawbacks of this approach you are subjecting your product to
MVP IS A STRATEGY: This is the main advantage of the MVP approach. You can better understand your customers' interest in your product without fully developing the product. The earlier you can find out whether your product will appeal to customers, the less time, effort, and expense you spend on a product that will not succeed in the market.
Having first-hand insight into what people do with a product is more reliable than asking them what they would do. This strategy determines the value of the product to the customer.
COST EFFECTIVE: A goal of any business is to save on its every expense while delivering high-quality service. So developing an MVP with core/essential features in the early stages will save significant amounts of money in the long run. Once the MVP is launched, and feedback is collected from users, additional features can be added to the product.
HELPS VALIDATE YOUR IDEA: Is this a product that your market loves? The counterpart of a minimum viable product is a minimum lovable product (MLP). This validated learning comes in the form of whether your customers will use your product.
GREAT WAY TO ATTRACT INVESTORS: An MVP gives your audience and potential investors an idea of the minimum potential that your product has to offer. Having a working MVP or a complete clickable prototype is the easiest way to show investors the product traction and market fit.
DEVELOPMENT FLEXIBILITY: Having a base product that has been tested for its features and functionalities by end-users allows for additional features to be integrated easily.
The main disadvantage of an MVP is not properly defining the 'minimum.' Too many features don't make up the core of your product and can lead to product failure.
No fully functional product can succeed without the initial research, strategy, feedback analysis, and iteration that go into an MVP.
Every feedback collected and fault corrected while developing an MVP carries over to future versions and other endeavors. With a good MVP, nothing is wasted.
It is evident the pros outweigh the cons when developing an MVP. As a software development company specializing in agile methodology, we adopt this MVP approach in building successful products for our clients. Are you ready to develop your MVP?
Published at DZone with permission of Mario Olomu. See the original article here.
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