The minimum viable product or MVP is widely used in Agile projects. But do you know what these terms mean and their importance? So, how do you build the minimum viable product? Read this article to discover what a true MVP is and why it is so important.
What is a minimum viable product?
An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is the “first draft” of a product. Also, it must reach the threshold of a successful iteration.
What is a successful iteration?
It is an iteration whose result is a usable product. Therefore, a sketch or a mock-up is not an iteration. Before going further into the concept, and discovering how to build the minimum viable product, WE would like to take a closer look at what “viable” means. For the agile method, viability is about providing enough value to users.
According to a study done in 2014: the Standish Group observed in their analysis that only 20% of features are frequently used by customers and 50% of features are hardly ever used. Based on this study and the Agile Manifesto, WE advise you to apply the Pareto principle and focus on the 20% of features that bring 80% of the value to the product. This 80/20 principle was created in 1940 when Pareto pointed out that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.
Decades later, we use this “rule” in agile product management to mathematically prioritize the features of a product.
Developed and unused features are a waste of development resources. A viable product, on the other hand, responds to user demands by fulfilling a primary function and is satisfied with minimal functionality. The key to success is to balance “viable” and “minimal” to ensure you create a product that people will use.
Here is an illustration of an MVP and its final product:
The MVP, the key to agility!
Now that you understand what MVP means, let’s move on to why it is central to agile culture. The riskiest part of launching a new product is not the technology chosen or the product design, but whether customers are willing to use and pay for it. To be sure you are creating a product that users need, you need to get it into the hands of your target audience and see if they use it. Testing your idea against the reality of the market is the only way to know objectively if the product is a success and if it is worth investing more time and money in its improvement.
This way, you don’t waste your time on useless features.
The MVP in agile development is not about launching a business with less investment or resources, but about minimizing risk by focusing on the user’s need. It aims to gather feedback and iterate with the feedback received.
Here is a summary of the advantages of the minimum viable product:
– It offers the opportunity to test a product hypothesis with minimal resources.
– It allows you to quickly satisfy users’ needs (see illustration below).
– It avoids the biggest mistakes and wasted time.
– It verifies real market trends.
– It reduces the time between the product launch and its actual use.
– It helps to attract investors quickly.
– It helps the development team to continuously learn about the target users.
Build the minimum viable product with examples
To build an MVP, product team members must know what they want to test and define learning objectives.
First example of the minimum viable product
We’ll use the example of a car.
Before building an entire car, the team needs to know if users need a product to help them get around.
So they will test a simple product to build (in the illustration: the skateboard) and see if people use it to help them get around.
Second example of MVP
Another example, if your project is to build a website to sell swimwear, WE advise you to create a simple wix or wordpress blog.
Once the domain name is chosen and the blog is built with a very simple design, go to your nearest store and take pictures of swimsuits.
Put them on your blog with a short description and the price and wait.
When you receive an order, go back to the store, buy the swimsuit. Mail it in and use Paypal for payment.
The goal is accomplished!
You wanted to know if there was a real need for a swimsuit sales site and this order proved it.
To find out which features are essential to include in your MVP:
– List all the steps a customer will take in using your product.
– Define those without which the product cannot be used.
– Discard those that are not necessary for the product to work.
– These will be useful if your hypothesis is validated.
– They will be developed in future iterations to improve your product.
Examples of famous MVPs
Airbnb’s goal is to eliminate the middleman and facilitate short-term rentals. To test the idea, the entrepreneurs took advantage of a large web design conference in San Francisco to provide attendees with accommodation in the city. They took a few pictures of their loft and created a simple web page. They soon had three people interested in paying for the rental of their apartments.
Coupons and discounts are concepts as old as time. Groupon had the idea to share and publicize them to broaden the target audience. In order to build the minimum viable product, the site started with a simple WordPress and regular PDFs emailed to early subscribers. The test proved successful, and the company went on to build its own voucher and database system.
Amazon started selling books online. Focusing on books at a low price in 1994 with a simplistic web design was enough for the company to grow and diversify.
You have the keys to understanding and building your MVP. Remember, the purpose of the MVP is to get user feedback before starting an expensive and time-consuming development. Your minimum viable product will show exactly what users like about the product and help build your final product. WE hope this article helps you build the minimum viable product that fits your goals. There are many examples of successful MVPs out there. Which ones do you think make the most sense?
Would you like to get more information about MVP? Contact us today.