Have you been to a brewery recently? If yes, we’re confident that you’ve sampled a couple of the home brews before settling on the witbier. We always settle on the witbier. That’s one way to think of a Minimum Viable Product in the Agile world, but also not quite. It’s the preview.
What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
To borrow from the words of Eric Ries, an MVP is the “version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. This validated learning comes in the form of whether your customers will actually purchase your product.”
If the early version has ample features, it will attract early adopters and customers to validate the product’s idea. This is especially helpful in the product development cycle as user feedback helps the product team incorporate changes and iterate as quickly as possible to improve the product.
Why is an MVP necessary?
- Provides immediate value
- Reduces development costs
- Quick gathering of data for iterations early on
- Prompts investor buy-ins
- A complete prototype to test business solutions
- It helps analyze the market’s demand
- Testing usability and UX design
- Insights as to whether users find the product appealing and useful
What are the Primary Characteristics of an MVP?
All great MVPs share the following traits in common:
- It is an early-stage prototype, so it should not emphasize a specific feature.
- Any product-oriented characteristic should be consistent throughout the MVP.
- It should be able to test an idea with very little material.
- It’s an experimental product that needs refining. So, initially, it should only reveal what matters.
- It should be easy to navigate and fast to use.
- It should be designed to allow for iterations based on real-time feedback quickly.
- It should have a well-researched market-based strategy as the foundation.
- It should be small and budget-friendly.
- As it is only a half-baked product, it should not negatively impact the final product before it is built.
Note: If you’re take over two years to create the MVP, it is no longer an MVP. Remember that if it’s already raking up a massive bill in the early stages, it’s time to cut back.
What are the Different Types of MVPs?
1. Email Campaign MVP
It may come as a surprise, but not all MVPs need to be a product prototype or software product. Email campaigns are hit-and-miss. Mostly a miss, as the open rates are pretty dismal. Yet, suppose you can get the word out to even a few people. In that case, it’s doing its job just fine—leverage feedback from potential customers and through professional and personal networks.
Here’s how you can go about it. Send out an email asking your contact list if they are interested in participating in a pre-launch list and capture the responses you get. If many don’t show any interest, is it worth pursuing, or should you now think of a different strategy?
2. Single-Feature Application MVP
A single-feature application MVP can be best utilized when you’ve already done much of your homework and understand the target market and its problems. The goal for your MVP is to solve these problems for them with singular focus on a particular element and to test your hypothesis with the target audience. This type of MVP is cheap, quick to build, and a precursor to what is to come in the full-fledged application. The ultimate aim is to get valuable input and feedback from real users to mitigate errors.
3. Concierge MVP
A concierge MVP is much like a single-feature application MVP, except it tests a service concept without building the full service. Suppose you’re building an app that helps users eat healthier throughout the day. Depending on the user’s chosen package, this could mean three, four, or five square meals a day. So, you would build a meal plan for a particular customer rather than create full-fledged meal plans. A concierge service, if you will. If these recommendations work, your users will respond positively, creating a demand for your product.
4. Wizard of OZ MVP
Much like the Concierge MVP, the Wizard of OZ MVP is also manually operated. However, the primary difference is that the Wizard of Oz MVP is presented as an automated experience for the customer. But the truth is that someone is manually creating this experience for the user like the wizard in Wizard of Oz. When done right, it renders a smooth experience and customers believe the technology is already in place. The Wizard of OZ MVP aims to test the success of the seamless experience. You can start building a full-fledged product when the concept is proven successful.
5. Piecemeal MVP
Since there are infinite variations in a piecemeal MVP, it is slightly tricky to define. A piecemeal MVP is when a series of pre-existing products are combined as a base for a new service. With the help of new-age digital tools, users and products can have endless interactions. By merging all these, it’s possible to build a whole new type of service.
Top Three Practices to Build a Successful MVP
· Who is the target audience?
The first thing to do when building any MVP is to identify the target audience or target market. Your strategy would be incomplete if you can’t identify who you’re developing the app for. Dig deeper and find out which region is most affected by the problem you’re offering the solution for. How do age, geography, and cultural background affect and impact your solution? Is there something common between all your users facing an issue? What can you do to find out more about the problem and your users?
· When do I need to get this rolling?
Starting any project, especially one of building an MVP without a deadline is a colossal mistake. Set a timeline for yourself and your team, so everyone climbs the same mountain. If you continue adding more features, it will extend your timeline and add extra costs. Ensure that you have a budget in place before starting. The longer you wait, the more the chances of someone else delivering a solution better than yours.
· Keep things simple
An element of great design is to keep things simple and timeless. Remember that simple doesn’t have to be boring if it serves a healthy purpose. Keep up with the changing times and trends and add one element at a time, only when you need to. This is exactly the same principle we apply across our UI UX design services.
For small and medium-scale businesses and enterprises trying to break into the market, an MVP is one of the best strategies to forge forth. To succeed, designers and product builders must constantly work on improving their solutions with the help of feedback for real users. An MVP is the window to what is yet to come and is a budget-friendly option.