Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product's initial users. Product demos, crowdfunding projects, and landing pages are all common examples of MVPs.
With the growing pace of transformation in the business environment – which is reflected in the constant and rapid development of new technologies, demands from customers, and changing economic conditions – businesses are facing new challenges in how to enter the market and create competitive advantages.
What is a minimum viable product?
The concept has been popularized by Eric Ries, a consultant, and writer on startups. This type of product comes with only the most necessary features to get money and feedback from early adopters. A company might choose to develop and release a minimum viable product because its product team wants to:
Release a product to the market as quickly as possible
Test an idea with real users before committing a large budget to the product’s full development
Learn what resonates with the company’s target market and what doesn’t
In addition to allowing your company to validate an idea for a product without having to build the entire product, an MVP can also help minimize the time and resources you might otherwise commit to building a product that won’t succeed.
Observing users as they utilize the product is much more reliable than trying to validate marketing hypotheses with questionnaires or forecasts. A common pitfall is to release a bare-bone product that is so much below the users’ expectations that is not viable at all. The concept of MVP has, in fact, been widely adopted by many verticals in the informatics industry. Other important use cases of the MVP approach in the informatics world include key startups that eventually rose to success, such as Facebook, Airbnb, Dropbox, and Twitter.
Benefits of using a MVP
Minimum viable product is such a great tool for product development because it enables companies to quickly identify flaws in the product through user testing and repair them as fast as possible. MVP can also be very useful for management teams looking to reinvent not only their products but also their business models. Using a Minimum Viable Transformation strategy, companies can develop flexible business models ready to be customized based on the input from the first users.
Three Key Characteristics of a Minimum Viable Product
It has enough value that people are willing to use it or buy it initially.
It demonstrates enough future benefits to retain early adopters.
It provides a feedback loop to guide future development.
The developing team of an MVP will not waste any time on anything beyond the bare minimum and build every other feature over time as they assess the customers’ wishes and preferences as they start using the product. Product demos, crowdfunding projects, and landing pages are all common examples of MVPs. In some cases, the MVP can be a piecemeal of other existing tools to test its viability before it is developed as a proprietary tool or software. Or it can “look” functional on the outside while it is manually operated by humans (“Flintstone” or “Wizard of Oz” MVP).