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MVP: all you need to know

What is the essence of an MVP? What is it based on? Which products are best suited for it?

A quick guide on MVP

Do you want to offer a new product on the market but don’t know how to do it? Have you thought about the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) method? This method, which startups highly appreciate, will allow you to save time and cost!

Recall the definition of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

The MVP, which stands for Minimum Viable Product, is a product development process to present its most basic version to consumers to improve it little by little. We owe this term to Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup. The goal is to save development time and make your product available on the market by providing only basic features. But be careful; your product must be operational and functional; for example, if it is an application, there must be no bugs. You must come up with the minimum version of your product that users will agree to buy. Therefore, all essentials should be included. The MVP is part of the “Lean startup” method, which consists of launching a minimum offer (your MVP), testing it on the market, adjusting your product, and thus being able to find the best offer for your customers. It is, therefore, a question of investing at a lower cost and quickly validating your idea on the market. MVP development for startups is an essential tool that can help avoid many problems.

How did it start?

As said before, the MVP was introduced by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Start-up. One of the basic principles on which the Minimum Viable Product is based is the “Build-Measure-Learn” cycle. This cycle aims to rely on the customers’ opinions to know whether to continue to develop the product, modify it, or on the contrary, if it is better to stop developing it because it does not meet your consumers’ expectations. 

We note from this cycle that the product will be subjected to evaluations at regular intervals to judge its success. The final product will be the result of all your successive evaluations. This method is called agile product development. This name makes sense because you will have to be agile to correct the situation and constantly satisfy your customers. This type of short-phase development cycle will save you money because if people don’t like the product, they will let you know quickly. You will then be able to modify the product and avoid getting bogged down in your mistakes. Note that it can be difficult for a startup to find a loyal clientele that will answer all the questions. You must therefore develop a marketing campaign in order to make yourself known and win over your target customers.

The notable advantage of the MVP is, above all, the feedback from your customers

User feedback will allow you to improve your product and enrich it not only with the features you had thought of but also with the features requested by your customers.

The second advantage is that the MVP limits expenses if your product is not successful. You will have the costs of developing the basic characteristics and not all the expenses related to its improvement and perfection. The MVP also allows you to make sales faster and thus be able to use this money to develop your product.

The third advantage of an MVP is its speed of placement on the market. You may benefit from the benefits of the first entrant. The last advantage is that an MVP allows you to be present on the market. You will be able to adapt and build relationships faster. You will therefore be one step ahead of your competitors who arrive later. It is an excellent way, much better than market research.

How to best prepare your MVP?

You must know perfectly what your customers expect from the product you are going to release. The essentials must be present. To develop an MVP, it is also very important to surround yourself with professionals and have a solid team to carry out your project. You will have to discuss with them what you want to offer as the first product.

Which products are best suited to the MVP technique?

It seems obvious that the most suitable products are software products. Indeed, you will be able to promote them directly on the Internet and reach your target customers. You can launch the first software that meets the basic features and then modify it via free updates. For example, if you want to develop PDF-format software, you will be able to develop the first version that allows converting an office document to PDF. Then, you can make an update that allows people to do the reverse procedure. You will see if your customers are satisfied. You can add other features (a mobile version, inserting graphics, etc.).

Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Dropbox were born during the MVPs era. See today the success of these platforms. However, the MVP is also suitable for consumer products. Let’s take the example of the razor. Your MVP will be a simple razor. Then you will develop it and put three blades, then a strip against the cuts. You can then develop a version with interchangeable blades, then an electric version. This is an example; there would actually be many different ways to develop your product from your MVP.

In conclusion

Startups increasingly use the MVP because it saves time and costs. Indeed, you will launch a product with the essential features to put it on sale on the market, and gradually you will evaluate its success with your customers. After several cycles of “Build, Measure, Learn,” you will sell a product that perfectly meets your customers’ needs.

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