You’ve been thinking about a huge idea for a long time, but the questions arise: Where do I begin? Would people be interested in it? How would I move forward? It sounds like you need an MVP and I’m not talking about Lebron, Kobe or Steph Curry. I’m talking about your minimum viable product.
What Is a Minimum Viable Product?
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a version of your proposed product with just enough features to be used by early customers who can then provide feedback for future development. It is important that you use the vision of the product or service you have and break it up into smaller steps. Dream big, start small.
Features of an MVP
When creating your MVP, you want to make sure it has these three features:
Ensure that it provides enough value so that your customers will keep using it. Let’s say your big idea is a machine that gets them from one place to another. A great MVP would be a skateboard, not the wheel of a car.
You also want to make sure that your customers are aware that there is more to come through hints given by the functionality of the MVP. With the skateboard in the previous example, the customer can see that you can probably add a handle to make a scooter, hence making the steering easier.
Finally, you want to make sure that you can learn from the customer’s feedback. The scooter is amazing, but it’s a little uncomfortable to stand while riding and longer trips can be difficult. With that information, you make bigger wheels, add a seat and now you can provide the customer with a bicycle.
Why Is an MVP Important?
If you have an MVP, development becomes easier because you can focus your time and energy on important features. This is useful for large projects with end products having a lot of cool features. It may be hard to not get distracted.
Instead of sending your finished product out there and giving your customers a steep learning curve, you get early adopters who can get familiar with the product before its final release. It also allows you to build a following, giving you external motivation to continue to see your vision through.
Having an MVP gives you information about the market to enhance the user experience. You may get information on what features you should develop, what features you should remove, who your customers actually are and so on.
MVPs are also great for perfectionists. Have you ever done something and had to start over a couple of times only to realize that what you did at first was all you needed? This can hinder your progress. Having an MVP gives you the permission to release something before the full and final version. That way, you can keep working towards the end goal while having a product out there. building your audience and getting feedback.
How to Create an MVP?
Now that we’ve been through the whats and whys, let’s get down to business and figure out how exactly to get the first part of your project out to the world. Now, any great entrepreneur will tell you that building a business of great products is not a linear process, but these are some key steps which you’ll have to go through in the process of realizing your vision.
- You need to have an idea. This can be anything. An application, a service, a machine or anything that you think someone may need.
- Make sure that the MVP aligns with your finished product. MVPs can influence what you end up working on a few months or even years down the line. It’s important that if your end goal is transportation, your MVP should align with transportation.
- Identify the specifics of the problem you are trying to solve. This will help when breaking the product down into bite-sized features you can work on.
- Make your development plan. There are many processes for development which can be implemented. Agile development works great with MVPs because it focuses on development in iterations and works with customer’s feedback.
- Make your MVP available to the customers through release and marketing.
- Get customer feedback. This is an important step. It tells you whether you have a good product, if you should stop or if you should pivot on to something else. Some of the greatest products we use today were pivots, so don’t get discouraged.
Examples of MVPs
If you’re still having cold feet about taking the MVP route, take a look at where two companies which you may be familiar with have come from.
The idea for Uber came about when its creators were frustrated with high cab prices. Their original idea was to pair drivers with passengers who needed a ride. These guys had already developed successful businesses and knew that if they started scaling too quickly with an app, the idea would be killed.
In 2009, Uber’s MVP was called UberCab. It worked only on iPhone or via SMS and only operated in San Francisco. The MVP helped to prove that ride sharing had a market. Today Uber is one of the largest companies in Silicon Valley.
Mark Zuckerberg’s main idea for Facebook was to connect people by giving them a platform to share experiences. When he launched the MVP as “theFacebook” it was only available to only Harvard students and nowhere else.
This approach saved Facebook from the pitfalls of other social media platforms where they scaled too fast, spent a lot on development and users weren’t given what they wanted. Eventually “theFacebook” caught on and became big in other Universities. Today Facebook is an integral part of many people’s lives.
In summary, if you’re looking to start a business or launch a product, it’s a good idea to have a Minimum Viable Product. It gives you a feel for what the market is like and attracts feedback that will contribute to future development. If you need help maneuvering any of the steps, contact us, we’ll be happy to help. All the best in making your vision a reality!
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