Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a jargon you cannot live without in the product world. The tricky part is there are many flavours of understanding MVPs and how to make the most of it.
Building 200+ products in the past two decades compelled us to build countless MVPs day-in and day-out. Here are some reflections and observations from that experience 👇
- MVP is not a product. It is a cog in the process of product development. Treats it like a process-in-action.
- Building MVP is iterative and continuous. A large portion of MVP building is all about trail and error. It never gets done.
- Pre-requisite of any MVP is the promise made to the market. It could be in the form of a landing page or a social post or an ad or just your value proposition. MVP is all about accomplishing this commitment in the simplistic form.
- The outcome of any MVP is to understand the speed-wins and fast-fails experientially from the customers.
- Good feedback comes from MVPs that looks neat and tidy. Reid Hoffman's note is misunderstood by most founders. Embarrassment need not be blatant. Do the heavy lifting in the back-end but make the front-end look seamless to your customers.
- The difference between a proof of concept and MVP is viability. MVP helps you check, if the customer is willing to exchange small value in the form of currency with you for the promise you made. In other words, is the need real? Is the customer willing to pay for meeting this need?
- MVP cannot take more than two weeks to build. If it runs into months re-evaluate your MVP specifications. If it just does that one thing you promised that's it. It must have very limited functionality.
- MVP should appeal to your early adopter customers. If you go behind you to-be laggard customer now with MVP, your feedback gathering fails right there.
- Don't do MVP if your industry is highly regulated (insurance, banking, drug trials etc) or your product is a moonshot idea. It doesn't work. 95% of ideas can be made into MVP. 5% is exception.
- The aim of your MVP launch is to get customers (and not just launch it). Learning experientially from customers is easy with an MVP than without.
Building MVP starts with your promise to the market and ends with meeting the promise. Everything that stands in between this process of meeting the promise is a hurdle.
🥂 to MVPs!