A minimum viable product is one that’s released for early adopters, with select functionalities. The aim of using a minimum viable product is to gauge audience reaction during the phase of product development. A minimum viable product can help businesses save costs by learning during the product development phase how much success a product is likely to bring.
In the software industry, for example, a minimum viable product is a version of their software that only has certain features available. It helps the software engineers to understand what their audience wants improved upon, as well as what features are working. Using this information, they can then develop the product further. In the same way, a minimum viable product can be used across all industries.
What is a minimum viable product?
In his book, Lean Startup, Eric Reiss describes a minimum viable product as one that allows the team working to develop the product to learn and collect validated responses from users. The minimum viable product definition is that the MVP product is that version of the product that allows employees to learn from user behavior. In addition to this, user feedback is also taken into consideration when learning how to further develop the product.
A minimum viable product can be useful when a business wants to:
- Release a version of the product that has enough value to gain early adopters.
- Test an idea with actual users before committing to a large budget for that idea.
- Learn more about what resonates with the users and what doesn’t.
- Provides user feedback to guide further product development.
What are the benefits associated with a minimum viable Product?
A well-known minimum viable product example is Airbnb. They started out with a concept and used their own apartment as a way to show that their idea could work. They created a website, and soon enough, found people that wanted to rent their apartment. They are today a global business.
In this way, a minimum viable product gives you the opportunity to test out an idea or see how users interact with a certain product in its developmental stages. When developing your MVP, ensure that:
1. The MVP should align with your business objectives
The minimum viable product you release should align with your company’s goals and milestones. That is, through releasing the MVP, your company should gain some important data that can help you reach your business goals. During this stage, you should always consider thinking about what purpose your product will serve.
This will enable you to understand what functionalities you should make available in the MVP version of the product, as well.
2. Identify problems your MVP should solve
When you release your MVP to users, it should aim to solve a certain problem that they are facing. This should provide users with some idea of what they can expect from the product once all its features are enabled. Ideally, you should be able to retain your early adopters.
Consider using user research, as well as market analysis, to learn more about what users are looking for from your product. Providing a limited version of this product will allow users to gain an understanding of whether the product solves their problem or not. You can, in turn, gauge their feedback to further improve and develop your product.
3. Developing an action plan
After poring through user feedback and recommendations, you and your team of employees will have all the information you need to further develop your product. By this time, you should know about your customers’ interest in the product without needing to fully develop the product.
Going ahead, you should make use of the data you’ve gathered from releasing your MPV to develop the full version of the product.
A minimum viable product can help you understand how customers react to the product, which can, in turn, enable you to improve upon the product during the development stage. An MVP with functionalities that solve user problems can also enable you to boost your brand’s name and gain early attention for your product.
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