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What is a Minimum Viable Product?

A minimum viable product (MVP) is the first merchantable version of your product designed with minimal but sufficient features for early adopters. It also validates the assumptions of usability and demand based on which the final product is to be developed. To prevent loss of time, money and expectation, the minimum viable product (MVP) concept can help you figure out what works and what doesn’t. To help you understand more, we will split MVP into three different components:

A. Minimum Yet Sufficient Features

The minimum viable product has to be made with minimum resources but still works properly so that people can truly see the use of it. It should contain minimum yet sufficient features that give your customers the feeling that it is worth it to buy and/or use.

B. Viable

The term viable is of great importance while explaining the definition of Minimum Viable Product as it drastically differentiates an MVP from a prototype. It is essential for a product to be alive and capable of working before being launched as an MVP to validate the assumptions and user expectations.

C. Validate The Assumptions

Entrepreneurs do build their products based on certain assumptions like market, demand, and utility. Meanwhile, an MVP is designed in such a way to validate or invalidate these assumptions based on which the final product is built. The main objective of this development technique is that it assumes that early users can see the vision or promise of the final product and provide the feedback needed to guide developers forward.

What Are The Benefits and Disadvantages of Starting With an MVP?

Benefits:

The major benefit of starting with a minimum viable product before jumping into full app development mode is you can gain a complete understanding of your customers’ interest in your product without fully developing the app. You can find out whether your product will appeal to customers with less effort and expense. App development costs can be overwhelming but you don’t have to spend all the money and time creating a full-featured product that may or may not succeed in the market. In a nutshell, adopting with MVP technique will:

Bring extensive focus towards the product’s core value proposition and efficiency

Reduces consecutive rework

Create relationships with your customers at the very early stage

Reduces your budget exponentially

Disadvantages:

The minimum viable product approach still requires a decent amount of upfront work and effort in order to get reliable customer feedback. It might require consecutive development efforts for various product releases, which demand revisions based on the customer’s feedback. Team agility is a major factor to make your MVP approach successful.

SDI has extensive experience in helping serial entrepreneurs, first-time founders, product owners & existing business owners to build their MVP’s with an agile development approach. Companies like SDI make sure that each product development iteration is driven intelligently to meet your customer’s needs from the beginning.

Some Examples of Successful Minimum Viable Products

Here are some of the companies that got their MVP right and what they did to go on and launch some of the hottest products in the market:

1. Facebook

What the MVP version of Facebook did was connect students together via their college or class and allow them to post messages to their boards. Even though this idea already existed in Friends Reunited and other social platforms, the simplicity, and user-friendly navigation of Facebook’s approach gained huge traction amongst college graduates which proved unstoppable and successful. After this MVP, they tirelessly added features according to user’s feedback and trends that made them an undeniable daily utility app for the users across the globe.

2. Airbnb

Slashing out the middleman and providing the short-term renting option is the key mission statement behind the invention of Airbnb. Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia lived in an apartment in San Francisco and they had difficulties paying their rent. That’s when they decided to give it a try and fulfill one of their dreams to start a business and now Airbnb has grown organically and exponentially. First releasing a simplistic way to list your place and for people to book.

3. Groupon

Vouchers and discounts are pretty old concepts but Groupon took this idea of sharing, socializing, and discounts to new heights. They started their MVP with a simple WordPress website and regular PDFs and emailed them to the early subscribers. The test proved successful, and the company then built its own voucher system and backend, driving it to the success it is today.

4. Zappos

Zappos was founded by Nick Swinmurn who went into shoe retailing with no stock. He just took photos of the shoes that he wanted to sell in stores and if customers ordered them, he then physically purchased and sold them. This proved to be a great way to test a market if you don’t have access to the product, but have an MVP model you think will definitely succeed.

5. Dropbox

Dropbox’s MVP approach goes 1 step further because they didn’t make any product at all. Instead, they pretended they had it by creating an explainer video of the product. It was to check if their file-syncing idea would attract people. They avoided the risk of developing apps, creating infrastructure and investing huge amounts of money. Instead, they revealed their product idea and practically overnight, they attracted over 70,000 people who mounted up with emails and wanted to get the product right away.

What are the Common Mistakes to Avoid When Developing an Minimum Viable Product?

A minimum viable product is a simple concept but often misunderstood by entrepreneurs and business owners. Introducing a new product to the market is very risky. In order to minimize the risk factors, an MVP is created but unfortunately, despite their efforts, some business owners still fail at this stage. Here are 2 common mistakes that you should avoid when developing your MVP:

1. Hiring the Wrong Team

The development team you hire resembles the heart of your MVP. If your hiring decision goes wrong, you will have no chance left to make your idea successful. Hiring an improper and inexperienced team can be an MVP’s downfall since developing a minimum viable product requires a fast-paced team of software developers, business analysts, software designers, and project managers. Also, their accountability plays a major role.

2. Skipping the Prototype Phase

Prototyping aka proof of concept is a major and instrumental phase that helps you focus while you develop an MVP. This is a visual representation of your idea that brings your idea to life and is influential in dispelling any doubts the investors might have about the product. Some of the main features of prototyping include:

Interface architecture: This phase focuses on building the base structure, as well as the information and the interaction foundation of the application you are planning to develop.

Low-fidelity interactive prototyping: This phase includes the development of low-fidelity mockups to map out your application’s information that includes interactive elements.

High fidelity interactive prototyping: This is a visually appealing phase which includes high-fidelity graphic images and will have a lot of interactive elements that allow you to navigate in and around your application.

Production design: This is the final phase of your prototype’s lifecycle. With this phase, the consolidated user feedback will be implemented. To make the transition into development smoother and easier, your prototype’s graphical elements will be prepared for SDLC.

It is sometimes very hard to distinguish what an MVP actually is. To make your road to success smoother and easier, minimum viable product development would be the best approach. Start aligning your customer expectations and business needs today by partnering with the industry experts – SDI by reaching Sakshi Sharma at sakshi@sdi.la or 408.621.8481

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