Before we start let me tell you what this article is all about. It speaks about how minimal a MVP should be. But before I talk about the core point, allow me to tell what actually a MVP or Minimum Value Product is.
“A minimum viable product is a technique using which a specimen of the real product which has just enough features is launched into the market to get a feedback from early adopters. It is just like testing the temperature of water by putting a finger carefully before entering the swimming pool.”
Now coming to the point we started with. I’ve seen a number of start-ups creating a Minimum Viable Product to enter the first version of their product into the market quickly. While I do believe that this is a great way to test a product in a cost effective manner, there have been too many cases where the MVP is too minimalist. There is a fine line separating cost-effective from too minimalist to launch. Another thing that start-ups need to focus on is finding their sweet spot in a time efficient manner – something that not many are able to achieve. They either spend too much time in developing a product and miss out on a business opportunity or send out an incomplete product that has many issues that need to be resolved. So how can start-ups know that their MVP is ready to hit the market? This article which I read recently captures some of the salient features quite effectively. Here are a few things worth considering to decide if your MVP is ripe for launch.
Judge your product on the basis of its problem solving capability and not on its gamut of features alone. Develop the basic framework and then add more features along the way that can solve real problems faced by real consumers.
Identify the goal of your launch. If you want a paying customer for your MVP, you need to roll out a polished product. If you want feedback then a pre-MVP announcement that outlines the product features and a with a ‘Sign me up’ page should suffice. You can collect information on why people want to use your product and also determine what their current solution is. This can help you take a targeted approach to product development.
Identify a group of users who are focused on fixing the same problem as you. You can source valuable and unbiased feedback from this group and make the necessary improvements. Address feedback continuously to ensure that your product succeeds in front of a larger audience.
Keep the focus on the minimum amount of work you need to do to test a hypothesis and learn the result. Focus on testing only a small subset since you do not essentially need to develop every feature of your product all at once.
Focus on launching your MVP in front of a handful of people instead of having a gigantic launch. The idea is to test the viability of the product in the field and learn fast from potential mistakes.
Identify the key focus of your product and develop that one feature perfectly. That one feature has to solve your target audience’s pain point to precision. Even though MVP means feature reduction, it has to ensure that there are no bugs in the minimum functionality of the product.
Ideally, spending a month on developing the first iteration of your MVP is good enough. Anything more than that means you are building too much into the product at this stage.
Finally, ask yourself, “Is this my greatest work”? Taking shortcuts will get your product out faster but can eventually cost you a great deal and not just in terms of the finances.