Every business starts with an innovative person’s revolutionary idea; a concept that they feel like would create breakthroughs and change the way the world works. More often than not, however, these people do not have the right tools to be able to execute these ideas to become a firm product. This is where the construction of a Minimum Viable Product comes in.
What is the purpose of an MVP?
The essence of constructing an MVP is to explore the waters and test things out. In the words of Eric Ries, a minimum viable product is a version of a new product that allows businesses to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. The reason why MVP exists is because people do not like the idea of hastily spending excessive amounts of money and resources on something that’s still a prototype only to realize that it actually didn’t solve a problem at all.
The job of the MVP is to minimize the spending but to the point that many businesses are still able to make their idea function with essential feedback from customers as quick as possible. Now, when they have gathered the necessary input and data possible, they can work gradually towards improving this MVP and slowly creating the actual finished product.
How to Build a Minimum Viable Product
1. Identify the Problem
It’s important to identify a specific problem that you’re trying to solve. This will then translate to a firm goal on what to do in the progression of your MVP. As a person developing an MVP, it’s necessary to identify the problem to constantly remind you that no matter how complicated the product starts becoming, it still cohesively answers the problem you’ve initially identified.
Many people are sometimes led into the pitfalls of failed MVPs. This is the case when you attach yourself to the solution instead of the problem. Focus on the problem and think of a variety of solutions, not the other way around. Having this mindset would keep you from being distracted from your ultimate goal: to solve your problem and not to glamourize your solution.
2. Find quick and easy ways to solve the problem
A characteristic of an MVP is being simple. With less resources and monetary expenses on the product, it’s important to focus on the more attainable solutions instead of going for the big ones immediately. Instead of thinking big this early on, it’s important to think deeply. Many people put off their MVP because they’re too distracted about their end goal. Find meaning in your MVP and see how it goes as early as it being an MVP. The MVP exists for a reason. Don’t ignore the signs that may potentially be a problem in the further development of your product.
3. Review your competitors
Building an MVP does not necessarily mean you start from scratch. You can build your MVP while at the same time analyzing and studying how well your competitors are doing and begin from there. Maybe you can improve a functionality that they lack, or maybe you can add something completely new to the table. As a surfacing competitor that’s bound to soon compete with other businesses with the same business models, it’s necessary to “be” new, otherwise, customers won’t exactly be interested in your product when they have one that’s just the same.
4. Focus on efficiency over quality
MVPs focus on how the product is used and how convenient it is for the users. To save on resources, quality isn’t at its best and that’s ok. That’s the purpose of MVPs: to try the efficiency of things out before you gradually level up the quality. With MVPs, you get to know how people feel with the product, and not whether this quality is already at its best.
To emphasize, MVPs are not your finished product. Spending unnecessary resources on the quality of a product that’s bound to still be improved is a waste of time.
5. Keep learning about your product
MVPs do not stop at being MVPs. You start improving it and learning more about it. The learning doesn’t stop at when it’s already a working product. Even by then, there are still a lot to learn and improve on to keep up with the pace of the market. Treat every product you have as an MVP that needs constant improvement and levelling-up, even when they’re already of good quality and efficiency. If the learning never stops, the improvement never ceases. Before you know it, you’re already ahead of your competitors.
Interested in learning more? Feel free to explore our Mangtas blog!
For further insights on how to develop an MVP in less than a day, dig deeper into this guide on "How to define an MVP scope in 3 hours" by one of Toptal's top product managers, Phillip Wood.