A minimum viable product is your product prototype which undergoes reiteration till the desired output comes. It is like your safety net for your business and provides you validation or rejection from the market. You get to know the market response to your offer. The M.V.P. stage is one of the most crucial stages in the Lean Startup methodology. It is the quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to assess market response. Startup owners are very particular about their expenses and how much cash flows in and out. Therefore, by following the cheapest route, they can tell whether their product will fail or succeed in the market. An M.V.P. is a product seedling, which carries minimum features of the actual product that primarily answers three main questions:
- Does the target audience need your offer?
- Does the product solve the problem?
- Could it generate sufficient funds or money?
M.V.P. is a minimum, launchable version or the prototype of the actual product which carries the value proposition. Launching the prototype aims to speed up the time to market and obtain product-market fit in the early stages. Apart from these, some other reasons may be to:
- Get attention from the market and investors
- Meet the market needs
- Get a deeper understanding of your territory or domain
- Validate the concept quickly
- See if there is space for low-risk experiments and investments
Steps to Building a Minimum Viable Product
Define the Problem
Before setting off on any journey, designing an experiment, or launching a problem, identify the problem area. Identify what problem you want to address or solve with your product. Jot down the problem and check its feasibility with the help of an M.V.P. When the problem statement is formed, you want to validate it before launching the final product to the audience. It saves resources and tests if there actually is a problem or need. You need to learn whether a problem exists or not because otherwise, you are just shooting arrows in the dark.
Conduct a Thorough Market Research
After formulating the problem statement, you move on to the market research stage. It holds vital importance because it explores different domains and competitors, identifies the target market, and calculates actual market size. The market research gives you a clear picture of your expenses too. One of the fundamental reasons why startups fail is the wrong ideation and assessment of costs due to a lack of market research.
Ideate Value Addition
The organization should ideate value addition in the next step toward M.V.P. development. Focus on the value-adding points which will garner attention and serve the needs. As yourself, these questions:
- How will this value benefit the audience?
- Why will anyone buy your product?
There is only one answer to these questions, and that is a good value proposition. The product must have value in its most basic and raw form to attract the audience for initial use. Building the product on value will give a boost to your M.V.P. In this stage, value-adding features will be outlined.
After deciding upon the main features and value addition, the M.V.P. development phase begins. A minor version of the product is created, but its quality is not cheaper than the actual product. Because the M.V.P. has to fulfill the customer’s requirements, the minimum viable product must be engaging, suitable, and valuable enough for the users to enjoy.
Exercise B.M.L. Approach — Build, Measure, Learn
In the final stage of development, organizations focus on the B.M.L. principle. The build, measure and learn approach works in favor of the M.V.P. process. You build the product, launch it in the market, measure the success rate, and learn from the feedback. That is the complete loop of the B.M.L. approach. Success is the ultimate measure of your performance. Depending upon the feedback, quality assurance teams work on the product quality and reiterate to make improvements. B.M.L.’s approach uses an iteration process where the loop keeps going till the product is perfected.