Based on Eric Ries description MVP is defined as:
A minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
So in simple words, MVP is the smallest thing that can be built which quickly can be showcased to the customer, gather feedback and then rebuild the product again. This ensures that our customers know what exactly you’re developing. After all, why would you want to waste effort building out a product without knowing if it’s actually worth it?
The difference over here is that we invest less time and money and focus more on one particular functionality to implement the product and verify if the customers like the product. This way we can ensure that we and our customers are on the same page and ward off confusion at quite an early stage.
So how do you go ahead and create your MVP find out that unique value your product is going to provide to the customers and try creating it?
For example, if your main motive is travelling from one place to another what do you think is important?
The picture is self-explanatory, it also indicates resulting products from different iterations.
Guidelines to create an MVP (in 90 days)
(1) Capture goals.
- Understand what your product does or what kind of problem it solves.
- Define the main goal which must be fulfilled and shown to a customer. Example: Your main aim is to build a merchandize app.
(2) Sketch the main process.
- Identify the main flow of your product.
- The idea here is to think less about the product and focus more on the tasks. For example, if your product is to build a merchandize app, you’ll focus on the functionalities like: customize a product, buy a product, and manage orders.
(3) Identify the list of features for every stage.
- Find out all the features which will help solve a customer his/her problem.
- Be as creative as possible.
For example: if you want to customize a product. What are the features?
Think about the shapes, the colors and so on.
(4) Prioritize the features.
Ask these questions and identify the important features.
- How often and if the users will use this feature?
- What value will it bring to the customer?
- Is it risky?
Based on these, rearrange your features into high priority, low priority and remove features which won’t add any value.
(5) Define the MVP
Once you’ve prioritized your features, it’s time to build your MVP.
Take a sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line in the center.
On the upper half note down all the features which are a “needed” and on the other half write down the features which would be more of a “nice to have”.
The features placed on the upper half represent our Minimum Viable product and the rest are extra features which could be incorporated in the long run.
This is how one must define the scope of their minimum viable product. Now we have an exact idea about the overall vision, purpose and functionality of our product. Thus it makes us easier to answer the question as to why we are building this product.
What comes next is the story mapping. Over here we go horizontally and try and build the most basic functionality for our product. In this way we can build the basic MVP quicker and we can give it to the customers and get a feedback from them.
Note that you could also draw rough interactive wireframes and give your clients an idea about the product you’re developing. Based on client feedback you can go back and change your features in your MVP and produce another version of MVP in the next iteration.
(6) Build the actual MVP
- Start wire framing, this is an easy way to show your customer about how your product will look like.
- Choose the best tool and language which will help you release your product fast.
- Choose the right platform for your product (desktop, mobile app)
- Start small, gain some confidence, get feedback and revise your product.
Lean startups are a great way for new entrepreneurs to start off with and avoid mistakes entrepreneurs make.
“The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration.”
So here’s how a Lean Startup methodology helps you build an MVP:
- Lean Startups focus is built on the measure-learn feedback loop.
- An MVP is built as soon as possible, so that the learning process begins quickly.
- After this the startup works on tuning the product by learning and by gaining continuous feedback from customers.
Therefore, MVP is the right way to create an app at an early stage and then showcase it to your potential customers. With the help of Lean Startups one can eliminate uncertainty, work smarter, focus on validated learning i.e research what the customer wants, learn from the market and build what’s needed. Also, we create newer versions of the app based on customer feedback in different iterations and thus create room for improvising the product. This is the best way for you to understand if your idea is actually worth investing time and money and avoid common mistakes.
It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, with the help of Lean Startups one can avoid the common mistakes entrepreneurs make. MVP is a great way to attract potential investors and customers who would love to buy your product.
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