What is MVP and Why Do You Need It? [All You Need to Know]
Updated · Jul 14, 2022
So you’ve come up with an excellent idea for a product.
Would people buy it? Is it wise to invest in the idea? Will it be profitable?
Let an MVP take care of all these concerns while you concentrate on developing the actual product.
What is MVP, you ask?
Simply put, MVP is a strategy in business with multiple benefits.
Formulating a marketing strategy that calculates and minimizes risks for your business is easy! Find out what is minimum viable product, and you can get a head start.
The product development process involves monetary investment, allocation of human resources, and considerable time and effort. Let’s break it down into a simple cause-and-effect scenario.
- Cause: You implement MVP strategies to collect valuable customer feedback.
- Effect: Customers find your product to be really useful. Your company secures ample revenue from your market release.
Eager to transform your business plan to suit the MVP model? Let's explore the concept in further detail.
What Is MVP?
The Minimum Viable Product refers to the simplest version of a product. MVPs are released early to the market. Companies frequently do it to collect maximum customer feedback before showing their finished products.
The term MVP was coined by Frank Robinson, but it was popularized by Eric Ries. He is responsible for formulating the Lean startup approach in the production cycle.
An MVP should have minimal features, yet be potent enough to have a competitive edge in the market. It’s circulated among prospective buyers. Then they answer certain questions like:
- Would they use it?
- What improvements would they like to see?
- What are its drawbacks?
- Are there any additional features they’d want?
An MVP release is a crucial step in marketing. Based on customer insights, developers can achieve a lot, like:
- minimizing errors
- excluding obsolete features
- adding other functionalities to enhance usability.
As suggested by Ries, this strategy also enables entrepreneurs to locate their targeted customer base and learn more about it.
Types of MVPs
Choosing the MVP plan for your business is as important as creating the actual MVP. Before choosing, you must clearly understand two things: your business goals and the available resources.
You’ll find a variety of MVP models based upon different approaches. The best three are:
The Flintstone MVP or The Wizard of Oz
The Flintstone MVP is another concept popularized by Eric Ries. The core functionalities are offered by way of manual operation. But users feel as if they were automated through AI. Once the customer affirms the usability of the products or services offered, the developers can work on the actual delivery.
The Single-Feature MVP
This kind of MVP model is an exercise in scalability. It delivers core functions effectively. Companies target customers to test the most significant product features. This may lead to further innovations based on their feedback.
The Concierge MVP
The Concierge method involves direct communication with clients. Doing this enables developers to expand the product’s functionalities.
Moreover, unlike the Flintstone approach, a real person is manning the demonstration. There is no automation.
What Is the Purpose of a Minimum Viable Product?
At the outset, the primary purposes for designing a Minimum Viable Product are:
The purpose of an MVP is to gather customer insights. You don’t want to release a product that won’t sell. Showing users a demo of sorts minimizes risks. If the reception of your MVP is not great, you’ll know not to invest resources.
Does The MVP release add another stage in the product development chain? Yes.
Does that step involve money and time? Also, yes.
But it will save you future headaches.
A minimum viable product returns validated knowledge about customers’ specific needs. This feedback can help developers mold the product accordingly. You can always boost the product quality in select areas of weakness based on the MVP users’ input. Minimum value products simply help companies to build high-quality products.
The MVP marketing strategy enables companies who have entered the market with minimal budget-backup to generate some revenue early on. This is also a way to attract investors to the business.
Fostering Customer Relationships
Each MVP release places a semblance of power in customers’ hands. This helps to build a lasting community of users for when the final product is to be released. The success determines whether the pre-launch user base is to transform into a verified customer base.
Minimum viable products help companies capitalize on resources, hard work, revenue, and time.
What Is MVP in Software Development?
Building robust, and usable software is every developer’s dream. Without user intelligence and frequent testing, however, the dream can only go so far.
So, what is a minimum viable product in this context?
A key point to remember while designing MVP in software development is scalability.
The MVP model must not be a one-time-launch effort; you need to release often with enhanced functionalities. The idea is that it should serve as a basis for innovation and improvement till your software is ready for release.
Owing to its flexibility, minimum viable products can take any form in the software industry. For instance, an MVP can take many shapes:
- a beta testing app
- a physical product
- a landing page
- a program
- a simple webpage.
To further understand the significance of the MVP phase, let’s consider some examples of popular software that have benefitted from this approach:
This is the 2007 story of San Francisco-based designers, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. They built an inspiring MVP in the form of a simple website. The site displayed pictures of their apartment to identify a possible demand for rooms on rent. They were able to attract customers who were mostly attendees of meetings and conferences nearby.
In 2008, the Airbnb website came out with additional features. Chesky and Gebbia built upon their MVP model to make the renting service software what it is today - a $30 billion company.
In 2006, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon were on the lookout for a free music streaming service. The service would drive revenue from advertisements.
The market was flooded with similar services but only Spotify emerged as the winner. Why is that? It’s because Ek and Lorentzon were able to minimize expenses with the help of a single-feature MVP. They offered users a desktop app with just one core feature: music streaming.
Later on, after Spotify proved to be a success among users, they added the option of a paid premium membership. In it, users could stream music without ads.
The MVP development of Dropbox is perhaps the most daring. This is because the founders Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston did not go through the hassle of building an app. They didn't even build the supporting hardware. All they did was release an explainer video that outlined the workings of Dropbox - an MVP plan that attracted a million sign-ups.
The backstory of Dropbox features a simple, yet convincing MVP stage. It achieved a twofold target - conservation of time, and expansion of revenue.
It’s common knowledge that Groupon revolutionized the coupons market of the ’90s. But the software had a humble beginning in the form of an MVP that was simply a WordPress website. Customers could browse for vouchers and coupons on the site, which they would receive via email.
This form of a business MVP attracted big investors. Initially, however, the developers did the signing up with retailers and investors themselves. That’s because they tested the market first.
Several other booming software began their journeys with MVP models, including:
MVP Software Development Methods
Ready to implement an MVP phase in your software development process?
But which of the two popular MVP software development approaches should you adopt?
We’re here to help you with that too!
Agile and Waterfall are terms used frequently in the startup jargon and with good reason. Let us quickly go over the prominent features of both.
The Waterfall Method
The MVP software development process is linear: ideation>design>coding>testing.
Each new stage begins only after the previous one ends.
The final vision of the product is decided between the developers and customers in the early planning stages.
The Agile Method
The Agile method stands for rapid application development with customer intervention happening in the early stages.
The goal is to do an MVP programming of the software with functional components. This allows for rapid delivery to users.
Each step of the software development is prioritized according to customers’ preferences.
To Sum it Up
The Waterfall technique is better suited for big MVP projects or small projects that are highly specific. Agile works best for software serving diverse purposes.
If you're designing a minimum viable product software with a sharp focus on details, Waterfall is better. It permits repeated checks on the design before the final launch.
If your MVP software is open to innovation based on iterative testing, however, choose Agile. It is more customer-oriented.
Ultimately, it all depends on the product.
Product Development Stages
Now that you know what a minimum viable product is, let’s break it down to see the exact place of the MVP in the production process.
The journey from the business idea to the actual product delivery is a multi-leveled process. It consists of such components as ideation, design, prototyping, MVP development, and release.
The right business development plan determines whether your product will make it big or die out. To stand out in the retailing scene, you can use a range of nifty tools that are on offer to help you strategize the best plan for your enterprise.
New product production is a step-by-step process that features:
- Planning a new product
- Conducting research
- Preparation and development
- Evaluation through testing
- Market release
Below you’ll see the entire product roadmap, which will help you understand the MVP meaning in business.
Ideation and Conceptualization
Following market research on the viability of the envisioned product, the team will start brainstorming. The group weighs market risks, identifies investors, tries to estimate the pricing of the final product, etc. Additionally, they define the core utilities and auxiliary functions.
This is a crucial stage in the product development process. Some companies also use the SWOT analysis to rule out errors.
Proof of Concept
Developing a proof of concept helps to depict your product’s feasibility, and to justify its need in the market, following necessary research. A proof of concept can be a demo, a document, etc. to showcase to investors and stakeholders that your product has promise. Unlike the MVP products, this is the very early stage of your idea’s realization.
The PoC stage is especially vital for software development and startups because it enables the early detection of design flaws. The PoC also attracts funding for projects and minimizes risk based on market predictions.
Companies often develop a prototype of the final product for testing the market. A prototype is an early version that might have some functional flaws. Despite that, it’s released to users to give them a look and feel of the final stage. Customers also identify the areas that need improvement. Once the prototyping stage returns meaningful test results, developers can move on to the MVP phase.
A minimum viable product enters the market with just enough functionalities to attract users. It invites feedback and criticisms, allowing developers to improve the final version.
Companies implement the MVP stage to gauge customer interest in the product, which also offers them insights on pricing.
What is MVP in the product development process, though?
Well, in this context, the minimum viable product operates by refining the prototype. Developers design the MVP by removing bugs and defunct features of the prototype.
This is the final step in the product life cycle and it marks the launch and sale.
After the MVP has proved to be a success, the project is further monetized and the final version is prepared. Entrepreneurs often hire a marketing team to draw up an effective sales strategy. Following the product launch, companies can choose to expand the scope of their services based on iterative responses from users.
To sum up, a minimum viable product is a basic version of the final product. Companies with efficient marketing strategies frequently release minimum viable products to collect customer insights. MVP is an essential component in business because it cuts down financial risks and drives revenue.
More importantly, an MVP stage boosts the creativity and productivity of a team.
If you’re out to build innovative products and foster a loyal customer base, then designing minimum viable products is the most cost-efficient way to do it.
What does minimum viable product mean?
How do you create an MVP?
- Identifying market needs and business goals
- Surveying competitors and drawing up targets
- Selecting the most suitable MVP model (Concierge/Wizard of Oz/Single-feature)
- Describing the user flow
- Defining the MVP features
- Building the actual MVP
What is the difference between prototype and MVP?
If I was asked to describe myself using just a few words, I’d go with digital marketing expert, ex-cook, tech nerd, and dog lover. I’m fascinated by video and board games, art and nature. I love to travel and I’m always ready to go on the next adventure to discover the hidden beauty of our world.
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