It refers to the Minimum Viable Product, also known as MVP.
We will define it as the most basic thing you can build to test the value you offer to the customer. We will develop enough features to satisfy and understand early adopters.
Sometimes, the MVP can be just one piece of all the other features you have in mind for the final product.
The final set of features is only designed and developed after taking into account feedback from the initial users of the MVP.
The “textbook” definition
A stricter definition of the MVP is the one defined by Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and the first to use this term as:
“A Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product that allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least amount of effort.”
Over time it was simplified to: “The smallest thing you can build that allows you to quickly perform the loop of: Build – Measure – Learn”.
Although it is true that the simplified definition can be misinterpreted to mean that the loop is the MVP. It should be made clear that the MVP would only be the first part of building, and especially the first time when you are going to bring your product to light.
The Main Objective of the MVP
The main objective of a MVP is, first and foremost, to validate the value we offer to the customer.
It is one of the most crucial phases of your startup. You have to have all the main points well identified to build a first solution, that you can show or deliver to the customer, and validate with them if it brings the value you thought or, on the contrary, you have to rethink the model because it is not as interesting as you thought.
The Phases to Create a Good PMV
The Build – Measure – Learn loop we were talking about is the experiment. It has to start with a set of assumptions or hypotheses, which have to be tested. We also have to clearly define what we want to analyze and measure the outcome of the experiment based on this.
The offer serves to test interest in your solution before building it and should come before the PMV.
Interviews, landing pages, smoke-tests, or crowdfunding pages are examples of different types of offers you can use in this phase. The offer is used both to test customer attraction and to refine the initial specifications of the product (or minimum viable product).
Only if your offer is validated, then you give yourself permission to build a MVP.
Key features of a minimum viable product or MVP
- It has enough value for people to be willing to use or buy it initially.
- Provides enough future benefits to retain early adopters.
- Feeds back into the Build – Analyse – Learn loop to guide future development.
The development team will not waste time on anything more than the minimum, and will build all other features over time as it assesses customer desires and preferences as they begin to use the product.
Be clear that the product may change dramatically or even be abandoned. It will be the feedback from the so-called early adopters, those users who will consume it at the very beginning, that will define the future of the project. Therefore, development teams will not waste any resources (effort, time, money, advertising) on a product that nobody really wants, needs or likes.