We get a kickass idea and it’s damn good. So, we start thinking over it, brainstorm with others, create a plot, make slide decks, and all sort of documents. We design the entire thing and build it with the tons of features that are amazingly cool. Then, we finally showcase our prized possession to the world with the hope that people will simply go crazy for it. But people didn’t…
Where have we missed the mark with this extremely wonderful product? Has the big hype subsided or the need is vanished or competitors have launched similar products before us? What we could have done about it?
Instead of waiting months in developing and perfecting the product, we should have built a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to get an early feedback and find out if we are going on the right track.
What’s an MVP?
Eric Ries, the father of MVP, talked about it for the first time in his best-selling book, “Lean StartUp”, as a way to get a critical feedback in the early stages of product development.
“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.”
‘Build-measure-learn’ feedback loop is a core component of Lean Startup methodology in which the first step is to learn about the problem that needs to be solved and then build an MVP that solves this core problem for customers and has a basic list of features, enough to grab attention of early adopters.
The early adopters are usually forgiving and give thorough feedback that can be used to measure the usability of product and also to learn about the new requirements. Based on the feedback, MVP is fine-tuned to finally create a product that everyone wants.
Are we going right? Better check before it’s too late
MVP enables a product to evolve in the right direction, aligning entrepreneur’s vision with the end user’s expectations. Developers and designers stuck with an idea and they want to work on it until they perfect it. But the fairy tale bubble bursts as soon as the product makes a debut in the real world. Products are built for customers and not to satisfy the creative. MVP allows you to find out how people react to a product, what they want and what is irrelevant for them.
Product idea remains the same with MVP, but getting an early feedback gives product team, a chance to improve it before exhausting more money and time into it. MVP also helps entrepreneurs in finding a unique selling point of their product through the eyes of an end user, which may be completely different from their early vision of the product. It’s not just a process to get feedback, but also helps in generating interest in the product.
Over the years, the term MVP has been widened to include any smallest thing that you can build to find early feedback. Many MVP mutants pop-up every day in the market, they range from product teasers, landing pages, an explanatory video of a new software, or wireframes on kickstarter website.
MVPs are ideal for an awesome, but riskiest idea
Rajesh Kumar, founder of INKONIQ, UX driven product engineering company, has an advice for start-ups,
“MVP doesn’t mean cutting down the features to fit into a timeline, the focus should be able to test the absolute core of the idea, minus the bells and whistles. MVP time-frame could be 3, 6 months or an year, it will be solely based on the type of the product we are looking for.
We’ve worked with many startups in terms of budget planning, lean UX approach, technology recommendations to take product quickly to the market and get feedback from the customers to learn and iterate. I suggest, all startups should take this approach to nurture unique ideas into successful products. We worked closely with the startups and enterprises as a partner and it’s much less of client vendor relationship.”
In the nutshell, you don’t have to burn your money on a product that has no value for target user. Instead, think hard on how to create a minimal version of product and give your product idea, a market test run. It’ll help you wipe out the biggest risk, give you a sense of your target audience and create a product that everyone loves.