Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Definition, Examples & How to Build in 5 Steps

minimum viable product

A minimum viable product (MVP) may become your business’ safe boat, especially for those in their early stages. Many startups failed as they spent resources on making products no one wanted. According to CB Insights, 42% of startups failed due to a lack of market need.

So, how can an MVP drive your business success? Find out with us now!

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, is a basic product with enough features to provide consumers with the necessary solutions. It is a product development strategy with the minimum resources required to test the market and validate a product idea.

Here’s how you can break it down to make it practical.

What do you think the market needs: Assuming potential customers need more features than necessary is common, and what’s more, there are features they need that you’re not even aware of yet. This results in partial overlap with…

What your market actually needs: This includes all the features that your customers would ever need to solve using your product. Crucial and nice-to-have features are all packed in here. Often, not even your customers know which features they need. That’s why you need to work hard to uncover them.

What you can afford to build:

You can’t give an infinite amount of resources to spend on a product Your customers need both crucial as well as nice-to-have features and that puts you in control. You can decide to focus on building the crucial features and spend less money.

For startups, especially those in high-tech industries like software development, an MVP serves as a crucial tool for success. By launching an MVP, companies can test their product idea with a small group of early adopters, gather feedback, and improve it before making significant investments.

Why build an MVP?

Building an MVP offers several advantages.:

  • Allow startups to validate their idea with limited resources.
  • Help businesses avoid investing time and money into developing a product that may not have a market need.
  • Enable businesses to gather feedback and make necessary adjustments before launching a full-fledged product.

Several well-known companies, such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Uber, launched their products as MVPs and used customer feedback to refine and improve their offerings. This demonstrates how an MVP is valuable for startups and established businesses alike.

Types of Minimum Viable Products

MVPs can be classified into two categories: low-fidelity and high-fidelity MVPs.

  • Low-fidelity MVPs: a basic step to identifying the demand for your idea. They are quick and cost-effective options to test the core features of the product and gather user feedback
  • High-fidelity MVPs: more advanced, and aim to analyze how much people are willing to pay for your product. High-fidelity MVPs are more expensive and time-consuming to create as they are a closer representation of the final product, but they help businesses get more detailed feedback from users.
minimum viable product

How to Build an MVP in 5 Steps

Now that we know exactly why we created it, let’s begin the design process. We have identified the 5 crucial steps in building a Minimum Viable Product, so let’s explore them further

1. Validate the problem

  • Do people have the problem you’re trying to solve?
  • And is that problem actually worth solving?

Hypothesis building: To make the most of your investment, it’s crucial to validate the problem the MVP aims to solve. This starts by building a hypothesis from your idea.

If you’ve never done it before, this template from Tim Herbig can be super helpful.

Data collection: Afterward, direct your attention toward collecting both quantitative and qualitative data to validate your hypothesis. However, be wary of these common pitfalls.

Firstly, don’t ask friends or family. No matter how good their intentions are, they’ll try to be supportive and give you a false validation that doesn’t apply to other potential customers.

Secondly, don’t assume that your ideas and intuitions are correct. You are not your customer. Instead, actively try to poke holes in your ideas, prove yourself wrong, and invalidate your hypotheses.

And what you need is people who ask tough questions.

You can find these people through forums, social media groups (Facebook, LinkedIn), communities (Reddit, IndieHackers, GrowthHackers, etc.), or review platforms (Amazon, TrustPilot, Yelp, Google Places, etc.),…

What you should get after this validation stage:

  • A clear hypothesis that’s been either validated or invalidated.
  • A few conclusions about what your customers truly want, what motivates them to act, who influences them, how they make decisions
  • A buyer persona based on your own research and the data you gathered.
  • Your customers’ journey, is defined step by step, from the moment they realize they have a problem to the point where they solve that problem.
  • A list of actionable ideas of how to make it easier for your customers to accomplish their goals by focusing on high-friction areas in their journey.

2. Create the development plan

Outline the steps in your action plan and agree on the best way to execute. Includes:

Roadmap: Begin by outlining a roadmap that details the key milestones and objectives that you want to achieve with your Minimum Viable Product.

This roadmap should prioritize the most critical features and functionalities that you want to include in your MVP and outline a timeline for development.

Set of features: Determine the core set of features that will make up your MVP. Your MVP should include only the most essential features that will allow your users to accomplish their goals.

This will help you to develop and launch your product quickly while keeping development costs low.

Metrics to track performance: Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you to measure the success of your product, such as user engagement, retention, and conversion rates.

Use these metrics to make data-driven decisions about the development of your MVP.

Read more: Whole Product Concept & Technology Adoption Life Cycle: Guideline to Win the Market

3. Build your product

Demonstrate how the system works and what you can achieve with your resources. Includes:

Wireframes: This visual representation of your product will help you to identify potential design issues and ensure that your product is user-friendly.

User Flow Diagrams: These allow you to map out the steps that a user will take when using your product, how they will interact with your product, and identify areas for improvement.

User Stories: User stories are short descriptions of the features and functionalities that your product will offer. They help you to define the scope of your MVP and ensure that you are prioritizing features that deliver the most value to your users.

Business Rules: These define the logic that governs how your product will operate, which helps you ensure the product is consistent and that users have a seamless experience.

Prototype: A prototype is a working model of your product that allows you to test its functionality and identify any issues before launch.

4. Feedback gathering & Improvement

User feedback, both from stakeholders and end-users, can provide valuable insights and help you identify opportunities for improvement.

  • Feedback collection & analysis
  • Bug fixing & improvements prioritization
  • New version release that packs user feedback

5. Focus on the main features

Learn when to stop adding features before deciding your MVP is launch-ready.

Decide on Irreducible Complexity: Identify the core set of features that are essential for your MVP to function that cannot be removed. Focus on refining them to ensure that they are as effective as possible.

Focus on Being the Most Effective: Instead of trying to include as many features as possible, focus on being the most effective at what your product does.

This means prioritizing the features and functions that deliver the most value to your users and optimizing them for maximum impact.

Align with User Expectations: Your MVP should deliver on the promises that you have made to your users. This means ensuring that your product is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and meets the needs of your target audience.

How Enosta can help accelerate your product?

If you need a reliable partner to speed up your product to market, we’re here to help.

At Enosta, our integrated digital solutions cover your whole product development lifecycle, from ideation, and development, to launch and scale-up, guiding your business through the entire process.

Partner with us to accelerate your progress. Let’s talk!

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