What is MVP

What is MVP?

A Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, is the test version of a product or service with a minimal set of functions - sometimes even just one - that brings value to the end user. MVPs are created to test hypotheses and the viability of the intended product, as well as how valuable and in-demand it will be on the market.

The results from testing the minimum viable product combined with feedback from the target audience provide insight as to whether it is worth continuing the project’s development, as well as help determine what strategy changes need to be made and what should be left as-is.

MVPs are used for

  • Testing product hypotheses at minimal cost
  • Faster gathering of the information required to create a solution
  • Saving development time
  • Rapidly delivering a product that solves at least one problem to early adopters

The difference between MVP and prototyping

Two approaches are used to validate business hypotheses in product development: prototyping and MVP. There are fundamental differences between these two approaches.

1. The Purpose of an MVP

A prototype’s purpose is to make sure that a product can be created using available resources. It demonstrates to those who make the development decisions that the concept is viable. An MVP is a bare-bones version of the product whose functionality allows you to receive feedback and learn from the market.

2. Target Audience

Prototypes are intended for small audiences - usually the interested parties. MVPs are made for significant groups of clients.

3. Presentation

A prototype can be a presentation, a video, or an application; that is, it can be presented in any visual form. With an MVP, production is already being launched. It is a product ready for use.

4. Further Development

A prototype has fulfilled its purpose once it has successfully presented a product. A viable MVP is the first version of a product, and therefore will continue to be developed and improved.

Another concept that is sometimes confused with a minimum viable product is the PoC (Proof of Concept). A PoC describes the processes for determining the technical viability of an application or other product. In other words, the PoC describes the initial stage of product development, which is then implemented to create a minimum viable product.

Examples of companies that have successfully used an MVP

The Spotify MVP was launched in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Laurentson with a single feature - music streaming. Today, their product is used around the world, collaborates with major recording studios and is valued at $21 billion.

In 2008, Airbnb allowed the project’s founders to rent out their apartment. The experiment showed that the service was in demand, and today it is one of the largest sites for finding short-term rental housing.

Groupon sells vouchers and coupons. During its creation phase, the site, which was made with WordPress, was aimed at sending presentations and proposals in pdf format. After testing a number of releases, the team of authors expanded its set of features.

The first version of the streaming service Twitch aired episodes of the show “Justin.TV”. The product only appealed to a small number of users and had poor sound and image quality, but the sample was enough to determine a strategy for further development. Today, the service specializes in broadcasting computer games and eSports tournaments.

Buffer is an application designed to help users manage their social media accounts and make scheduled posts. During the development phase, the feature set was severely limited. Feedback from early users was helpful in testing the program, identifying shortcomings, and adding the required functions.

Tips for Implementing an MVP in Your Business

Developing and releasing an MVP is an important milestone in business development. It helps you identify the product’s strengths and eliminate flaws that can alienate your target audience. An MVP can also keep you from accruing large losses in case the project fails.

To develop and implement an MVP, you need to do the following:

  • Research the market and identify competitors. You should know the market share occupied by other companies so you can assess the competitiveness of your own product.
  • Analyze competitor projects. When creating an MVP, user experience with other products should be accounted for in order to better assess the demand for a new idea on the market.

A project’s future development depends on the quality of preparation:

  1. Determine the product’s basic purpose. Its usefulness should be considered during development, otherwise, launching a minimum viable product on the market will not provide insight into the demand.
  2. Narrow your target audience. A large number of potential users can lead to conflicting feedback and make it difficult to find the best ways to refine your idea. Developers should create a generalized portrait of the target customer who will benefit from the product.
  3. Develop a product promotion strategy. You need to identify the advantages and disadvantages of the product at this stage.
  4. Describe the client's journey from searching to acquiring the MVP.
  5. Determine the features that will be implemented in the MVP. To do this, you can conduct 20-40 interviews with potential customers. Too many features in the testing phase can complicate development, increase audience feedback, and make it difficult to analyze information.
  6. Run alpha testing for a closed group of users. Based on the results of the test, identify weaknesses, make adjustments, and then launch a beta test with third-party clients.
  7. Get feedback and analyze information. If serious flaws are found, the MVP development cycle will need to be repeated.

Learn more about how long does it take to create a mobile app.

Next term