Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, is a product management concept that works great when bringing a new product to market.
The essence of MVP is to deliver the bare minimum functionality that will accomplish the need you are trying to fill for your users.
If you were to itemize each feature of your app, ask yourself, “Could my users still get value from my product without this?” If the answer is yes, minimum viable product says to cut that feature from the initial scope.
This may sound extreme, but the practice of MVP causes you to think hard about what it is your users actually NEED and what functionality is important vs. fun, cool or nice to have.
Creating an MVP product does not mean you won’t ever add in those nice-to-have features. It just means in your first release, you are laser-focused and prioritize what is truly important. In later releases, once you get user acceptance and feedback, you can decide what is the next best set of features for your product.
The Benefits of MVP
Here are just a few of the benefits that an MVP approach will offer your product development initiative:
1. Quicker to Market
Who doesn’t want to launch their product sooner than later? The great thing about an MVP approach is that you are developing and delivering less functionality out of the gate. This means you can get the product in the hands of your users sooner and cheaper than if you went for the all the bells and whistles.
2. A Clear Product Focus
An MVP approach forces you to find clarity. Your product could solve a lot of problems for a lot of people. We are wired as humans to add stuff in and do more, rather than to simplify and strip away.
By adding in lots of functionality, it’s easy to lose focus on the specific problem you are trying to solve. It is easier to be successful by solving one problem and solving it well than to be average in several things.
Challenge yourself to get clear. Clarity drives a strong product and a strong message to your users.
3. You Learn What Your Customer Wants
By releasing an MVP, you set yourself up for learning what the customer wants. We all think we understand our users, but the truth is, we don’t. A minimum viable product allows you to not waste time guessing and to truly find out.
Once you put an MVP product in the hands of your users, they will tell you what is missing and hence, what is important to them. Based on their feedback, you can prioritize your next set of features and hit your target.
Consider adopting the philosophy “aim small, miss small” in your next product launch. Get laser focused on who your user is, the primary problem you are trying to solve, and the fewest features needed to provide value. Then create a product that does exactly that.
Let your users guide you to the next step until you better understand what their true needs are.
The Checklist For Sharing Your Software Vision
Before you get started in developing your software app, your thoughts and ideas should be clarified and written down so they can be consistently and easily shared and understood. To help you get started on the right foot, we have created a checklist.
You can grab a copy of that checklist below and share it with your team!