Testing a minimum viable product (MVP) is the most cost-effective way to assess market demand and identify aspects of the product or business model to improve before a formal launch. The benefits of launching an MVP include making an early market entry which leads to a competitive advantage and enabling early testing of the idea with actual users so the fully-fledged product integrates their feedback and suggestions.
As opposed to a proof of concept or proof of value initiatives, an MVP should be a functional product that will be purchased and used by real customers. It should be complete enough to get the job done, but early enough that the product manager is embarrassed at launching it. Many mature companies believe MVPs are for startups. They fail to test MVPs because they fear brand damage. Instead, they over-invest and pray that they got the solution and targeting right. This is a lost opportunity. Even companies with significant brand equity can test MVPs under shadow-brands or in secondary markets.
An MVP is not a product, it is a process. The necessary steps before launching an MVP include prototyping, testing and adding functionality in stages.
1. Start with Market Research: Before initiating an MVP development process, validate that it fulfills the target users’ needs.
2. Ideate on Value Addition: Define the value the new product offers its users.
3. Map Out User Flow: Look at the product from the users’ perspective and their business processes.
4. Prioritize MVP Features: Prioritize the critical features that the MVP will support, cut all "nice to have" features.
5. Launch MVP: Build the MVP. Do not sacrifice on quality but keep it as simple as possible to fulfill the customer’s needs.
6. Exercise Build, Measure, Learn (BML): Review all customer feedback thoroughly after launching the MVP and determine how it will guide product development.
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Who is this for?
Seniority level: C-3 (e.g.. product managers), C-4 (technology professionals)
Functions: Operational (e.g., production, maintenance, logistics), Innovation (e.g., R&D, accelerator, CDO)
- Apply lean startup principles to build the right product with a minimal budget in a given time.
- Gain user intelligence and feedback in order to learn what they want to see in the final product.
- A professional MVP launch saves time and money by prioritizing the most important product features.