What is the significance of a minimum viable product? in product development

Writen by Ravi Reddy

March 15, 2021

Definition and concept of a MVP in product development

A minimum viable product is a concept, which was developed by the author of Lean Startup, Eric Ries. Ries defines it as “that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learnings about customers with the least effort.” For businesses, using an MVP is an excellent way to gather information about customer perceptions and reactions, gauge levels of interest and collect and utilize feedback to make improvements before a product is fully developed. Putting a minimum viable product in front of a group of consumers can help you determine whether or not buyers will purchase the item. One of the most beneficial aspects of utilizing an MPV in the product design and development process is gaining an insight into how the customer responds to the product. Watching and observing and collecting feedback offers much more depth than simply asking people questions based on a product they cannot see in the flesh or use. A minimum viable product can take many guises, from a basic version of a tangible product to a digital product, such as a landing page or an app.

The constituents of a minimum viable product

A minimum viable product is not the same as a prototype, and it is designed to provide a deeper insight into how customers react to different designs and gauge the level of demand. Creating a minimum viable product builds on the initial ideas generated to produce a prototype to offer customers the chance to see the actual product and explore its features. To produce a minimum viable product, it’s beneficial to follow these steps:

  • Brainstorming and generating ideas. Researching the market. Establishing the purpose of the product. 
  • Working with designers, developers and an innovation partner to turn sketches and ideas into a viable, functional product.
  • Designing and testing the prototype.
  • Developing the prototype and choosing which features to include in your MVP. 
  • Showcasing your minimum viable product and gathering feedback.
  • Utilizing feedback to modify the product.

The value of an incremental deliverable to a client or end user

Many brands and businesses utilize minimum viable products. If you have an effective strategy in place, there are several benefits. These include:

  • Clear goals and objectives: to create an MVP, you need to identify clear objectives and product goals from the early stages of development. Being focused from the outset can help you pinpoint targets, streamline your strategy, budget effectively and save you from wasting time and energy. 
  • Establishing relationships with customers: trialing products is a fantastic way to build stronger relationships with customers and increase the chances of creating a community of buyers. If your customers trust you and vice versa, the arrangement is mutually beneficial. Your clients will provide you with accurate, useful feedback and you will take it on board to offer them an improved product.
  • Identify and address weaknesses and problems: one of the most significant advantages of a minimum viable product is the opportunity to learn more about potential weaknesses and address them before the product enters the mass market. By using an MVP to test the waters, you can ensure that your product works before you move any further. 
  • Spending and saving: launching a product is always a risk, and it involves spending money. Using a minimum viable product, whether it’s an item you can touch or hold, or a digital product, can help you avoid spending vast sums of money on a product that won’t sell. 
  • Monitoring and gauging demand: to succeed in business, you need to ensure that there is an appetite for the services or products you sell. Using an MVP can help you gauge levels of interest and test demand before you develop a final product.
  • Analyze customer responses and behaviors: when you create a minimum viable product, you can engage with clients directly, analyzing their responses to your product to gain an insight into whether or not it works and how you could modify it to provide a superior experience. You can gather information about the aesthetic or functionality of the product and test price points.
  • Creating leads: creating a buzz around a product is an excellent way to generate hype and encourage people to buy. With an MVP, you can start creating leads and encourage customers to tell their friends and get involved before the final development stage.

How to reap the rewards of a minimum viable product

If you’re developing a product to sell, creating a minimum viable product can be beneficial, but it’s essential to understand that there are pitfalls. Not every project will be successful. The first step to success lies in ensuring you understand what an MVP is and how it works. The primary aim of the minimum viable product is to learn, not to earn. The second step is to make sure that you recognize the importance of the inclusion of the word ‘viable.’ To make this concept work for you, your product must be functional and high-quality. If the product is too basic, and you’re planning to launch a more detailed version with a host of extra features, the information you gather will not be accurate or meaningful because it only reflects what the user sees now. The aim should be to utilize the feedback to make necessary changes or improvements on a version that is close to the anticipated final product. Working with experienced teams and an innovation partner can be hugely beneficial to reap the rewards of producing a minimum viable product. 

Conclusion

A minimum viable product is designed to help developers and business owners learn about products they plan to develop further. Rather than launching the product straight away, teams can use a minimum viable product to gauge reactions, collect feedback, identify issues and make improvements. 

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