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Do You Need an MVP?
“If you are not embarrassed by the ﬁrst version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
- Redi Hoffman
You know what is a common cause of a product failure? Useless features. Some functionalities are used rarely or not at all. But why is this issue even relevant when talking about MVP? Especially for startups, initial success is important. Very often, the lapses in the initial phase of the product mean for the idea to be or not to be. Therefore, it is much safer to ﬁrst create a product that will have basic functionalities and check what will be the demand for it and how the recipients will react. They love it? That's great! Now you can develop your product based on the obtained feedback, without taking unnecessary risk, wasting time and resources.
Basically, what you can do with MVP is:
- Test the product hypothesis using minimal resources.
- Introduce your product to users as early as possible.
- Maximize the amount of information you acquire - feedback is valuable.
- Reduce the amount of time wasted.
- Avoid creating a product that people won't use.
- Check the groups of potential recipients.
- Start building a user base for the ﬁnal product.
How to Transform Your Concept into an MVP?
Let's move on to the process itself. How to go from idea to Minimum Viable Product? The answer is simple - step by step.
Step 1 - Market Research
When carrying out any business activities, problem diagnosis and market research are always in the ﬁrst place. When you have an idea - you plan. What will this product do, what social problems will it respond to, what target group will it be aimed at? The image of the ﬁnished product is created in your head. First, however, try to check if the hypotheses you have put forward are not wrong - and they can be, it happens.
So maybe it's worth getting in touch with the target group and ﬁnding out what they really need?
Step 2 - Get to Know the Potential Users
Have you found your target group? Great, we can move on to the next stage. Find out what they enjoy, what are their likes and dislikes, patterns, habits and attitude - get to know their behavior. This will allow you to identify what their needs are and thus start developing an idea for implementing a solution. You can turn all insights into the success of your concept.
Step 3 - Deﬁne the Problem
Once you know your potential users, it's time to deﬁne the problems they are facing. Choose those that your product can respond to and focus on them. How will your application solve them? How can you make money on it? What are the business goals here? Here comes the moment when you need to make a crucial decision - choose which features of your product are essential and which are just an addition. Keep in mind that when preparing an MVP - the simpler the better.
Step 4 (Optional) - Create a PoC
This stage of the entire process can be skipped, although it is often not worth it. Thanks to market research, you can answer the question: is my product innovative or is there something similar already on the market? Is the development of the concept risky and to what extent? Therefore, you should develop a PoC to validate your idea and see if there is a demand for your product. And above all, whether the idea is proﬁtable. What if the cake is not worth the candle?
Step 5 - Offer an Early Version of the Product
The essence of the MVP is customer validation. Remember that this is a product that should meet the needs of the target market. Therefore, it is not about being incomplete or unattractive, but rather it should contain a minimal set of main features that will provide maximum feedback. At the launch of the MVP, all functions should be linked to the main purpose of the product.
Step 6 - Gather Feedback and Iterate
Gather user feedback on the idea - with all the necessary information, go back and reevaluate your product. Then adapt it to the needs reported by your users and ﬁx any problems they report. MVP helps overcome considerable uncertainty - a market adaptation that has a huge impact on the future success of a product.
How Long Does It Take and How Much Does It Cost?
“Don’t be in a rush to get big. Be in a rush to have a great product.”
- Eric Ries
The time spent developing the MVP will depend on the scope of your concept. Be sure to spend enough time to implement a set of functionalities sufﬁcient to test the business assumption. This does not mean that it should be a low-quality product, on the contrary: MVP creation should be considered a full release, so it has to be stable and perform as expected.
It is worth dividing the MVP development into levels. Depending on the complexity of your concept and the degree of detail with which it was thought of, different levels may vary in time.