what is a minimum viable product
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a concept from the Lean Startup methodology introduced by Eric Ries. An MVP represents the most basic version of a product that allows a team to release it to the market or a subset of users to validate its core business idea. The primary goal of an MVP is to quickly gather insights, feedback, and learnings with the least amount of work, before building a more comprehensive version of the product.
Here’s a breakdown of the concept:
- Minimum: It has the least number of features required to make the product functional. Anything that doesn’t address the core hypothesis or value proposition is left out.
- Viable: Even with the minimum features, it should be viable, meaning that it needs to provide enough value that users are willing to use it or, in some cases, pay for it.
- Product: It’s a tangible product or prototype that can be used by customers or testers. It’s not just a theoretical concept or a paper design.
Key points regarding MVP:
- Validation: The MVP is used to validate or invalidate a hypothesis about a product or a product feature. By releasing an MVP, companies can understand whether there’s genuine demand for the product without investing significant time and resources.
- Feedback Loop: The MVP facilitates a quick feedback loop. It allows the team to understand how users interact with the product and what improvements or changes are necessary.
- Iterative Development: After launching the MVP, further development is typically iterative. Teams build upon the MVP based on feedback, refining the product, and gradually adding more features.
- Risk Reduction: By testing the waters with an MVP, companies can reduce the risk of building a product that nobody wants. Instead of investing heavily in a full-featured product upfront, they can gauge interest and adapt based on real-world feedback.
An example of an MVP approach is the early version of Dropbox. Instead of building a fully functional product, the founder first created a simple video demonstrating how the product would work. The massive interest and sign-ups from this video validated the product idea, after which they proceeded with building the full version.