As far as the IT field is concerned the MVP concept is not new with regard to MVP websites and mobile app projects. Such successful companies as Dropbox and Zappos, started from a minimum viable product.
However, there is a lot of confusion around this approach and how to utilize it wisely in a project. Here you will find information that could be valuable for any startup project in software development.
What is MVP? Busting the Confusion in an MVP Definition
The MVP concept is rather vague when used as a broader term because, on the one hand, the MVP technique is rather useful but, on the other hand, it requires judgmental thinking within minimum and maximum gradation.
There has been confusion, because some use MVP in the form of an experiment or as a landing page, while others build a fully-functioning product.
In general, the MVP should deliver the very essence of the product idea in the simplest form. Depending on the context, this form could differ, this means that MVP can differ per project and range from a demo video to the working software prototype.
Below there is the famous image representing the whole idea behind MVP.
MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is the first working version of a product, with enough features to satisfy potential clients and collect & analyze their feedback for the next product version, with minimum efforts and resources required. Then complete product version is developed after elaborating on the initial user feedback.
The key attributes of a minimum viable product to keep in mind are:
- MVP is not MVP until it sells. Thus, it must carry enough value to the users.
- MVP is more about the process, not the product. MVP is a technique used in product development.
- MVP is not a product with the minimum number of elements, but rather has core features sufficient to implement an idea and retain early adopters.
- MVP is based on the lean startup philosophy and implies the iterative process of building-> measuring-> learning loop until the product meets the market need completely.
- MVP aims to avoid building unuseful, unnecessary products by gaining insight about the market first.
The MVP technique helps users see the promise of the final product proposition and stay loyal while providing useful feedback to guide the MVP development team further. The MVP approach is based on the learning ability of a team working on the idea to ensure its value to the target audience as well as establishing monetary relations with them.
That is why search for support from innovators and tech investors. Later, your concept may be adopted by the majority, bringing popularity to your product.
Minimum Viable Product Examples
At present, there are many discussions that MVP should be a functioning prototype of the product for users to experience and use. The concept consists of two elements - minimum and viable, which may differ based on the product idea.
The MVP concept means having a few versions of the product, where it is possible to have the following variants of:
- Product Design (Sketches, Wireframes, Mockups)
- Demo Video
- Landing Page
- Crowd-funding MVP
- Piecemeal MVP
- Concierge MVP
- Wizard of Oz MVP
- Release v1.0: Software Prototype
1. Product Designs as the MVP Version
A sketch is a drawing of the system in free-hand format or with the use of some tools like: Balsamiq, Proto.io, etc. A sketch shows the main screens or web pages of the future product with their core mechanics. A sketch highlights the innovative idea or as a variant used to present to the investors or for crowdfunding.
User Experience (wireframes) is the first step in creating the real product interface. Wireframes assign the hierarchy in design and represent a skeleton of the system. They should coincide with the UX standards of a platform (iOS, Android, Web). UX shows the location of the system elements, navigation among screens, and product features.
In case your budget is limited, the MVP is a good option to use. You are able to test some innovative feature that could reshape current behavior patterns among the potential users (e.g. right, left swiping in a dating app like Tinder).
User Interface (mockups) is a full-size model of the product’s design in color, which can be used in the software for demonstration, evaluation, and promotion of a future product, as well as for raising funds. Mockups can be made clickable to enable design MVP testing. That is why it is possible to interact with the web or app product as if it is a real product.
2. Demo Videos
A good option for the MVP can be a demo video. You can find out from the audience about unique ideas that may not have been seen before. Dropbox is a famous example of a successful video MVP because the idea of having all your digital data stored in one place and available everywhere was innovative at that time. A 3-minute video demonstrating full functionality was enough to receive great user feedback and get the necessary funds for development. Before spending thousands of dollars irrationally, develop an explanatory video to show your innovative idea to potential investors and users.
3. Landing Pages
It is a single web page optimized in search results to provide key information about the promoted product, its advantages, and offer value. It can be called as a destination or a static page and is mainly used for marketing purposes.
If you need to develop software, but have a limited budget, a landing page can be used as one of the MVP alternatives. Such page is helpful if you wish to tell the public about a future product, spark interest, and get feedback. With its help, you can promote your product and collect a potential user base. Having an interested audience makes it easier to find the necessary investment.
A perfect example of using a landing page as the MVP is Buffer, which is a small app that helps you to sequence your social media posts and tweets to be shared in accordance with a chosen schedule. Its founder Joel Gascoigne created a simple landing page and people who were interested clicked on ‘plans & pricing,’ were required to leave their e-mail in order to receive product updates, as it had not yet been built.
After that, he asked potential users to choose among 3 plans: free, $5 per month, and $20 per month. So, many people selected a paid plan and others subscribed to the news, which was a good sign to start building the MVP version.
4. Crowdfunding MVP
Pebble company has been famous not only in validating its idea but also in receiving payments for the product before its production. Pebble is an e-paper watch for smartphones. It raised the largest sum, over $10M, on Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is a pre-order and crowdfunding platform where users are given a promise once the minimum funding goal is met.
5. Piecemeal MVP
The piecemeal MVP is using existing tools and services in your own project. It collects the necessary components and pieces them together in a way that gives a new functionality and user experience.
A classic example of a piecemeal MVP is Groupon. It is presented in the form of a marketplace where there are offers of exclusive and attractive deals from local retailers, agencies, restaurants, grocers, etc.
6. Concierge MVP
In concierge MVP, you validate your service is useful or not and, at the same time, you help the selected target audience achieve some goals. It has such a name because you need to provide services manually first. In such a way, you develop your customer base and analyze your audience. With this information you can easily change your concept and redefine your product.
Food on the Table is one of the famous products launched with the help of a concierge MVP. This mobile application offers food recipes and the best deals from grocery stores based on users’ food preferences. Its founder, Manuel Rosso, searched for users to support this idea and interviewed them for food choices and available budgets. Then, he manually selected recipes, created shopping lists, and looked for discounts/coupons in local food stores. Further, this service helps stores promote their deals properly and helps people shop more efficiently.
More details can be found here https://mlsdev.com/blog/50-types-of-mvp