What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

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I decided to start this article by losing some words about what exactly a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is and what it isn’t. Most of you have probably already heard about the MVP, but don’t really know much about it in detail.

the process from a cupcake as a mvp to a birthday cake and finally to a wedding cake

The process from a cupcake as a MVP to a birthday cake and finally to a wedding cake as the final product.

It’s all about discovery and learning

First of all you must remember that an MVP isn’t a minimal product you need to make, especially a scalable one, or thousand lines of code you need to write.

MVP is all about discovery and learning, not about execution. It’s a small, very simple feature set, an experiment that captures your customer’s value. It gives you the best possibility to iterate with your customers fast and helps you learn from them and define their real needs and problems.

Here are some examples for a MVP:

  • landing pages
  • paper prototypes
  • sketches
  • screenshots
  • a pre-order page
  • wireframes
  • mock websites with fake functions
  • and many more

Why I need to understand my customers problems?

The answer is simple – to make a desirable product that your customers really need, love and do pay for. You must find out what the market really wants.

You don’t need a real functionality at the beginning to catch your customer attention. You can collect enough information with simple experiments and after that just measure your customer interest. You don’t have to invest huge amounts of money for software developing, you don’t need to be a geek or have technical know-how to reach your goals.

Don’t pursuit a maximum viability. Make it simple!

The MVP isn’t only about the solution, but it is also about your business model and strategic objectives. You must be creative, fast and communicate with your customers. Choose your early adopters clever and give them enough value so that they are willing to use and buy the features centered to their needs. But remember there is a big difference between talking and doing. Iterate more with your customers and put your product in their hands.

There are many tools and services which provide you with a lot of possible solutions you can use for validating your ideas.

Think thoroughly about what is the minimum thing you can do to validate your assumptions and discover you customer needs and learn from them as much as you can.

Now it’s your turn again. What’s your definition of MVP?

Further readings:


Author: Rado

Technical co-founder of LEANHEROES, web developer, passionate java scripter and creative out-of-the-box thinker.

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