What do you think of when you hear the term MVP? If you are a sports enthusiast, it’s probably visions of Tom Brady, LeBron James or Mike Trout.
But in the web product development world, an MVP is not a person — it's the genesis of an idea. MVP is the Minimum Viable Product. The difference? One can win you a championship. The other can create innovation and disruption.
Big thinkers often fall into the same dangerous trap: believing that the execution of an idea will only be successful if the entire product is complete, fully developed and part of its introduction. Entrepreneurs notoriously miss out on great opportunities by trying to deliver too much — with little consideration or regard for customer acceptance, complexity, cost and timeline.
When developing new technology, it's vital that you begin by focusing on just enough core features for your product to be meaningful, effectively deployed, monetized ... and no more. That is the MVP.
Product managers leverage the MVP by introducing it to a controlled subset of representative users, also known as early adopters. These early adopters are more forgiving, likely to provide extensive valuable feedback and better able to grasp the product vision.
Therein lies the primary benefit of an MVP. With it, you will gain insight into users' interest in your product without the full investment of developing it in its entirety. The earlier you are able to determine if and how your product appeals to consumers, the less time and money you waste on building an untested product that may fail in the market. The MVP should have a minimum level of functionality, but it must be sufficient for you to learn about the viability of the product.
Think of it as an experiment. You've done your research and have hypothesized that consumers have a need for your product. You test your hypothesis with your MVP. Then, you analyze the data you collect from your users and draw conclusions that are used to improve your product before it reaches its "final" form. (We use quotation marks because no product should ever really be truly final; you should always be innovating and improving!)
Integrity loves supporting big thinkers in creating an impactful MVP and product roadmap through our Innovation Lab. We begin this process by first flexing our business consulting muscles. During a series of intensive discovery sessions, we peel back the onion.
Collaboratively we learn, organize, document, play devil's advocate and cut through the broad vision's clutter to dial in on a laser-focused set of early stage features, functionality and capabilities. We put great thought into what will become the nucleus of the product. This process will define the building blocks and foundation for your product.
Not all ideas are perfect. On occasion, it becomes clear through this process that the concept should be permitted to die on the vine. We may uncover a lack of potential demand, an overly challenging competitive landscape, unrealistic revenue models, or sometimes, stakeholders simply realize that the potential effort to get to the finish line cannot be justified.
BUT — when the idea does pass the sniff test and proves to be viable, the process continues. We determine what makes sense in order to go from concept to completion. For some, we help develop the materials required to raise venture capital funds. For others, we create product roadmaps of early-stage prototypes. And finally, there is a small group with whom we are able to jump right into bringing the idea to life.
What happens when you ignore the MVP concept? You build within a vacuum. Chances are, you may create something no one wants, is difficult to scale and/or becomes a money pit of never-ending iteration.
If your idea needs an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), take the first step and let Integrity be your MVP (Most Valuable Player). Contact our web consulting company today.
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