A minimum viable product (MVP) is essentially the most basic version of the product. It allows a business to release their concept and collect validated learning about customers with the least amount of effort. When a business innovates there aren't many (if any) test cases which they can build on. The business' product may be the first of its kind. As a result the business will have no idea how the product will be received " will customers love it or hate it?
This uncertainty in the innovation process has seen the emergence of MVP's. I believe developing an MVP is crucial in facilitating a successful product release. The MVP should be small enough to facilitate a build-measure-learn feedback loop. Learning early about the users true needs increases the likelihood of a successful product.
It's a great concept, but an MVP goes beyond the product itself, it's a process
. You're essentially experimenting with a concept, gathering results and making modifications. This experimentation process is conducted to validate or invalidate assumptions you have made about the product. The most important assumption is that consumers will like your product. However it does not end there, businesses often make many more assumptions. How will the design work? What marketing strategy is best? Which laws do I have to comply with? At times your answers to these questions won't be correct.
This was eluded to earlier but the only way to know if these assumptions are correct is to measure them using the market. This ties back into the build-measure-learn feedback loop. If you can measure and learn from each assumption, your end product becomes the best possible version.
MVP's also have the advantage of being quite cost effective. Because the minimum viable product is focusing on the products bare bones, the cost of developing it will be significantly lower than releasing a polished version. Obviously costs will be incurred when improvements are made, however a first-up attempt at a polished version will also require modifications/improvements.
At WorkingMouse we have created an innovation process to use as a framework for our customers. The process is made up of a number of sprints, where each sprint marks the realisation of a goal. The first sprint is all about creating the MVP. Once the MVP is established, subsequent sprints can refine the product based on learnings and actionable metrics. After the product has been developed, our leading edge software of advanced software bots
can help our customers scale their business.