How to adopt a min­i­mum vi­able prod­uct mind­set

When look­ing at how to adopt a min­i­mum vi­able prod­uct mind­set, we first must look at what is a min­i­mum vi­able prod­uct (MVP)? An MVP is the small­est ver­sion of your prod­uct with enough fea­tures to sat­isfy your ini­tial cus­tomer base. The main ad­van­tage of an MVP is it al­lows you to gain in­sights into your clients in­ter­est ar­eas in your prod­uct with­out hav­ing to fully de­velop it. Additionally, the sooner you can get the prod­uct to mar­ket, the sooner you can start gath­er­ing feed­back di­rect from mar­ket, al­low­ing you to pivot and adapt.

Now that we un­der­stand what is a min­i­mum vi­able prod­uct, and some of the core ben­e­fits in de­vel­op­ing one, let’s dive into how you can start to adopt an MVP mind­set.

1. Understand your why”

What is the prob­lem you are start­ing with, and who are you solv­ing it for? If you can’t/ don’t an­swer these ques­tions first, then you may need to re-eval­u­ate the pur­pose of the pro­ject.

We rec­om­mend read­ing how to start with a prob­lem for ag­ile soft­ware de­vel­op­ment.

2. Identify the what and when

So you’ve got your why, now it’s im­por­tant to list out what needs to be done, and when it should be done in the time­line. This process of build­ing out your back­log of re­quire­ments al­lows you to have con­trol over the time and re­sources spent on get­ting this MVP to mar­ket be­cause you can clearly see the pieces of func­tion­al­ity es­sen­tial to de­liv­er­ing a strong prod­uct.

3. Look around

You would’ve heard the phrase Nothing new un­der the sun.” Keep this in mind when build­ing soft­ware, chances are some­one has built some­thing sim­i­lar be­fore. Research these prod­ucts, learn from their mis­takes and bor­row from the ob­vi­ous wins.

4. Understand that done is bet­ter than per­fect

The first step in adopt­ing an MVP mind­set is ac­cept­ing the above state­ment. In or­der to get any of the ad­van­tages found with adopt­ing the process you must un­der­stand that this is all about speed to mar­ket and fast adap­ta­tion, your goal is to re­lease some­thing good enough for peo­ple to use. That way, you can learn from them.

5. Continual evo­lu­tion (build, mea­sure, learn)

Build, Measure, Learn. Once you have re­leased your first ver­sion, firstly take a sigh of re­lief and give your­self a pat on the back! Then start to get feed­back from your users, lis­ten to what they are say­ing, con­tinue test­ing in­ter­nally and pre­pare to build out your back­log so you’re ready for the next it­er­a­tion.

In sum­mary, to adopt an MVP mind­set you must be ac­cept­ing of change, ready to dis­cover new ideas and main­tain the flex­i­bil­ity to act quickly. If you can do all of these things then you will be able to reap some of the re­wards suc­cess­ful prod­ucts like Airbnb, Uber and Dropbox did go­ing to mar­ket with an MVP and build­ing on learn­ings.


Josh Beatty

Account de­vel­oper and hair gel hoarder

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