A minimum viable product (MVP) is a concept which was publicised in Eric Ries’ book Lean Startup and is defined as a product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning from it as possible. And, it requires minimal effort from its users.
A real-world example of this is the widely used social media platform Instagram. It initially only allowed users to take photos with their device, apply one of the suggested filters, and save them in an album on their device. The positive response to the product resulted in more capabilities being added to the application and led to it becoming the social media platform that is widely used today.
Now, simply imagine if Instagram had invested and developed this massive social platform from the start but discovered that no one used it? That’s why MVPs exist.
So, how can your business benefit and why should you use MVPs?
The focus of MVP product development is optimising usability and functionality without over-complicating design, as research has shown that 60% of product or app features are not used at all by users (Steel Kiwi).
Other benefits include:
- Gaining insight into customer interest
- Discovering which trend will be optimal for full product development
- Acquisition of early adopters and a potential client base
- Saving time and money in end product development by not needing to conduct expensive market research
- A smaller budget can be easier to secure initially instead of a large budget
- Validation can help towards the launch of your market-ready product
Not only do MVPs help reduce over-development but they take away the overarching risk that many software development projects encounter. And, if your MVP doesn’t succeed, then it’s better to fail fast and validate faster.