MVP is a minimum viable product – the minimum version of the product that a company can (and wants) release on the market – to get the first customers and valuable feedback. However, is it always the perfect solution, and what are the alternatives?
The MVP concept is closely related to the lean startup methodology – according to which a startup is an experiment. The product is innovative, and its creator does not know how the market will receive it because he cannot really assess it. Its introduction consists of the verification of hypotheses. The product is not perfect – it may lack functions that will be implemented in subsequent stages and may have deficiencies in terms of design or UX, but it is enough to reach the first customers in the target group and work further. MVP development for startups has been and remains one of the best options to test the idea.
MVP has many advantages – first of all, it allows you to release the product quickly, collect feedback, and then make the necessary corrections. Subsequent versions of the product are created regularly based on the data received by users.
Several principles of a good MVP
Let’s take a look at several key principles that will make your MVP really good. You may also find it interesting to take a look at some companies using Node js – some of them started as MVPs!
Get the customer on board
A Minimum Viable Product should test whether the product or service is fundamentally relevant to the customer. It is important to involve the customer in real life. However, only some people belong to the right target group for an MVP.
Check the business model
A minimum viable product’s component “product” should be taken seriously. It is about a commodity or service that is offered on the market and in which at least one customer or user is seriously interested. The customer’s willingness to buy or commit in another form is the yardstick of success. The test in the wild mercilessly shows the weaknesses along the entire value chain. This distinguishes the MVP from a prototype aiming to test the functionality. In addition, the test environment of a prototype is usually artificial.
Offer real functionality
The special thing about a minimum viable product is the balance between the terms “minimum” and “viable.” A common mistake is an imbalance at the expense of viability. You should therefore think carefully about what the minimal feature set looks like. The focus here is on the word “viable.” If you test the mediation of overnight stays in private apartments, you will make a special effort in designing the user experience for the rental. Extra functions such as a mobile payment system, vouchers, or the like are unnecessary initially. Most product developers need help to limit themselves to the necessary functions. However, this is particularly important for physical products – because every useless function only increases the production effort and dilutes the findings from customer feedback. Minimal functionality provides maximum insights.
MAP – Minimum Awesome Product
Minimum Awesome product can be called a development of the MVP concept – considering that the user of our MVP has a lot of other solutions to choose from – and is often guided not only by the functionalities offered to him but also by the ease of using the application or its appearance. Therefore, MAP is a product that, in addition to the basic solutions that the creator wants to show, also contains those that are to make the user enchanted by our application.
What elements differ in MAP from MVP? In addition to the content, it also offers “packaging,” and the end user will see a professional product, not an “early demo” version, and will be happy to use it.
MAP, compared to MVP, requires more work – first of all, when it comes to good mapping of processes from the user’s side, but also design. Only some teams that create their solution from scratch have enough competence to lean on graphic elements and plan their project from the visual side. Therefore, when creating your Awesome product, you should assess your strength and consider expanding your team at this stage or possibly outsourcing some of the work. You can also contact a professional developmental company to do all the work for you.
Simple, Lovable, Complete
Another alternative to MVP is SLC – Simple, Lovable, Complete. It’s a slightly different philosophy of creating a product. It assumes that MVP is often a minimal product but at the same time, not necessarily ready for implementation. The SLC philosophy assumes that the product must be complete – even though it can be simple. Examples of such applications are Twitter, Slack, and Google Docs.
Docs, after implementation, had about 3 to 5% of the functions used in Word, but they became a trendy alternative for it – because of simplicity and the ability to cooperate. Twitter also made its simplicity and limitations strong, while Slack expanded its product with further functionalities and integrations, but they all started as simple but complete products.
SLC assumes that the approach of a minimum product capable of entering the market is wrong. In this approach, when creating a product, you should very often go through the full path that the customer will go through and remove any stumbles he may encounter, creating a simple but error-free product in standard use – and above all, created for use not, for quick release on the market in a version that may require corrections. In this approach, unlike MAP, the product does not have to focus on design and UX but on the simplicity of operation.