The following is a guest post by Niraj Rajput, cofounder and Head of Engineering at Chisel Labs
Product development is a huge responsibility.
And for an organization to build a product, there are some table-topping factors like effort, time, finance, challenges, and resources.
Since so much input is required in the development to achieve the best output, a vision is in alignment with the product development path. This path is termed as a minimum viable product and abbreviated as MVP.
The term “Minimum Viable Product” has been thrown around a lot lately. Many people don’t know what an MVP is or why they should use one.
The idea behind it is that you want to focus on creating the most basic product possible first so that you can test your idea before getting too invested in something that might not work out.
This blog post will explore what an MVP is, how it can be used to create successful products, and some examples of MVPs.
What Is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
What Value MVP Provides for an Organization?
What Value MVP Provides for the Development Team?
What Does an MVP Mean to a User?
MVP: What Lies at Its Core?
How MVP Can Be Executed?
Misconceptions About MVP?
What is a minimum viable product (MVP)?
The minimum viable product (MVP) is a product that has just enough features to satisfy early customers and allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about product development with the least effort.
The minimum viable product is not designed for perfection, but its purpose is simply to test your business idea quickly and inexpensively. This is done by providing only core functionality while allowing you to get honest feedback from real users.
There is quite a popular analogy to understand MVP.
It compares MVP to a new restaurant opening. If the restaurant owner opens without any chairs, no cutlery or crockery then it’s not ready for customers but is still an MVP that can be validated by asking people if they want to eat there and what features are needed before you begin full-scale development of your product.
Another one that makes the concept more clearer is the raw jeep analogy.
Suppose we are in a world where there are no all-wheel-drive vehicles. And we have invented one all-wheel drive jeep.
It has got no roof. No back seat. In some cases, no windscreen. No doors. No air conditioning. No entertainment system. No navigation. No cup holders. No leather. No cruise control. No rearview camera. No ABS. No seatbelts. No airbags.
Rather the invention just has the core of the need which is a seat, the steering wheel, an engine, a transmission, a clutch, and four traction tires.
Now the points of attention are:
Is it missing the luxury and some basic functionalities? Yes.
But can it get you easily through a muddy field or road? Yes!
And that’s the important point.
It’s minimum because it’s missing all kinds of things we can easily imagine people wanting, later. It’s viable because it does the one thing that no other car does. So if you need to cross a muddy field or go down a muddy road, you’ll buy one.
Having understood the basics of what MVP is, now, let’s get a step further defining how it influences product development in different ways and on different levels.
What value does MVP provides for an organization?
At an organizational level, MVP is substantially used to save input and capital.
It is the base of an effective approach to an organization’s product development by minimizing input and maximizing effective output without sleeping on the satisfaction of the users.
The MVP, hence, helps the development team to design the final product.
Let’s say a health app finds out about what’s the information or statistics their users find most important and want to check frequently. Once the team has an idea of the same through MVP, it will save input of time and capital without compromising with quality or satisfaction of users.
They are now being aware of the direction to move in the developmental process.
What value does MVP provide for the development team?
The MVP plays the role of building a path for the product designing and the product development team.
It helps them to converge their focus to the needs of the user and where the product fits in.
Hence, having a clear idea of what a user expects from the product, the workflow of the development team is aligned in a specific direction leading to faster yet efficient product designing.
What does an MVP mean to a user?
If a feature-rich product fails to meet the basic requirement of the user and their purpose to use the product, it’s not something that ends on a happy note. It significantly affects your potential customer’s approach and the company’s success too.
To prevent users from suffering decision fatigue, MVP plays an important role by which a user is offered to operate the product to perform a minimalistic task that is easy to understand, and yet matches every corner of the required features.
A frictionless completion of MVP testing paves way for the user to decide if the final product can be good for them or not.
Also thanks to the early access, they can provide feedback to the team so that the final product matches every satisfaction and usability level of the users.
All these levels make it evident that MVP is a second chance to improve as an aphorism for all.
Now let’s figure out the basics of MVP and what is that core inside of it that makes the MVP an important concept in UX Design.
MVP: What lies at its core?
Having understood what an MVP is, lets’ focus on the core of MVP.
MVP relies on the principle of Lean UX for minimum wastage of the input and maximize output.
So what exactly is Lean UX?
Lean UX is an iterative design approach that helps in discovering and validating user needs. It is a UX design type that is based on lean-agile principles.
So to sum things up, Lean UX gives a direction to the design in such a way that it has an effective output that has an influence of agile methodology during the process.
Unlike the normal UX, lean UX focuses more on the outcome of product development rather than process.
In a nutshell, lean UX is about building products that are validated by users during MVP and iterating them to continue to produce better results with every cycle.
Now as we have touched every corner in detail about the MVP, it’s time to figure out how it is put into practice.
How is MVP brought to execution?
The process of developing MVP has three stages – build, measure, and learn. Let’s understand these in detail.
Execution is the foremost step to improvement and so is the case in developing MVP.
The MVP is first designed on the principles of Lean UX which covers all factors of UX designing skills, UX research, and designing of the best possible prototype.
The designed product is subject to change as it is built to be modified and finalized according to the feedback. And because of the same reason, the code and wireframes of the prototype are also not finalized.
After the completion of the prototype MVP, the second step requires usability testing.
This gives a clear insight into the effectiveness of the product as its purpose is to calculate errors, accuracy, precision, and a lot of statistics to look upon.
And all this data can lead the team to realize their flaws, where things can be improved, and in what areas the weaknesses in the MVP are walking around.
Under the lean UX, this phase of the MVP design includes deciding what needs to stay in the product and what needs to be eliminated.
This phase gives time to decide and clarify what features of the product are useful and which need to stay in the product at the current phase.
This is the journey of designing and implementing the MVP in UX design.
For anything that comes under the vision of more eyes, it is obvious to have misconceptions developed because not everyone is aware of the A to Z’s of the product.
Let’s move on to look at some of the common misconceptions people have about the MVP.
Misconceptions about MVP
- Many people think that MVP is software without any features. It’s the complete opposite because it includes all the necessary and core functionalities of your product to satisfy your target users.
- Another misconception about MVP in UX design is that you can’t be creative with an MVP because it needs to be simple and clear at the initial stage only. However, this is false. Creativity is always welcomed since it can potentially help to get a more realistic insight.
- The next misconception about MVP is that it has a single focus feature at a particular instant. But the right thing is, though there are cases when the single feature is a primary focus of designing, there are sets of similar features and not just a single feature for the whole MVP.
- The fourth misconception about MVP is that it misses out on core functionalities. This is a misconception because of the dedicated focus of the MVP for testing only particular constraints of the features. Otherwise, everything is retained in the final delivered product.
MVP is an important tool in product development that is valuable for the team, for the organization as well as for the user as we discussed in this blog.
It provides a second chance to all.
Hence, the design of the product is improved for the team with healthy feedback.
The usability of the product is also not compromised thanks to the early access to the prototype before the final product.
So to have a clear edge over the competition, an organization should incorporate MVP in their process so that the success of their product and the satisfaction of their users both traverse the positive graphs.
Niraj is co-founder and Head of Engineering at Chisel Labs, a premiere agile product management software company that brings together roadmapping, team alignment, and customer connection. Niraj is passionate about building scalable infrastructure and systems and he also happens to be a huge fan of Cricket!