Photo by Mark König on Unsplash
A minimum viable product, or MVP, is a key part of the Lean Startup Methodology. The idea is that you build an MVP, measure its level of success, learn from this and amend the MVP based on these learnings.
This is the build-measure-learn feedback loop.
OK, but what IS an MVP?
An MVP is the very least of your product that is capable of delivering your core value proposition to early adopters.
Its purpose is to answer the question:
Should this product be built?
The MVP should be solving a problem that your users are having. If the MVP doesn’t do this, iterate, fix the value proposition.
The sooner you do this the better.
So, how long should it take you to create your MVP?
Less than a month! Give yourself a deadline a month from now. If you can't deliver your MVP by then it's not really an MVP.
The trouble is, if it takes you more than a month to create, then you could fall in love with your MVP...
Your MVP should be fluid.
Be water, my friend - Bruce Lee
You must be willing to make bold, massive changes to your MVP based on the measurements and learnings derived from that MVP. If you take a look at most MVPs, they are nothing like the final product. However you will recognise the essence of the final product in them.
Very Zen, I know!
So let's move from the ethereal to the more concrete, with some examples...
AirBnB's MVP had no payment and no map view. Take a look.
In 1999 it was not obvious that consumers would purchase shoes online. Nick Swinmurn created a basic website with photos of shoes from his local mall. If someone ordered them he would go to the mall, purchase the shoes and send them to the customer. MVP.
So hopefully now you know a bit more about what an MVP is and how it can help you validate the value proposition of your product offering. To find out more why not check out my free MVP cheat sheet pdf below!
Editor of founder of a dot com