10 quick tips for creating successful MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
It doesn’t matter if you work in a startup, digital agency or corporate environment. You can apply MVP approach on product or feature level and become much more effective. Please find some useful tips below:
1. MVP checklist
Before you start working on MVP, go through the following questions:
- Who will use your product?
- What value (time, money) offers your product?
- What problem do you solve?
- When and how much revenue it will bring?
- What determinate success and failure
- When can we deliver it?
- What is the core functionality?
2. Define core functionality and stick to it
Before you start, think of the main functionality you want to deliver. It has to be really basic feature. Of course, later on you will be able to iterate, learn and create more (additional) features. Consider Uber as an example. Its core functionality is ordering cars and getting around different places with possibility to pay with your credit card. Everything else (rating, statistics, invoices, all the gamification) is the result of many iterations and testing.
You will face the urge of adding additional functionalities before launching your MVP. Please don’t. This will prevent you from getting early feedback and that’s what this is all about.
3. MVP is not minimum set of features. It’s something beyond.
Contrary to popular belief, MVP is not only the minimum set of features.
You should also remember about covering 3 other areas:
Reliability — no bugs, no crashes, no disappointment.
Usability — simple UI and legibility.
User Experience — what makes your app unique and lovable.
4. Minimum Viable Product is not a product. It’s a PROCESS.
Yes, exactly. Take a quick look at the diagram below, implement it in your workflow and repeat. Infinitely.
5. Don’t create, bootstrap!
Crafting custom design for your landing page, designing your own icons and trying to be too creative. But why? Instead of that, you can simply buy landing page template for 18$, download free set of icons (eg. Material Design), and use tested solutions instead of reinventing the wheel.
Here http://startupstash.com you may find tools, ideas, templates and basically 95% of things you need to create MVP.
6. Do you need actual product? NO.
Yeap, you don’t need to create an actual product. You can check your hypothesis in many different ways, and here are some good examples:
- Dropbox came up with 4 minutes video explaining their idea and reached over 70 000 subscriptions for their unexisting product.
- Buffer created landing page with pricing plans. This way, they not only knew if people are interested in their product, but they could literally determine how many customers are willing to pay for their service.
- Oculus came up with preorder landing page. They managed to collect feedback about number of potential customers as well as raise real money for building real product.
7. Focus on small target group
Don’t reach out to millions if you can have much more valuable conversation with smaller group of people. It’s better to have 100 engaged users, rather than 10 000 only interested in your product.
It’s better to have 100 people love you than 1 000 000 people only like you
— Brian Chesky
8. Concierge MVP — be the software
Before you build any software, you can literally simulate entire customer experience manually. This way, you will be able to test if your idea is good, before even starting app development.
Example: You want to build an application that will match IT specialists profiles with the most suiting job offers. Yes, you can create a complicated algorithm for that, but before doing so, just start doing it manually. Not only you will get better matches for your candidates, but also you will have a chance to engage the market and test if your idea is worth a penny.
9. Wizard of OZ — fake it till you make it
Your product doesn’t need to be fully developed before you launch. If some parts of it don’t work, you may simulate it manually.
Let’s say you want to deliver some service in 4 different pricing plans. You would also like to provide online payment and automatic invoices, but… there is no time for that. What do you do?
- Use manually generated links for online payments
- Hire Finance / Accounting freshman who will take care of invoices
User will have a feeling that everything happens automatically. In the meantime, you can automate this process.
10. Don’t wait.
Don’t bother about missing animations, small UI imperfections or less relevant use cases. Think about valuable feedback you will get once your product is out there.
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
— Reid Hoffman