MVP, Minimum Viable Product. This term has almost become a buzzword and certainly has become “THE WAY” we think of building software.
But this term, this way of thinking, is detrimental to what we are trying to accomplish.
So why is the MVP way detrimental? It is simple, instead of working on getting the product/service out there, we are spending far too much time working out how to monetise it, adding every possible feature that every possible customer/user will ever need without any feedback.
Can you see what is happening here? We are making assumptions without any data, we are making the process harder for ourselves and ultimately losing sight of what we were trying to accomplish.
Losing sight, yea I said it, while this may not be the case in every instance, a lot of the time when building something, money starts coming to mind, which isn’t a bad thing but its not contributing to getting the idea out there.
When we build something, we are trying to solve a problem, but when we try and make it viable from day one, we introduce complexity that we simply do not need at the start.
So should you build an MVP?
Just straight up NOPE!
So what other ways are there? I love the term SPV, Simplest Possible Version, a term I read in Execute (http://executebook.com/) by Drew Wilson and Josh Long, which is a book I highly recommend for anyone, in tech or not.
What is so good about SPV? It takes away the money aspect (to a point) and focuses on doing the absolute minimum to get your product/service out there.
Why this method? Because you actually ship something, now and not in months time. Its no longer just an idea that no one else sees or cannot use, you can get actual feedback from real world customers, users, which will help shape your product/service.
One of the biggest points from the SPV though, is that you can quickly see if your idea has any legs, let failures happen often, so you can learn and adapt. Imagine if you spent months instead of weeks developing your product/service only to find out half or more of that time you spent was pointless? Looks like those extra features you added aren’t being used, that was a great investment of your time. Imagine what you could have done in place of that time, better marketing, refinements from actual users feedback and more.
This lead me to create a simple website, http://shipearlyshipoften.com/
It explains itself, have a look.
Now to the gotcha, Gary Vaynerchuk (www.garyvaynerchuk.com) has spoke about people, companies, building products/services that do not function as a business, meaning they won’t be able to stay afloat if someone doesn’t come along and buy/acquire them. This is a really good point, and something to keep in mind. If you really want to make your idea into something, you still need to make sure you can turn it into a viable business.
But isn’t that an MVP?
Not quite, you do not need to make your product/service viable from day one. Would it be nice to have your product/service ready to make money on day one? Of course! But this is looking to far ahead.
What this all comes down to is, doing the bare minimum to get your idea out there, in the hands of users, see what sticks and what doesn’t. Learn, adapt and win.