Using the Minimum Viable Canvas

From Idea to Launch. Product first Canvas for Lean Startups.

Santosh Rajan
Mar 23, 2014 · 3 min read

In this post we will see how to use the Minimum Viable Canvas, from Idea to Launch.

The Minimum Viable Canvas is a Product first Canvas.

The order in which to work on the canvas is as follows.

  1. Problem
  2. Unique Value Proposition
  3. Solution
  4. Cost Structure
  5. Key Metrics (How are you going to test the value proposition?)

You must also write a one page brief on how you will make the minimum viable product. This is important because, you want to make sure your Product Development team knows how to “make” the product.

The example problem we will try to solve is this. Whenever I enter a restaurant, I wish the menu would pop up on my phone, and I could place orders from the phone. Surprisingly this problem hasn’t been solved as I am writing this article. Or I am not aware that this has been solved.

We will not go into the technical details of the solution. As a software engineer I can think of several ways we can solve this.

This problem cannot be solved without restaurant owners on board. They need to have their menus up on our servers. So we “get out of the building” and talk to restaurant owners. And this is what we find.

Restaurant owners like this idea because -

  1. They can have dynamic menus that they can change by the day or hour
  2. Save on rolling out their own solution. (Development, ipad’s, Server, other electronics)

Now we can proceed with this in three stages.

  1. Low Fidelity Minimum Viable Product
  2. High Fidelity Minimum Viable Product (Beta)
  3. Launch

Here is the Minimum Viable Canvas for the Low Fidelity MVP.

Given the Minimum Viable Canvas, product development now create the Low Fidelity MVP. Marketing runs the sign up campaign. And the results are — 40000 thousand uniques, 13000 signups, ie 32.5% conversion. Marketing decides, this is good to go for the High Fidelity MVP.

Now product development will start building the product. Marketing works on the customer development campaign. Beta is launched.

Based on restaurant usage and feedback, and customer usage and feedback, other metrics from market analysis, marketing has do decide whether to launch the product or pivot.

This is not to suggest that the lean canvas, business model canvas, surveys, other marking studies are not required. On the other hand, what I am suggesting here is that, all this is the domain of the marketing team.

Product development team only looks at the Minimum Viable Canvas. And every cycle starts with the Minimum Viable Canvas.

Flow chart for the above process

Read How to reduce Product Development Risk, to find out how to start with Product Development the right way.

The article on how I arrived at The Minimum Viable Canvas is here.

The Minimum Viable Canvas is adapted from Lean Canvas (
and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Un-ported License.

Minimum Viable Canvas

Product first, Market Next, Business Model for Lean Startups

    Santosh Rajan

    Written by

    Founder Programmer for over 30 years. Making better programmers is my passion. Bangalore. India.

    Minimum Viable Canvas

    Product first, Market Next, Business Model for Lean Startups

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