Planning Your MVP: Lean Canvas & User Stories

At the stage of development of the startup, which we like to call “seed”, there is a very important point: the creation of MVP — a minimum viable product. Without it, your startup is not something that will not swim away.

Not so long ago we conducted a webinar on the topic of planning an MVP, where we thoroughly analyzed each step on the way to a successful product.

To easily understand what it is, imagine the evolution of a person. So, MVP — that ape-like Australopithec in the development cycle of the startup. Functionality is small, but it allows you to do primitive actions and visually shows the full potential of the future product.

Besides, MVP helps you collect information about customers: what they like, what is not, what they use and what they want.

At the stage of MVP creation, the team replenishes with the developers. Their number depends on the scale and complexity of the prototype, but most often there are 3–5 people. Among them there should be a team leader, whose professionalism you can safely rely on.

Here is a checklist of questions that you two need to answer:

  • What features of the product must be included in MVP, and which ones should be saved to a full release?
  • What of these features guarantee the focus on the target audience?
  • Which will help you not just stand out, but surpass your competitors at times?

Remember that the most important goal of your product at any stage of it should be a solution to the “pain” of the customer or buyer. Only then will there be demand and success.

Due to the fact that the MVP is created in order to understand if the customer needs your product, the process of its development is cyclical: the idea, prototype, the demand estimation, the information gathering, the error analysis, the improvement and the repetition.

Therefore, MVP, if demand met expectations, exists until it is improved so much that it can be called the most viable product and users are satisfied with it.

Never underestimate the strength of a good MVP, because so many startups have succeeded precisely because they used a prototype or a sample to get money for a real product. One example with Dropbox is what it’s worth: the guys just made a video on which they visualized their idea. People saw what they would pay for and only then decided that it was worth it.

Remember the cupcake method — you can not produce an incomplete or substandard product. Let your MVP will not be a whole cake, but a small cupcake that would be: tastier, more beautiful and better than its competitors.

And do not be afraid to disclose your idea. If someone steals it, it still does not bring to life a better creator. Otherwise, you will miss the opportunity to create an MVP and lose a lot of money.

To learn more about all the stages of the MVP, our webinar is always open for viewing