Minimum Viable Product (MVP): 5 misconceptions
Experts Voice
14 September 2020
Minimum Viable Product (MVP): 5 misconceptions
Experts Voice
14 September 2020

Minimum Viable Product (MVP): 5 misconceptions

A "Most Valuable Player" (MVP) on the football field is a player who has proven their worth and the team considers them the ultimate prize during a season. Similarly, in the realm of product development, an Minimun Viable Product (MVP) aims to achieve a similar status but requires time to evolve and reach its full potential.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the concept of a minimum viable product (MVP), it is important to delve into the realms of Agile, Lean, and Lean Startup methodologies.

Agile, Lean, and Lean Startup meaning and history

In the world of Information Technology (IT), Agile is a project development approach that emphasizes prioritizing high-value functions and conducting ongoing tests with users throughout the development process. By other side, Lean is a manufacturing methodology focused on minimizing waste. Originally pioneered in Japan by W. Edwards Deming for Toyota, Lean is a manufacturing methodology focused on minimizing waste. It involves designing a simple system, measuring all aspects of the process, and continuously improving efficiency. This iterative approach allows for the early identification and correction of errors.

Lean Startup combines the principles of Agile and Lean, integrating customer development into the mix. While Agile tests the product against users, Lean Startup takes it a step further by testing the product against the market. The goal of Agile is to avoid creating a product that won't work, while Lean Startup aims to prevent the development of a product that people don't actually need.

Keep reading: Minimum Viable Product (MVP): 3 Things to avoid.

Lean and MVP connection

Frank Robinson coined and defined the concept of the MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, and Eric Ries popularized it in his book "The Lean Startup." It emphasizes the importance of learning in new product development. The underlying premise of the MVP is to create an actual product that can be offered to customers, allowing their real behavior with the product or service to be observed. This approach proves to be much more reliable than simply asking people what they would do in hypothetical scenarios.

However, there are common misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding MVPs that can lead to trouble. It's essential to address these misconceptions.

The big misconceptions about MVPs

An MVP should accomplish three main things: have just enough features; satisfy early customers; and enable feedback for future development. But, confusion and miss-projections about MVPs can get you into trouble. The five big misconceptions are:

  1. An MVP is not a draft or prototype; it's the first instance of a real product, marking its beginning and laying the foundation for future iterations.
  2. An MVP is not the final product; the "M" in MVP stands for "minimum," implying that it should have enough features to satisfy early customers and gather feedback for future development. It should be focused and contained, even if it starts with a single strong feature that can be expanded later.
  3. An MVP is not necessarily the best approach to raise money. Investors typically look for compelling metrics, a dedicated following, and early revenue before investing in a product. An MVP requires more time to gather these indicators of success.
  4. One should not assume that an MVP is sufficient to launch an entire business. MVPs are iterative and evolving products that require time to mature and adapt based on feedback and market conditions.
  5. If an MVP does not yield the desired success, it does not necessarily mean that the entire product is doomed. In fact, MVPs can serve as a catalyst for entrepreneurs to pivot and explore alternative ideas or approaches. It helps identify which aspects need adjustment or redirection.

May interest you: Product vs. Platform development: 5 things to consider.

Developing a minimum product allows gauging its demand. If the initial response is not promising and the idea struggles, it becomes an opportunity for change and pivoting. The MVP concept empowers entrepreneurs to make informed decisions and navigate product development.

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