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Engineering

Recipe to build a Digital MVP

August 26, 2021
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10 min read
A picture of Airbnb's Digital MVP website
A Minimum Valuable Product or (MVP) is a product released into the market with basic features. It is a development technique that is commercialized to help early customers or adopters come across the product and grab their attention. Introducing an MVP can help you get feedback and insights from the customers for future product development.

Consumers who are introduced to a Minimal Viable Product and are likely to use the product later, can validate its idea in early development. This helps you save time, cost, and effort by mitigating the risk of product failure due to erroneous assumptions. After considering responses and reviews from the initial or early users of MVP, you can finally design and develop the complete set of features.

In the digital business landscape, MVP is a popular and well-familiar concept. Development companies launch a website or an application with just elemental features to see if the customers are responding and ready to use the product. It follows the notion to begin with a minimal approach (as the name suggests) and then take cues from the users regarding their expectations from the product.

Characteristics

A Minimum Valuable Product possesses the following characteristics:

  • Holds enough value that customers wish to use it or buy it initially
  • Demonstrates future benefits to customers
  • Holds substantial capabilities to ensure its uniqueness
  • Offers a feedback loop to guide future product development

Purposes

The MVP approach has the following purposes:

  • Examine the actual demand for a product
  • Ability to test product speculation with minimal resources
  • Accelerate and enhance the learning of market expectations
  • Drop-down unproductive engineering and design hours
  • Introduce the product to early customers
  • Build the foundation for future product developments
  • Gain valuable insight on the latest trends and business opportunities

Procedure

Wrong Product-Market fit

Step 1: Market Research
It happens quite often that ideas do not match the market needs or fit into customers’ expectations. In such cases, you must ensure the idea meets the targeted users’ requirements before initiating that idea and embarking upon the development process. Here, conducting surveys can help you gather more information and ascertain a higher rate of success for the product. Another effective approach would be to watch the offering made by your competitors or fellows and analyze the intensity and capabilities of their idea.

Step 2: Visualize Value Addition
When you are coming with an idea for MVP, think across the following areas:

  • The problem your product is solving for its users
  • If there is already another solution available, what extra benefits does your product have
  • The effort or time it takes for consumers to start using your product

Analyzing these key points helps you better express your idea and execute the vision efficiently. Also, you need to be clear about the essential estimations of your product.

Step 3: Prioritize Features

Feature Prioritization

When setting out to build your idea, you would be tempted to give the maximum value to your users from the start. Resist that temptation. You must understand that building anything costs you time. Every feature you add to your MVP delays your product reaching the user.

At this stage of MVP, you must list all the features that you want to incorporate into your product. Once this list is ready, start from the top and keep moving extra features to the next phase. When considering a feature, ask yourself this:

Is this absolutely necessary to make my central feature work?

If the answer to the above question is No, then off it goes to Phase 2, 3 or 4. The MVP should stay away from too many enhancements or beautiful interactions. Instead, its core focus has to be on giving maximum value in the simplest manner possible.

Step 4: Outline User Flow

One of the most important stages in the development of a Minimal Viable Product is Design.

You need to design the application or product in a way that customers find it most convenient to use and prefer to other products without a hitch. It is important to think from the users’ perspective and design the MVP to match those preferences. You should follow <a href="https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/design-thinking" target="_blank" style="color:#0057FF; text-decoration:none;">Design Thinking</a> right from the initial stage to the final process. Keeping a close eye on the user flow and identifying the bottlenecks/pain points would help you increase user delight.

Before you define user flow, you must define the process stages along with the steps required to reach the primary objective. In such a case, you should focus more on basic tasks rather than individual features, for example, product search, payment and order management. For the most part, your end-users will have these goals while using your product. After carving out all these procedures, it is time to elaborate on the individual features of each stage.

Step 5: Launch MVP

Once you have finalized the main features of your Minimal Viable Product and have comprehended the market needs, you can develop your MVP. However, one must ensure that an MVP is in no way lower in quality as well as possess all the basic features of a final product. Moreover, it is capable enough to fulfil your customer’s needs and entice their interest back for the final item. Therefore, it must be easy-to-use and must take its place in the users’ wish list.

Examples of a Minimum Viable Product

If you’re wondering what can be an MVP or what it would look like in practice, you can go through the following MVPs successfully launched by familiar brands.

AirBnb

Airbnb MVP

The founders of Airbnb created a minimalist website, published photos, and other details about their property. They used their own apartment to validate their idea and created a market that offers short-term rental housing online.

Dropbox

Dropbox MVP

The file synchronization company has one of the most well-known stories of an MVP. They simply made a video to demonstrate this deliverable and its value proposition.

Zappos

Zappos MVP

This MVP was developed to check consumers’ need to purchase shoes online. They simply took pictures of shoes at the local store, put photos up for sale on their site, and then personally went to the physical store to fulfill orders, and initiate shipment.

Conclusion

Everything follows a process. First, define the scope of work, followed by scrolling down the product to the development stage. An MVP helps you analyze and confirm users’ interests. You can then design your MVP and check if it grabs the attention of potential users. This is a minimum input with a maximum output approach, and one must avoid compromising quality in favour of features. The real trick lies in the idea that you get far enough with an MVP to hit on things genuinely useful for customers at the outset.

MVP
Engineering
Project Management

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Written by
Rishabh Jain

A mentor with 10+ years of experience working as a Product Manager with 25+ clients. He is also the CTO of Default.

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