Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in One Day


(Source: Go Comics)

Can You Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in One Day? Maybe…

We just finished listening to a Stack Exchange Podcast featuring Eric Ries (Lean Startup) as a guest. During the show Ries explained the importance of getting an idea out to the market to validate your assumptions and avoid wasting time building the wrong product.

This touches on his minimum viable product (MVP) concept that he defines as:

“That version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

Rob Kelly simplifies it even more by breaking down the individual components as follows:

Minimum – There is usually just one or two core problems that excellent products are trying to solve.
Viable – What makes a product viable? Will people use it? Will someone pay for it?
Product – Anything that generates value.

The viable component is crucial to the process. One must distinguish between Minimum Viable Product and Minimum Product.

SPVG define minimal product as the “smallest possible product that actually works”.

They go on further to remind us that this is “often a long way from minimum viable product which not only works, but is something that people actually choose to buy and use”.

One example Ries cites is GroupOn. GroupOn started as ‘The Point’ on a WordPress blog. It was only when Groupon sold its first deal—two pizzas for the price of one in October 2008 that they realised they were onto a good idea (WSJ).

They needed to put a real life product (a MVP) out into the market to discover if customers would take the bait. The customers liked it and all it took was a basic landing page and a bit of hard work.

Neil Patel describes how Dropbox “started with a boring 3 minute video for their minimum viable product. It looks like a normal product demonstration. And that’s all it is. There is no code. When they released the video online, however, their waiting list went from 5,000 people to 75,000 overnight!”

These examples show how small efforts can yield some powerful information. Information that can be used to test your hypothesis and determine where to spend your next efforts.

Ash Mauyra shares his experiences of building his own MVP. He highlights that a landing page is not enough. You need to use the MVP to drive out customer reactions and test your hypothesis (ie will customers buy this product?). It is more about learning than guessing.

This got us thinking on how you go about building your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and if you could construct something quickly. Could you build your MVP in a day? What could you learn?

So think about adding a video to your website or building a WordPress blog to showcase your MVP. Ask your visitors for feedback and determine where you need to spend your time. Did this experiment stop you from wasting your energies on building the wrong product?

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

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