What is a MVP?
A MVP is a product designed to prove or disprove one's assumptions about a problem. As actions speak louder than words, an MVP is used by early adopters, which gives a founder crucial feedback on how users interact with their product. “Minimum” means not many resources go into building the MVP. At the same time, the MVP must be “viable” enough to accurately prove or disprove one’s assumptions. Your goal here is to validate or invalidate your hypotheses on problem-solution fit. During this phase you’re building the barest version of a product or feature that solves a problem well-enough for the customer to understand the value the solution provides. There is usually a lot of human assistance in this version of the product (either in the form of manual processes in the back end, or person-to-person helping the customer experience the solution)
Common Mistakes Founders Make
Waiting too long to put your MVP in the hands of customers
Not having proper methods to receive actionable feedback/data from testing the MVP
Focussing on building something minimal, but not viable
Spending thousands of dollars on building an MVP, only to find that there was never a problem to solve in the first place.
MVP can be as simple as creating an appearance of a working app using landing pages and doing everything manually on the back-end, or offering a service that, all the way to building custom-apps.
The first version of Expedia or Agoda could’ve been a 1 page website that claims to be your online travel agent saving you hours of time in finding flights or hotels (note, no booking or deals yet, just saving time). The website could collect the customer’s preferred travel dates/times/destination using a form, and you do the search on the backend and email the customer the potential flights and hotel. You can get feedback on time saved, response time for email etc. - helping you understand what they value the most.
Another would be to offer a service as a product: universal scheduler/calendaring for local businesses - in a particular street, post online/offline in next door/neighborhood coffeeshop bulletin boards about your website/app and make reservations in the back-end individually
Real World Example
Dropbox used a simple explainer video as their MVP.
They shared it with their network and see what their reactions were! Read all about how they went through with their MVP here.
Lean Startup, Eric Ries, Steve Blank, Agile Development, Minimum Viable Experience, Lean Methodologies, Feedback Loop
The Lean Startup Methodology Eric Ries - Author of the Lean Startup
An MVP is Not a Cheaper Product Steve Blank - Stanford Professor and Best Selling Author
The Ultimate Guide To MVP's Vladimir Blagojevic - Founder of ScaleMyBusiness.com
How to Design an MVP Alex Cowan - University Lecturer and Startup Advisor