MVP. The Secret of Successful Products
Where Do Great Products Start? What Should You Pay Attention to? How to Avoid Mistakes? All the Details Are Given In Our Article.
MVP: Background and Concept
In 2007, at an Industrial Design Conference in San Francisco, entrepreneurs Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia discovered a problem — there aren’t enough rooms for everyone who wants to stay at the hotel.
What Did They Do?
Having bought air mattresses, they took a picture of their apartment and launched a simple website offering anyone wishing to spend the night in such conditions at an affordable price. To make the offer more interesting, they treated their guests to a free breakfast. The service was named Airbed and Breakfast.
They hit their target audience, solving 2 key pain points:
- there are no vacant rooms in hotels;
- the room rate is too high.
Now, Airbnb is a full-fledged platform that many travelers use.
How Did They Do It?
During the conference, the guys discover a problem with no solution offered yet. Having built a hypothesis, the guys quickly checked the demand for short-term rental housing from the owners instead of hotels with minimal investment. This was a pure MVP.
So What Is MVP?
MVP (minimum viable product) is a product that has enough functionality to satisfy the first consumers. In fact, MVP is a hypothesis that is tested on real users, thereby probing the market and the demand for the idea.
Good MVP Principles
- The product has value due to the solution of the client’s pains, which makes him/her want to benefit from it.
- Focus on a key product feature that will be reflected in all further versions.
- Analyzing feedback for filling gaps and product improvement.
What’s the Use of MVP for Me?
As a founder, you strive to make your product cool and widespread, want recognition of the idea in the world. Perfectionism and your wish to immediately create a complex product, with expanded functionality, 60% of which won’t be used, can play against you. Do users need the final version of the product right away? Have you to risk everything and waste large resources on development?
According to statistics, 47% of startups do not move to the next stage after their MVP due to the fact that the idea is not viable in the real world. To minimize risks, they use an MVP. This helps to focus on one key function of the product in order to release it as fast as possible. After that, the product is tested on real users.
The value of an MVP is real feedback, not surveys and interviews with hypothetical users.
Only real user testing gives you the following insights:
- how much the market needs the product in its form;
- whether the product solves pain points to which it was originally directed;
- expectations and interests of users for the product rework;
- where to move next and whether to transform the product into something else.
Situational Examples of a Good and a Bad MVP
You analyzed the market and figured out that people are tired of walking and want to travel long distances. Your task is to give them this opportunity with the help of your product, let it be a car.
In this case, the key parameters of the product are:
- long duration of the trips;
Making such a product in separate stages is a road to nowhere since each version of the
product does not cover users’ needs in any way and does not correspond to all the characteristics of the conceived product. Besides, consumers will not be able to use any of the product versions — they’ll have to wait for the final version to fully understand the concept and accept it (or not).
In this case, you ignore all the advantages of MVP:
- testing ideas and hypotheses;
- saving resources for the first test of ideas and hypotheses;
- adjusting the orientation of the company, depending on the market needs.
Play small. Create a product that would meet your users’ needs. Remember, it’s important to release a product for testing your idea with as few resources as possible.
In this case, each of the product versions covers the key characteristics of the final idea. It’s just that each of the following versions does it more and more efficiently.
The most important thing is that all of these products can be used at the time of their release, without waiting for the final version. Thus, when the final version is released, users will love and get used to your product.
With this approach, it’s also possible to get an MLP — Minimum Loveable Product. That is, a product that completely suits the consumers. For example, it happened at the bike stage. This means you don’t need to upgrade your product to the car stage.
What should I pay attention to in order not to make mistakes when creating an MVP?
A well-crafted MVP saves time and money by avoiding being overwhelmed by the little things.
However, there are some issues that almost everyone faces.
- Perfectionism. Don’t try to make your product perfect right away — you will only lose more. The key goal of an MVP is to test your idea and market demand fast and cost-effectively. At the same time, the MVP must be of high quality, with key features that will be reflected in all the following versions of the product. Be sure if the idea is really cool — you will be appreciated.
- Functionality. Optional and unused functionality is your personal financial loss during development. Plus, it can be frustrating for users because of the unnecessary complexity. At first, create only key features that help reveal the idea of the product.
- Ignoring feedback. Remember, you are making a product for your users, not for yourself. Accept criticism and reactions towards your product sensibly, even if it differs from your vision. Users know better what they need more.
It’s important to remember and clearly understand that MVP is a small, full-fledged product for testing ideas and hypotheses, focused on solving only one problem of a narrow range of users. After all, it is faster and more profitable to scale a small and demanded product than to rework a complex and worthless one.
There’s a misconception that an MVP is unnecessary because it is an incomplete product with a huge number of bugs and gaps that cannot be used properly. Be aware that such an opinion is a sign of unprofessionalism or misunderstanding of this process’s importance in product development, which has a direct impact upon further success.
The Phenomenon team does not impose its opinion on everyone — we just express our position and values when working on your projects. We are respected for our approach to work, which is reflected in each case. Our goal is to create clients’ product value through conceptual design.
See the examples of using MVP in our projects on our Behance:
Read more articles by Phenomenon Studio on Medium: