As an entrepreneur in our digital age, MVP is an acronym you will hear often. And, unless they’re specifically talking about you, MVP probably doesn’t stand for most valuable player. In fact, they more than likely mean minimum viable product. And by minimum viable product, they mean the product/project version you can release with the least amount of resources while still learning the essential information about your consumers.
Understanding the concept behind the MVP is crucial for entrepreneurs. Being able to release an MVP, acquire the essential data, and make adjustments puts you much closer to your customers.
When dreaming up a product or large software project, its easy to plan out a long list of features to include. Some of those features are absolutely essential to your project, while some of them may not add any value at all. And the truth is that all of those features will take time, money, and other resources to develop. As the entrepreneur, you now need to determine which features are a fit for your MVP.
Answer some of the questions below for insight on planning out your MVP.
What is the primary business and market around your project?
Does your idea solve a problem? If so, is it a problem specific to a certain group of people? How can you monetize your idea?
If the answers to these questions aren’t immediately obvious, then you may need to re-think your value proposition. A clear business offering makes it easier to determine which features will add value.
How will users/customers interact with your product?
Who are the users of your product? If the product solves a problem for them, what actions do they take during the process?
It is important to understand how your users will interact with your application. Of course, you can leverage your intuition to predict how they will use the app. But it is always best to ask them directly. Don’t hesitate to run a survey and ask questions about your features, or usability.
What are your competitors doing?
You have an idea of how the business around your product will function. And you’ve thought about what kind of problems you can solve for your users. Take this information and compare it to what competitors in the same space are doing. It’s great to get an understanding of competitors of all sizes, small to large to mega-jumbo.
How are my competitors priced? Are there areas they are excelling in? Areas they are lacking in?
Are there some features that are obvious requirements for the MVP?
Do users need accounts to be able to access private information? Is it essential to include an interactive map in your product?
Most projects will have a few very obvious feature requirements. The rest of the features that you include in your MVP might be a little more challenging to determine.
Do you have a minimal list of features that can still generate revenue while acquiring users?
Using the thought process above, evaluate your original list of features and order them by priority. Look at every feature and ask:
- Does it solve a problem?
- Does it make the user’s journey easier?
- Is it a necessary function for my application?
- How did this feature score on the survey?
After ordering your list by priority, go through and ask yourself if someone would use a product with only feature 1. Maybe not, so what about a product with feature 1 and feature 2? Continue to do this until you come to a list of features that you believe people would use, and one that ideally generates revenue.
Your MVP is important. You will leverage it many ways over the life of your product. A well-planned and properly developed MVP lays the foundation for future improvements to your product. It helps to gather insight on your user base. It can help an investor see the potential in your business. And it is often the most cost-effective, first version of your project.
Special thanks to our guest contributor: Evan Marsh, WynHouse Software