baby
Newborn are not full featured, just like MVP

An MVP must be an ugly baby

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Lots of companies want to be agile but it is quite usual to misuse the concept of Minimum Viable Product.

If you’re MVP is not ugly, probably you launched too late

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product

Release early, release often

Eric Ries
Eric Ries

Eric Ries is the inventor of the concept of MVP and popularize it in The Lean Startup.

He is saying that some companies may have good reasons to ship only once, when it is right.

Some others would prefer to release early, release often. That’s how you learn with some real customers about what they like and what they want. But how Minimum should be the MVP?

Minimum

According to Eric Ries, probably most of the entrepreneurs would put two times the number of features in there MVP. His advice: cut in half. To choose is to forsake.

Viable

If we think about babies, they don’t know how to speak, they don’t know how to walk, unlike many animals. But, they have all the vital organs from the 4th month of pregnancy. More important, babies know how to learn, which will allow them to develop new capabilities.

What is absolutely necessary in this MVP. Could me survive without this feature? Could we not launch earlier without it and learn quick? To be sure of having only the vital functionalities, you must go to the bone and remove the superfluoues.

Product

A product is an object or system made available for a user. The product must go out of the door. It must meet its customers so that they use them and will give you some feedback.

Innovation method introduced also the concept of Minimum Awesome Product (MAP): it is a product that has one diffentiating feature on the market that address the biggest customer pain point.

What are the pitfalls?

When you work on your MVP, you should not:

  • Incorporate too many features
  • Focuss on maximizing the chance of success but instead fail fast, fail often
  • Delay the launch of the MVP because “we are not ready”
  • Forget to ask the customer what they like or dislike about this MVP and what they want next. Feedback is a gift.
  • Try to make money from the MVP; the goal should be to learn, not (yet) to make profit
  • Make it appealing; you should instead try to solve a problem
  • Try to find and incorporate the killer feature: it is only once the MVP is launched and probably after several other iterations that you will identify what the customers like the most
  • Consider the MVP as unchangeable. It should be the exact reverse.

You have a true MVP if it’s an ugly baby: unfinished but probably already adorable and with a great potential. The parents are already proud, so is the rest of the family.

Edited on October, 22 to add more pitfalls
Editied on October, 26 to add the concept of MAP

Photo credits:
Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash
Photo by stux on Pixabay

Sources:
MVP, Eric Ries, August 3, 2009
MVP Video on YouTube, Eric Ries
MVP SlideShare, Eric Ries
The Lean Startup, Eric Ries

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