Minimum Viable Products: Why MVP Methods Build Better Products

If you are considering a minimum viable product (MVP), you may have questions. MVPs come from the lean start-up methods developed by Eric Reis and Steve Blank. It has changed the way businesses understand product development. Using this methodology when creating new digital products can save time and money. You could even launch an entirely new successful corporation. Some top companies that developed their ideas using MVPs are Facebook, Amazon, Dropbox, Groupon, and even the beloved iPhone.

One of the key reasons why using MVPs has had this type of success is the complete focus on user needs. When you take a primary product and communicate effectively with your users, you can develop additional functionality based on what users want most. For example, Twitter was started as an MVP; it did not have the features today when it began. Nevertheless, Twitter came out with a minimally functional product, and over time, the platform was developed to meet the needs of its users. Read further to understand some crucial aspects of MVPs and build your ideas today.

Table of Contents:

  1. Test Your Way Forward
  2. Focus on Your Customer
  3. The Journey of the Iterative Process
  4. Examples of High and Low-Fidelity MVPs
  5. MVPS Launch Tech Leaders

Test Your Way Forward

Are you ready to step out and launch your dream start-up? It can be exciting and sobering when you understand the facts. According to studies, over 75% of all start-ups fail. That is nine out of ten. Worse yet, when it comes to digital platforms, eCommerce marketplaces, or mobile applications – nearly 42% of these businesses admit that they failed because they discovered no market for their product.

So, what can you learn from this? Well, you now know that these businesses failed as a direct result of their overreach and not testing for market needs. Using MVP methodology can help you avoid this pitfall. While your idea may be fantastic, are you ready to fully invest with the idea that your idea is that one out of ten that will succeed?

Many small companies and even large ones begin to develop a product based on their idea of what they think people want. Investment is put into building the perfect product only to discover it's a bust. Creating a tangible, viable product can be perfected using MVP methodologies to focus on what your customer wants.

How to focus on customer needs? Testing. Testing. Testing. Please don't assume that you know what they need; ask! MVPs work well because there is stringent testing done from the beginning. When you build a basic version of your end product with minimal working features, you can then release it to your current customer base and thoroughly understand their behavior patterns. Your MVP is the most basic version of your product and gives you information and feedback from your users.

Working together with your MVP team on your end product is essential. If your MVP is a misrepresentation of the final product, it can distort your testing and have issues launching. You want a "viable" version of your product, which is critical. There are three ways to test your MVP:

  • A/B Split Tests: While working with your MVP, you may find that your users seem disinterested. A/B testing can be used to target what the issue is with your product. It could be that a specific function seems cumbersome. You may find that users don't care about the color scheme. Whatever the issue, use A/B testing to find a resolution.
  • Interviews or Focus Groups: This can be an excellent way to gauge how your users view your product. Face-to-face interactions can give you more than essential feedback. Users can discuss with you directly why they use your MVP, what they like or don't like, and even request future features you may not have even thought of, so get to know your customers well if you want to deliver a fantastic end product.
  • Social Media and Surveys: Use social media to find your users and listen to comments about your product. Add interactive surveys on your social media accounts to get direct feedback from your followers about their excitement level for the new product. You can even offer free prototypes and ask users their honest opinion.

Testing early on is key to knowing early whether your idea will be successful or not. Save time, effort, money, and more by using accurate prototypes and listening to your early adopters. Remember, the product is not for you – it's for your consumer.

Focus on Your Customer

Gartner suggests that the MVP is the one corporate product that is genuinely "customer-centric." At the same time, the entire idea is to build something with features based on your customer's wants. While Gartner questions whether "acceptance criteria" is the acceptable way to understand what is valuable to your customer, it may overlook that the entire concept of the MVP's collected data will include 'actual' consumer data that can be compared to 'general acceptance' results.

Consumers may feel 'on the spot when asked something as simple as "Do you like this new feature that gives you optional methods of contact?" The customer says, "Yeah, that's great!" but in the end, they have only used the feature once or twice. It can mean the element itself is wanted but needs some fine-tuning.

When you want to build a successful MVP, it isn't about one data collection method. Instead, it's the aggregate of all the different data, including actual behaviors that can be tracked and quantified. In short, the key here is about listening to the interpreted data, which will help guide you to better focus on your customer needs.

The Journey of the Iterative Process

The journey of creating an MVP and moving to your final, complete product is truly an iterative process. The iterative process is defined as the concept of building, improving, and refining a product or project. When you work with an MVP development team, they will use the iterative process to build, test, and make needed revisions until the final product is successful.

Imagine building the world's best gaming chair. You have a prototype, say a wooden chair. From there, you add wheels and better materials, but you are still not quite there. You've upgraded to an office chair. As you talk with your potential users, you learn that gamers spend a great many hours playing games consecutively. Things like extra lumbar support and comfort are desired qualities. You add comfort, then realize that they would like built-ins, like speakers and movement (vibration), to immerse themselves in the gaming environment truly. In the end, you successfully build one of the best gaming chairs on the market. You started with the most minimal product and worked your way to the end.

There are successful non-iterative ways to achieve your goals. Waterfall methodology is a commonly used process. In this method, your team will define phases, and new stages only begin when the previous step is completed. Before building the project, requirements and plans were set, and these are strictly followed. Although you can create successful products this way, the cost is more significant, and the chance for failure is high.

Examples of High and Low-Fidelity MVPs

Did you realize that MVPs can be far more than websites and mobile apps? It can be surprising the number of examples. Minimum viable products can fall in one of two categories, either high fidelity or low fidelity. Low-fidelity MVPs gain understanding, check for value, investigate problem-solving, or explore solutions options. High-fidelity is geared toward learning price points, discovering early adopters, defining market strategy, and identifying growth strategies.

Low-fidelity MVP examples:

  • Customer Interview
  • Blogs
  • Landing Pages
  • A/B Testing
  • Informative Video
  • Ad Campaigns
  • The Micro-survey
  • Creating Digital Prototypes
  • Forums
  • Paper Prototypes
  • Audience Building
  • The "Fake" Door Strategy

High-fidelity MVP examples

  • 3D Models
  • Digital Prototypes
  • Crowdfunding
  • The "Wizard of Oz" MVP
  • The "Concierge" MVP
  • The "Piecemeal" MVP

Whoa! Hold up; now it is the Wizard of Oz? These types of high-fidelity MVPs may need a bit more explanation. Do you recall the man behind the curtain? The Wizard of Oz type of potential product is that – potential. Companies "fake" that they have a new product or put up a front. They inform consumers, and rather than spending the money to build a completed MVP; they hire human interfaces (much like customer service) to determine if the idea is viable before investing. Concierge versions (often mistaken for Oz versions) involve real up-front human interaction. The work may eventually be automated, but testing is done with actual human workers. The Piecemeal example falls somewhere in the middle. At times there are functions or integrations that don't work well together. You use some automation and a combined human interface to create a fully working feature. Then, you can quickly determine if the new product is a "go."

MVPs Launch Tech Leaders

Ready to be a tech leader? When you want to build an MVP for your idea, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Everyone hopes that their tech start-up will become the next successful tech company. If this is your goal, you don't want to develop your product thoroughly, invest money, and then miss the mark. If your goal is the chance at a very successful MVP that can be finalized into a valuable and popular product – you need an experienced MVP team.

At DataCose, we can listen to you, your company goals, and your idea for your new product. Then, we can use our experience to guide you through the initial decision-making phases. Our team can handle every step of MVP development, from initial requirements analysis and A/B testing to the end result of a fully-developed and functional product. As a result, we develop the top tech ideas into viable, marketable products.

When you are ready to think through your options in MVP development, fill out the form below, and DataCose can help with a no-obligation consultation. Start today; you may be sitting on the world's next great idea – let's create it before the competition beats you to it.

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