Skipping MVP development is a high-stakes gamble that no business should get into. Waiting too long for launching is like playing Russian Roulette with your business. Believe it or not, the odds of success will likely be against you.
The stats don't lie: 95% of new products, including all industries, fail. Large tech companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft are not exempt from that rule. Google Glasses, Microsoft Zune, and Apple Pippin were massive financial failures! That goes to say no amount of research can guarantee a viable product, especially with complex markets!
That's why MVPs are so necessary for business owners. Let alone if you've just entered the market or are an entrepreneur. Falling in love with the first version of your product is a huge mistake. MVP development's goal is not to make you feel like you're taking a shot in the dark. It's about accepting that you must refine your product to match users' needs. The sooner you launch the product, the quicker you get feedback on how to improve it!
"If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late" - Reid Hoffman.
An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is the bare-bones version of a product with enough features to get user feedback. Its goal is to validate any product's viability ASAP while creating early engaged users.
If you're thinking, "Ok, so it's not a finished product with only some of the features I wanted. The layout and quality are barely decent to enter the market. That's basically a prototype, right?" H*ll no! It's a no-finished product with minimum features.
Users must be able to use the product despite it being different from what they sought to ensure a functional product. Here, usability testing is vital for the product development cycle! An MVP is a further version of a prototype, an actual product with limited features.
"Ship early, repair later" is a famous phrase many notable individuals use to explain MVPs. Reid Hoffman and Eric Ries are some of them. Eric was the one who popularized the MVP technique in his book, The Lean Startup.
Up to this point, you should know why the MVP development process is critical. It means less exposure to financial risks as you learn what resonates within the market. Getting that quick and prior customer feedback from user flow can make a massive difference in understanding users. In today's ever-evolving tech landscape, users' needs and expectations constantly change. Therefore, it gets harder and harder to meet those expectations.
That's why tech companies are so fond of MVP and Agile Development. People tend to think that only startups or early-stage businesses should launch MVPs, yet larger companies have so much more to lose. MPVs are essential to everyone planning to launch a new product since it also optimizes the use of resources!
If you invest most of your capital in the first version of your product, you won't be able to refine it properly. Think about it. The more you save before launching, the more you'll be able to invest in user experience. Every penny will go directly to what users desire and need. Let's quickly explore how beneficial that can be for your business. According to Forrester and Roger Pressman, every dollar you spend in UX can translate into a 100$ ROI. Users are the judge and jury deciding whether a product succeeds. That's why we are a UX-driven company.
To define a Minimum Viable Product, you must start by identifying a problem for which your product will be the sole and unique solution. Once you have it, the MVP will be its simplest version. Before passing the last steps, defining your value proposition is a must!
Once you've done that, you can recognize the main features. Which are "have-to-have" for target users, and what are "nice-to-have?" This differentiation will allow you to focus on the core functionalities and remove everything that isn't 100% necessary. After that, you can build a prototype focusing on those essential features and test it internally. Then you'll also want to test it with a few users to ensure it's functional.
With your prototype, you can launch a functional product to gather meaningful feedback from users. Understand what you need to improve and iterate. Keep in mind that finding out what users want is an iterative process. Use the feedback to make the necessary changes and reach a successful product.
"Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward." John C. Maxwell.
Some of the largest companies in the world started with an unprofessional-looking MVP! They polished their product through feedback and were able to skyrocket and become big. Here are some of the most famous examples.
A great example of it is Airbnb. The company began with its broke founders renting out air mattresses to pay their rent! Further, its site didn't even have a payment option available. Amazon is another excellent example of someone building an empire out of nothing. Jeff Bezos began by creating a website so that people could buy books online. Compare that two all the features and services that Amazon offers now! And last but not least, Stripe's founders started with a straightforward website. For the record, it couldn't even accept bank process bank deals, and the website's name wasn't Stripe but "/dev/payments"!
Whether you have a promising startup or own a large company doesn't matter. MVPs will be highly beneficial for you to help your business grow and optimize your resources. Waiting too long to launch your product will make it more difficult, so go for it!