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How to create a brilliant MVP

Last week, David gave a talk at Legacy Club on how to build a brilliant Minimum Viable Product (MVP). If you missed it then fear not because we have a breakdown for you.

What is a minimum viable product?

An MVP is an early stage version of a product or service with a feature set designed to make it usable by early customers who can give you feedback to help with future product development. This will often mean a small number of core features, or certain features being scaled back to their essentials.

Who needs to create an MVP?

MVPs are most valuable to start ups and scale ups with limited resources. If you don’t have all the cash in the world, your product will need to be smaller and grow with your customer base. MVPs are also helpful to those trying to reach untested markets as you can really nail down their needs through trialing your MVP. An MVP can also accelerate your speed to market and may help prove a concept to an investor.

Why is an MVP beneficial?

An MVP helps you to engage with early adopters of your product and your client base. As a company, you will have a hypothesis about what your target market wants and an MVP will allow you to measure if your assumptions are correct and gives you a cost effective way of adapting your product.

4 Steps to creating a brilliant Minimum Viable Product:

Step 1: Think big, then shrink.

In David’s terms, the goal is Australia, but the first leg of your journey is getting to the bus stop first. Think about your final goal for your product then bring it all the way back down to the smallest possible first step. An MVP isn’t about what else you can add, it’s about what you can’t possibly take away in order to still have a functioning product. David notes that this thinking technique is best when applied to the whole business whilst at an early stage, rather than just the tech.

Step 2: Really challenge yourself to define what is just desirable vs what really brings value.

A desirable for your MVP might be having an automated payment system. If you have 5 customers, you don’t need to spend money on this, it can be done manually. Things that really bring value to the customer, or help you prove your theory should be prioritised. Get your customers to play and give you feedback.

Step 3: Quality over quantity

Whilst MVP is all about cutting back, you can go too far when it comes to UX/ UI. It is far better to deliver fewer features at a higher quality than it is to have a bulk of offerings that don’t work properly or look bad. Customers using your MVP will still have a first impression of your company through the MVP so it should look good and function well. Look at what you have promised your customers and determine how you deliver the promise.

Step 4: Analytics and Statistics

There is no point embarking on an MVP journey unless you have clearly set a success criteria in which you measure the many hypotheses you will need to be testing. Embarking upon an MVP without some form of Key Performance Indicator (KIP’s), or similar metric (OKRs etc) largely undermines the purpose of the process. You’ll simply be relying on your gut. The point of an MVP is to move from your gut to an evidence based progression.

So there you have it, a rundown of what an MVP is, why it’s important and how to build a brilliant one. Of course if you want to chat, you know where we are!

David, Chris and Andrew talking at the Legacy Club event on MVPs