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About Rajaraman Raghuraman

Rajaraman Raghuraman is a highly passionate software craftsman with 8+ years of experience in the IT industry. He is also the owner of AgileDevTest Blog (http://agiledevtest.blogspot.com) and author of an Ebook "Programmer's Motivation for Beginners" which is available at http://programmersmotivation.com.

MVP – Minimum Viable Product strategy

Not all good ideas turn out into great products.  There are quite a few products that fail in the market due to a variety of reasons.  But does it stop us from investing in the Products? How do we find out if a Product is going to be a hit in the market?  And more importantly how do we find that out by investing the minimum amount possible.  Enter MVP – The Minimum Viable Product.

The concept of MVP is getting acceptance throughout in the area of Product Development.  It is a concept largely used by start ups.  And it will immensely help new product design and development in larger organizations.

What is an MVP?

Our objective with a Minimum Viable Product is to provide a mechanism for maximum learning about the target audience or the target market with the minimum effort.  Does it mean that we only ship 3 out of the 10 features that is required to hit the market at the earliest.  No.  The concept is beyond just the product features.  A Minimum Viable Product takes into account the Product idea, how it generates interest among the users, what features that the customers or the market really wants, demand for the product, etc.  It is a strategy that is used for learning about the customers early into the product life cycle, so that they can make the changes for the good.

Strategies for MVP

  • A survey for the likely features of the product
  • An email campaign to see the interest generated for the product
  • A website which shares videos, articles about the features and the benefits to the customers
  • Continuous Deployment (An Agile Practice, which can add more value to the business incrementally providing more learning)
  • A prototype / demo version of the product featuring the critical features
  • A closed beta for only very few customers

Why do we need MVP?

  • We do not have endless budget to build products
  • We want to cut the risk of a worst case scenario.  What if the product fails after 2 years of hard work?
  • We want to stay in the business yet not stop experimenting for potential opportunities

Benefits of MVP

  • Maximum learnings from minimum efforts
  • Early feedback about the product
  • Ability to realize the true value / demand of a product more quickly
  • More energy into the product development as we see some real demands

Demerits of MVP

  • Difficult to conceptualize the apt minimum.  There is no pre-defined rules for coming up with a minimum, it is pretty much judgemental.
  • Need to alter the product road map according to the feedback / learning which might be possible only with teams that are Agile.

The concept of MVP is i deal for start-ups and new R&D products/ideas, where your feedback cycle needs to be really fast.  It is better for a start-up to fail with a product idea in 3 months than 1 year.  The time and effort that is saved due to a MVP strategy is a big boon for start-ups and even larger organizations trying for new R&D product/ideas.

Thanks for the read.  Hope the post was informative. Comments are welcome.

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John Peltier
8 years ago

I think it’s important to recognize that it is possible to sell / market a product before it’s even viable. If you agree with me in disputing that a landing page is a “product,” it makes sense to think you can do some test marketing as you’ve indicated here to help identify what is required for viability. I think an MVP could be a throwaway / prototype, but if you’re doing it right you’ll continue to inspect and adapt, and build what’s required to build a customer base. Then you may not want to rely on something flimsy that wasn’t… Read more »

8 years ago

Hi John Thanks for commenting. I agree with you on the fact that it is possible to sell/market a product before it’s even viable. But I guess for people just starting up, it might be a tedious task and it requires a good Product Manager to have certain skills before trying that approach. A safer approach would be to build incremental versions of the product and keep learning. Even I am not fully into the Prototype approach, but again as I said, it is probably an easier version of the MVP so to speak. Getting an MVP right is a… Read more »