In my previous blog about the new venture development, I wrote about the Lean start-up technique and build – measure- learn process presented by Eric Ries in the ‘The lean start-up: How constant innovation creates radically successful business’. One of the tolls of the lean start-up approach is creating an MVP (minimum valuable product)
What is MVP?
“…the minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning with the least effort” Eric Ries (2011)
The MVP is the first version of the product and often lacks many features. It is the cheapest and most effective way to gather essential feedback from the customers. The feedback gathered aims to help to validate the idea and asses the market need. If the idea is accepted, the team can work on developing a better version of MVP with the features that customers consider essential. If the idea is not accepted, the company has a chance to pivot early on in the process, without wasting too much time and money. The MVP concept can be confusing at the beginning, however when we look closer it actually makes a lot of sense. Delivering an unfinished product to the customers sounds scary and would paralyze most of the companies owners. However, an MVP is the first alteration of the product that is fully usable and serves the purpose (fulfils the need of the customers that we assumed they have). Our assumptions of what the end users need might be wrong. That’s why MVP testing is such a clever idea.
Here is a picture made by Henrik Kniberg, that presents the MVP concept and the video with the explanation.
The interesting thoughts presented in the video was to think big about the end product, but deliver in small functionally valuable increments and that every test ( carried out even on one customer) will teach us more than none.
When is the best time to launch the product?
Drew Houstons’ (CEO and founder of Dropbox) answer to that question cited in (Mathieu Carzeno,2016) states that “There is a spectrum of well-informed opinions about when to launch your product. At one end, Paul Graham tell entrepreneurs; “launch early and often” to accelerate learning. At the other end (respected software guru) Joel Spolsky says: Launch when your product doesn’t completely suck”.
Often it’s hard to decide when to launch the product, but Mathieu Carzeno gives an advice in his article to follow the check list and answer few essential question before launching the product.
- Evaluate risks associated with not being able to deliver the minimum value you are promising.
- What do you already know? What is it you still need to discover related to market and value proposition? Is that critical NOW?
- What are the features you can forego for initial launch? Are they critical?
- Will I really add value with this version of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? (see infographic)
We will be applying those concepts to our start-up and working on MVP in January and I’m looking forward to it. 😊
Ries, E. (2011). The lean start-up: How constant innovation creates radically successful business. London: Portfolio Penguin.
Comi,A. and Song, J. (2018)’STARTING LEAN: MVP & VALUE PROPOSITION’ [Power Point Presentation]. BS7708:Design Thinking for Start-ups Available at: https://canvas.kingston.ac.uk/courses/9283/pages/starting-lean-mvp-and-vp
Carzeno,M.(2016)’What mistakes are killing your startup? #5 and #6: launching too early… or too late’[online] IESE Business School Availabe at: http://blog.iese.edu/entrepreneurship/2016/12/13/whats-killing-your-startup-18-mistakes-to-avoid-5-and-6-launching-too-early-or-too-late/