Building a viable MVP

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Ollie Bailey


October 12, 2018

A few articles have recently suggested the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is dead; a concept that should be abandoned.

Some argue that because an MVP is unlikely to be competitive in the market, it will be unattractive to users — the MVP is an instant failure.

Others argue that customers hate MVPs, they’re usually more “minimum” than “viable”; customers want great products that they can use now — the MVP is a flawed concept.

There are a number of definitions for MVP;

The Interaction Design Foundation defines the MVP as, “the simplest core feature set of any product that allows it to be deployed and absolutely nothing more”.

Forbes describes the intended outcome, “An MVP product is a product with only a basic set of features enough to capture the attention of early adopters and make your solution unique”.

At Absurd, we believe Forbes’ definition is the closest description, with the exception of ‘a basic set of features’.

Rather than focusing on ‘minimum feature sets’ we should be focusing more on the ‘best viable outcomes’ that can be delivered with the least amount of effort.

We believe that most MVPs fail because of the intense focus on introducing lots of ‘minimum’ features that consequently fail to deliver enough value to the customer.

An MVP shouldn’t be about delivering lots of simplified features, but solving problems for your customers. If an MVP is focused on solving specific problems, then the outcomes are far more likely to be useful and desirable to your customers.

Do your market research, test your proposition and plan an MVP to solve a subset of important problems for your customers. This approach is far more likely to appeal to early users of the product or service and provide valuable feedback so product teams can test, learn and iterate effectively.

With the correct focus; the MVP sets the foundations for building and developing great products and services.

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