Whether you’re a fan of MVPs, the truth is they exist, and they play a viable role in the software development market today. If your planning on embarking on a Minimum Viable Product take these advantages and disadvantages into account.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product that includes basic features — enough to attract early-adopter customers and validate a product idea early in the product development cycle. In the field of software development, an MVP can help a product team gather user feedback as quickly as possible, yet still leave room for subsequent. By contrast, a product that was further along in the development phase might involve such a hefty investment that making adjustments down the road can be difficult.
MVPs were first introduced by Eric Ries as part of his Lean Startup methodology. He describes an MVP as “the version of a new product that allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least amount of effort.”
Benefits of MVP
As I mentioned briefly above, mature products are the result of years of development, with a significant amount of time, resources, and money spent. One of the primary reasons why people prefer MVPs is because it allows the product to be launched into the respective market you’re looking to target and thus gather user feedback without making a big financial commitment. If you’re trying to test the waters and, frankly, are short on cash, this option is preferable to more sophisticated coding solutions.
Once your businesses begin to gain more users and gather more information that will inform the direction of the product from the MVP, you will be able to invest more funds and do so in a more targeted and intelligent manner.
2. Delivery time
The short time frame in which you can go from having a vision of your product to actually releasing it for public consumption is also a major factor that makes companies choose MVP. The key is to meet the immediate needs of whatever problem your application or product is looking to solve.
3. Proof of Idea
If you think there is a problem you can propose a solution to, an MVP can help you validate this idea. This is important because when starting a new product and even if the initial market research has been done properly, stakeholders are still leaning on some assumptions. An MVP is the easiest way of proving that your idea has merit.
4. More flexibility to react to customer requests
Since MVPs can be developed quickly and with minimal investments, you are more flexible and ready to react to user feedback you receive. This will allow you to see what the competition has that you don’t, as well as what your users need and expect. Based on this information, you’ll be able to work with your software development team to make the necessary adjustments and improve your product.
5. Ability to change the business direction easier
Aside from making improvements to your product based on customer feedback, an MVP will also allow you to learn what resonates with the company’s target market and what doesn’t. By the time you get through a certain phase of development, you honestly may realize that your business needs a complete overhaul in terms of the direction it’s headed in. This is not a pleasant point, but at times it may be necessary.
The good news is that with a minimum-investment product, making these adjustments will be less painful.
Drawbacks of MVP
1. The MVP needs to be correctly defined.
The process of developing an MVP requires that you be very tactical and targeted about what you want. Otherwise, you may end up spending more money and time exploring different options because your mission wasn’t properly defined from the get-go. The too small scope will not represent the product correctly, while too big will defeat the purpose of an MVP.
2. Choose your technical stack and architecture wisely
I understand this point may be more challenging to meet if you are not familiar with what development tools will go into this process. That’s why it’s imperative to have someone on your team who does.
To really make less mean more, both your technical stack and architecture need to be meticulously selected. Pro tip: Make sure whatever you do choose to use can handle scaling in the future.
Essentially, MVPs are an excellent option if you’re looking to launch your product quickly and with minimal costs. This is also a suitable way to go if you’re looking to test the waters and validate a market idea. Finally, MVPs leave room for you to be flexible so you can respond swiftly to user feedback and scale the product in the future.