The Only Minimum Viable Product Checklist You Will Ever Need.
Creating a perfect market worthy idea can take time but using a minimum viable product checklist can help!
One way entrepreneurs test out ideas in a new market is by using a Minimum Viable Product.
They launch the product into the market before it is complete and keep improving on it to meet the needs of the customer. Look at it as an avenue to learn on the job.
Companies like AirBnB and Uber are major players in creating a minimum viable product before the release of the final product.
Today, the list of businesses that test the waters with their MVPs when launching out are increasing. The purpose of the MVP is to deliver immediate value to the customer meeting their needs at little cost to the business.
However, many start-ups are not very sure on how to go about it. So do you need one and how do you get it right? This article gives a checklist to make the creation of your minimum viable product easy. But first, what is a Minimum Viable Product?
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What is Minimum Viable Product?
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A minimum viable product is a product that only has the essential features to meet the pressing needs of the customer. Watch the video above to get in the right mindset.
For many businesses, it is the first put out containing enough features to attract customers in the early stages of the product.
It can also be seen as an early version of your product that whets the appetite and is commonly used by many businesses before launching the full fleshed software or product.
MVPs are different from your product prototypes or the beta version of your product. Prototypes could either be pictorial representations or a product miniature.
However a minimum viable product is in itself the product that is ready to be used by the customer and not a picture or on a slide nor a work in progress. You can call it the real thing but without extras which the customers can already use.
It is called an MVP because it fulfills the requirement of being a product that delivers the minimum value to the customers.
Your product or MVP has a purpose or a problem it should solve and you should never lose sight of that.
Although a product is ready to be used, it displays only the lowest number of functionality and packages without compromising the value delivered.
Why a Minimum Viable Product?
One reason companies and businesses enter a market using MVP is because it allows them an inexpensive way to learn. Many businesses are employing MVPs for their benefits such as;
- Testing usability:
Launching a MVP can help your organization test the product early. This way, you can pick out what features to retain or to remove from the main product.
These are often gained through feedback from users showing what part they enjoyed using and what part they would want removed or upgraded.
- Market validity:
By pushing out the main concept or idea, you can assess the market acceptance rate. You might not be able to fully assess how the market would react to your product till it has been released.
By identifying the perception and acceptance of different groups, you would be able to know who your active users are and tailor the main product towards satisfying them completely.
Similarly, you would be able to identify the demand for your product or service through an MVP. Since you are making the core functionality available, you would be able to note whether or not your product is meeting a need.
- Reduced risk and excesses:
With a MVP, you can take the feedback from customers adapting them into the final product. This makes it possible to eliminate the risk associated in the manufacturing process.
It is also possible to gradually implement additions and upgrade on the products till a final polished craft is made.
It also makes it possible to keep your products focused. Some products have so many unnecessary features that make them lag in operations.
Perfecting your final product from a minimum viable product, allows you to focus on the things that are really needed by the customers.
This way, you save time and resources building what really matters instead of getting distracted.
- Winning over investors:
With the basics of your product, you could win over investors for the big product. Investors are seeking to put their monies into profitable ventures that would earn returns. One way to convince them you are worth a try is to show your MVP. Since there is a product with an existing market and customers, securing these buy-ins should not be so difficult.
- Faster release time:
A big advantage of an MVP is that it quickens release time for your final product. Procrastination and delays in building extensions for a software or product can be long.
Notwithstanding, by placing the MVP, you have your product already meeting needs while you can continue working on extended developments.
Besides, nothing gives an actual understanding of the extensions you need to add than an already released MVP.
Creating A Minimum Viable Product
Many start-ups begin their entry into markets using minimum viable products.
While this is beneficial, many do not reap the benefits because they do not know how to get it done.
Creating your own MVP is not difficult to do if you know what to do. Here are five easy steps to make your minimum viable product creation easy.
Identifying The Problem
Many ideas are birthed as solutions to different problems and as a result, MVPs are created to solve problems within a market.
As an entrepreneur, you can start by understanding the challenges of your target market. Several questions such as what problems would you meet?
Why should people consider your product above your competitions should be raised and properly answered.
There are often several issues or needs to be addressed. Your duty is to figure out which one you want to and are able to proffer solutions to.
In fact, by focusing on solving a problem, getting the perfect idea your prospective customer needs becomes easy. As an entrepreneur, never forget that to build a product that sells, it should have the customer in mind.
Also, look into what changes can be made to the existing solutions to the observed problems, what technologies can be employed as well as what new things can be added. Answers to these questions give ideas, prompts and birth innovations.
The selling point of a start-up is innovation. Thus to stand out, make profit and impact, your product should be unique.
Do Your Market Research
From the first stage, you should be able to notice several problems and identify solutions. Next, you should run research to help you understand the market trend and the potential reception of the customers to your products. This way, you validate the ideas you have and avoid creating failed products.
Apart from the market trend, you want to also understand if your idea or suggestion is acceptable by the potential customers.
You could get reviews and feedback from potential customers through online surveys, questionings and presenting your ideas to professionals.
You would also want to carry out research to understand the cost of developing the project at each stage.
Here you would take into account the estimated cost of building and marketing the MVP bearing in mind that you would want to scale it up much later. Determining the prices of your products can also be estimated through the research phase.
Part of your research entails understanding how your competitors are. By clearly knowing them and what they offer, you would be able to know how to deliver a unique product free of imitation.
By analyzing your competitors, you would also be able to see how they meet the needs of the consumer and what voids exist in their services.
Define The User Flow
Remember that you are building a product for the user hence their interest should be towards satisfying their needs. To do this, you have to see from their perspective often following the results of your market research.
It is necessary to pay attention to what goal they would want to achieve using your product as it would help you create a useful MVP.
With your users’ goal in mind, it is important to define the user flow for each task. This simply means to outline the stages or tasks your users would take in ultimately reaching the desired goal. What is your product for and what steps are required for the user to make optimal use of it.
You can start by highlighting all the stages or processes your product would cover in customer satisfaction. Think of it as a map to guide the user from their entry till their purpose of using your product is achieved.
For instance, if you are creating an online store, your product would have stages that allow your customers to browse, buy, make payments, confirm orders and exit.
In mapping out the user flow, remember to keep it simple. There are several tasks a user might want to get done, ensuring each task at the different levels can be accomplished easily.
For your MVP, there is no need to overburden the process. Stick to the essentials, others can be added later.
List the necessary features and prioritize them
With a clear product in mind, the next stage involves identifying what features of the main product are necessary and must be included in your MVP.
From the stages identified above, you note important stages that contribute to user fulfilment. For each stage, you should define what features are necessary for its smooth running.
Once that is done, you identify which ones are important in line with the action you want your users to accomplish.
Identify other features that are also important or that you want to offer as well as those that do not really affect your product. Those that are essential to the purpose of your product are your core features and constitute the framework of your MVP.
After listing all the features needed, you should prioritize them based on how important they are to the essence of the product and the direct value you are providing. You can begin to build your MVP with the main features needed to achieve your needed goal with your product.
Other features when compared might not be included in the MVP and could be shelved for the main product.
Build, Test and Learn
Take it as you have a well-drawn map for your product you can create prototypes to help create a simulation of what your project should look like. When you are past the draft or design part, you can begin the development of your MVP.
For this, ensure you have the best hands to make it perfect. Although it is an MVP, never be tempted to build it sketchily or to make it empty.
After building, it is also wise to test the product before releasing it into the market. Although an MVP, you do not want to send out a shabby image of your company or brand. It is wise to commit this stage to development experts skilled in the area of your MVP to avoid errors.
Also remember that your MVP is an avenue to gather feedback and reviews from users to help improve your product.
Including the feedback feature makes it possible to learn what is needed and what features can or should be removed to satisfy the users. It also allows you to measure the performance of your product with time.
Common mistakes to avoid in minimum viable product creation
Often, entrepreneurs make mistakes in minimum viable product creations that negatively affect not just the MVP but the whole product and the business. Common mistakes that should be avoided include;
- Not doing a research
Research is very important for any product development. Many entrepreneurs jump out on a great idea without checking if it meets the needs of the market.
The result is a lot of products no one is interested in or a lot of MVPs that cannot be upgraded to the final product.
Although a feature or two might be interesting, you need more research to select the perfect features on which to build your MVP and final product.
Issues with determining pricing can also be solved from research findings.
- Wrong development team and methods
Creating an MVP requires just as much effort, knowledge and skill as building any project so you need the best methods and hands.
When creating your development team, select people with the right knowledge and skills for the product you want to build.
Also, ensure each phase has the perfect method that would allow a scalable project.
- Building too small
Another error many start-ups make in developing their MVP is to build too small MVPs. Yes they should have minimum functionality and be as lean as possible.
However, cutting down features so much that the full functionality of the MVP is affected should be avoided.
For instance, in building a website, there is no need to trim off the sign-up page or replace it with an ineffective
It is also important that your MVP can be scaled when it gets successful. Many start-ups create MVPs that are too small to handle growth or a sudden spike in the number of users. The result is an abandoned or failed project.
- Cutting corners.
An MVP is a product that has minimal features, yet you do not want to send out a poor reflection of your brand.
Many businesses do shoddy jobs on their MVPs with the plan to make it better later. However this can mar the reputation of your product with little or no interest in it.
Pay close attention to the details ensuring everything is working properly. Do not be in haste to go live without confirming the effectiveness of all the features.
- Skipping Prototyping
Launching an MVP is not an alternative to prototyping. Prototypes are built after the research phase to offer understanding on the product and what is needed to build them.
Minimum Viable Products however, are built after corrections and adjustments to prototypes have been made.
When creating MVP, do not forget that these would be used by the consumer directly so you would want to make it as error-free as possible.
- Forgetting Feedback
MVPs are built to receive feedback necessary for the continuous development of the software or product.
Many entrepreneurs forget that creating an MVP is just the beginning for a long lasting product. Forgetting to include a good system of receiving feedback defeats the whole purpose of creating an MVP.
Your users should be able to relate their experiences using your product as well as what part they would want removed or upgraded.
The result is that you have no way of knowing exactly what the customers want, making the transition or development difficult.
Your MVP is a plus and an easy way to enter the market and build confidence amongst your customers.
By proving your customers with value while working to improve the product, you create the perfect recognition for yourself within the market.
Apart from the affordability around building MVPs. There are several benefits you would gain in this process.
Many entrepreneurs forget that building an MVP is a process and forget several important parts of the journey.
By following the checklist provided in this article and avoiding the mistakes mentioned, creating the perfect MVP should not be difficult.
What should an MVP include?
An MVP includes the core functionalities of your product with no additional features. This is often a representation of the market needs as assessed through research. From identifying the users and their needs in line with the features needed for each stage you should be able to create a perfect MVP with the essential features.
How do I prepare for MVP?
- Identify the problem or need in the market you want to meet.
- Do market research for a proper understanding of your customers, the technology or methods in the niche and the competition.
- Define the user flow of activity at each stage.
- List all the features needed for your product and prioritize them. Features that do not rank highly might not be included in the MVP and could be delayed a bit.
- Lastly, build your MVP, test it and be willing to learn through the process.
Why is MVP important?
Building an MVP is important in speeding up release time for your product. They also help you remove unnecessary features in your product and can be used to assess the acceptance of a product in the market. A product already released such as an MVP is perfect for sourcing fundings from investors.
What is the rule for building your own minimum viable product?
Minimum viable products are built to be focused on directly satisfying the needs of your customers or users. The main rule here is to remove features, stage, processes or efforts that come off as extras. They might seem important but if they are not necessary, they should be removed and could come in much later in the final product.
What is MVP in product management?
Minimum viable product is the simplest form of a product that offers the essential features for the customers without the company using so much effort. It is used to gather feedback and responses from customers as a way to help the business learn more about the market. For many businesses, it is first introduced to the market before other functionalities are added.
What is a minimum viable feature?
A minimum viable feature is a feature of a product that requires minimal effort to be built. MVFs have specific uses and offer users definite values. These features get developed quickly and can be sent out as part of the product for consumers to use.
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Table Of Contents:
1. What Is A Minimum Viable Product?
2. Why A Minimum Viable Product?
3. Creating a Minimum Viable Product
4. Common Mistakes To Avoid
5. Minimum Viable Product Checklist