January 19, 2016 | Last updated on June 15, 2024

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

Written by Marc Alringer

Establishing your company’s minimum viable product can be one of the most difficult aspects of creating a new web or mobile application––the future of your company and your hard work depends on it.

The statistic for startups failing is humbling at best. And according to Fortune, nine-out-of-ten startups fail, and the main reason is simple: people not wanting the product. The numbers show it. CB Insights found that the top reason startups fail, which accounts for 42% of the 101 founders polled, is the lack of the need for the product in the market.

“That should be self-evident,” says Fortune’s Erin Griffith. “If no one wants your product, your company isn’t going to succeed. But many startups build things people don’t want with the irrational hope that they’ll convince them otherwise.”

With years of experience in software and product development, we have seen our fair share of MVPs. To ensure the greatest chance of success for your company, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Determine What You Want To Do

You need to nail down what is your product and what is your service? Are you building something completely brand-new, or are you adding on to something that already exists? For something that is brand new, that is where the MVP model comes into play.

With creating something new, you should ask yourself three questions:

– Who is your audience?

– What are you addressing?

– What problems are you solving?

It is easy to get caught up in adding “everything but the the kitchen sink” before getting your product on the market. Quite often, you need to think about features as they address your core offering. Adding non-essential features will not make a difference in the long term.

In software development—or any business for that matter—there’s nothing better than complete. There’s nothing better than having a product on the market and a team working to make the product better. You need to focus on what’s really important and nail down your core offerings.

Many times, users can become distracted from all the functionality, which bogs down the true value of the product. One of the biggest mistakes in product development is trying to do too much with your first version.

The real magic comes with the launch

The main reason you want to be very judicial with your time is because you need to get your product in front of users. There are several reasons why you want to get your product out with a MVP.

Testing things earlier

User testing is a very key component in creating a great product. Because often in the initial stages of a product build, it is just you and your team. Building a prototype, putting it in front of real users, and receiving valuable feedback, which is hard to refute.

Getting user validation

Once you have some validation from a population, you can go to work and build on it. With that validation, you can also hone in on what is important from the individuals you’re trying to reach.

Having an actual following

You cannot create a user base without a product launch. Once you have a product out, you can start having people use it. Once you gain a following, then you have a group of people whom you can market too.

It is about failing fast

The MVP conversation is more valid when we talk about how much time you can devote to a product. You can say, “I can work on this for six months,” and then work on the project. But, at the end of those six months, there is no guarantee that you will be in the same world you were in six months ago.

With the tech world, speed is of the essence. The more time you take with tweaking and adding features the longer it is going to take to get to market.

If you have something that is valuable, get it validated. If you get it out there, you can fail, and if you fail, you can fail quickly, figure out what works, and redirect your focus. But you can’t just launch and sit back—development is about constant changes and updates. As soon as you launch version 1, you have to start working on version 1.1, 1.2, 2, etc.

Let’s get to work

Nailing down a minimal viable product can be challenging. Taking the time to focus on your core product offerings and target audience, you will define a viable and valuable product. You will get to market quickly to further validate your idea and push rapid iterations based on user feedback. Focusing on your core product offerings and what differentiates you in your competitive landscape will give your product the greatest chance to see success.

Marc Alringer
Written by
President/Founder, Seamgen
I founded Seamgen, an award winning, San Diego web and mobile app design and development agency.
Top Application Development Company San Diego and web design company in San Diego

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