Navigating the MVP Dilemma
Minimum Viable Product - The Essence
After an initial conversation, they engaged our services, and we decided to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) through a Story Mapping exercise and thorough review of all product requirements. It soon became apparent that our perceptions of what constitutes an MVP differed significantly. This is not uncommon as we frequently need to clarify for entrepreneurs the distinction between an MVP and a full production-level product.
By definition, an MVP encompasses just enough features to satisfy early adopters. Startup entrepreneurs often want to pack every possible feature they can think of into their platform in order to “satisfy” their early adopters. They are often hesitant to withhold any features for future iterations out of fear of disappointing early stage users, receiving poor reviews, and destroying their product’s credibility before they can even get it off the ground.
This common misconception highlights the importance of consulting with a technical team experienced in full life cycle product building in order to reduce their risks and better manage their resources and capital.
Master Your MVP Planning
Your MVP doesn't need to have all, or even most of the features envisioned for the fully finished product. It needs to have just enough functionality to attract early users and demonstrate the value of the concept, which is subsequently followed by an iterative process of adding additional layers of requirements over time. After several iterations, you'll have a full product with robust features that has been tested and adopted by your users, and ready to scale.
Adopting this approach allows you to frequently deliver changes to your users, which keeps them returning to the app. It also facilitates an efficient development process which allows you to reach the market faster, and if things go sideways, ensures you've spent less time and money on a failed venture.
Minimize Risk, Opt for an Agile Approach
The moral of the story for entrepreneurs, especially those just starting out, is to take a step-by-step approach. Validate the idea first; you don’t need to create a product with a full suite of features and functionality right away. Begin with a no-code app, and once you're confident that it will work, invest money, iterate, and then enter the market after validating your concept and gaining early adopters.
Throughout the process, adopt a gradual approach and try to de-risk each step. By following this method, you'll learn about the process, become more comfortable with what you're doing, and minimize risk.
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