The MVP principles are known to almost all newbie entrepreneurs. Startups, based on this concept, appear every day. That’s why software companies make full-cycle MVP development one of their main services.
However, there are entrepreneurs who get this method wrong. And only after trying to implement it, they can understand its real value. If you are not ready to take this path, then here are some facts about MVP development that you would like to know.
Fact #1: MVP isn’t always about cutting costs
The MVP and the Lean Startup method are perceived as a way to launch a company with minimal costs and even start making the first profit. Although an MVP requires fewer resources for development than a full-fledged product, it still doesn’t always lead to significant cost savings.
The MVP scope and complexity may vary greatly, depending on the type of product and the goals it is expected to meet. Besides, you often have to go through several MVP iterations in order to achieve the desired result. The MVP itself can change, new features can be added or removed, and so on. All this, of course, entails additional costs.
The choice in favor of MVP is often made by small newly launched startups. Their entire budget is usually intended for the development of an MVP, and not a final product.
Fact #2: MVP development is a repeated cycle
The development of an MVP should be approached on the basis of hypothesis-driven thinking. It means that the entrepreneur puts forward a certain hypothesis that needs to be validated with the help of the MVP. This could be a hypothesis of whether a certain problem is present in the market or a hypothesis that tests the solution to the existing problem.
You will be lucky if you find the answers to all your questions and confirm all your theories instantly. Most often, it is safe to say that the development of a hypothesis-driven MVP continues until the entrepreneur runs out of hypotheses, or until the desired hypothesis is validated.
The process of MVP development is a “build-measure-learn-implement-repeat” cycle. One of the main tasks of the MVP is to collect unique feedback from real users, based on which you can make the necessary changes. Very often, the whole cycle needs to be repeated several times before you decide to proceed with the large-scale development of the final product.
Fact #3: MVP isn’t always about the actual product
Despite the fact that MVP stands for a minimum viable product, it doesn’t always require building a working product or something that can be used by customers.
It depends on the hypothesis you want to test. For example, if you are willing to prove that there’s a problem in the market, you don’t need to create a product that will solve this problem. All you need is information from real people. Such a hypothesis can be validated by interviewing focus groups or creating a short presentation that will describe the problem and how the future product will solve it. This is exactly what Dropbox founders did by using a video clip.
Another good example is Zappos. Its creator decided to check whether people would be willing to buy shoes online. For this, he built a simple landing page with a few photos.
Both the Dropbox and Zappos cases can be called an MVP, though there are naysayers who believe that only a real product that brings value is an MVP. But this is a conversation for another day.
Fact #4: The Lean Startup method can be applied to large companies
One of the most popular misconceptions is that the MVP concept is only suitable for small companies and startups. There are reasons to agree with this statement, albeit with reservations. As we have already hinted, MVP is not a product, it is a process. And since MVP is a process, it is applicable to a wide variety of companies of any scale.
In essence, MVP is not a set of strict rules and not a precise plan of action to achieve a predictable result. The essence of MVP is to help companies succeed in business with minimal risks by creating what the customers really need. MVP is simply the most rational approach to running your business. Big companies use this approach all the time, even though they don’t call it MVP thinking.
In the end, we would like to say that there are people who will refute the above facts, as well as people who will confirm them. This happens because different people perceive the MVP differently as the term itself is rather vague. Some think that this is a product, while others perceive it as a process. Hence the debate on this matter is ongoing.
However, the above information is backed by real experience, and you can always find confirmation of these facts on the Internet.