During our meetings with prospects, we encounter this question frequently.
For most, once they have an idea the natural progression is to develop a product as quickly as possible. In many of the cases founders act like the ‘minimum’ part is the goal. Or worse, that every potential customer should want it. This is unfortunately unrealistic and a dangerous practice, and no matter how good the concept is, could result ultimately in failure down the road.
Here are some of the basics of an MVP approach:
MVP — the book’ish definition: A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users.
MVP — SimNation’s take: Designing and developing your product with just enough features to validate your assumptions and proactively go to market faster.
After the establishment of MVP, the measuring will take place along with learning through the feedback and metrics of the MVP. Then the learning, a continuous process, will start immediately by building the features of the product.
Based on our years of experience, we believe that it is extremely difficult to get the product right in first shot if you are not the end user. So the key to success is quick iterations in the right direction. This is the key to execution. This is what Lean Methodology tells us to do.
If you try building a product with all features quickly and do not validate consistently, there are 2 major pitfalls.
- Building features which no one uses.
- Building features that do not work properly.
This results in all the time and efforts spent on those features are in vain. Leaving you the only option to start over again with new features and new set of workflows.
In contrary to the above, by applying agile methodology you can develop your product in an organized & structured way. A step-by-step validation of your assumptions provides a better learning to develop a product that your customers actually need. Validation of your assumptions is the key to build the right product for your users. The learnings from validation will provide the needed velocity for your product’s development.
It is better to obtain a working product which has minimum features to run your business instead of a product that has a lot of unnecessary and unusable features.
Gradually adding more features to your product by obtaining your customers’ feedback will help in applying changes in product development and deliver a better user experience.
Moreover, with the feedback-driven product development, your business will get a great referral for your product. The ultimate goal for any startups is to establish their strong positioning in the market with a viable product.
To summarize our learnings for MVP, that can be split into 3 steps:
- Start with a simple product, solving a tiny problem.
- Keep iterating, while constantly solving bigger problems.
- Constantly communicate the vision of the Grand Problem that you are trying to solve.
We believe Elon Musk is someone who understood the MVP correctly and built his empire with that approach.
- He started with a very niche segment Electric Car, he solved the single problem of developing a great looking car that runs on electricity.
- As a next step, he kept iterating product such as Battery life keeps improving so that cars drive further, performance improves: 60mph in 2.28 seconds, self-driving technology reduces accidents, etc.
- He now has a grand vision is to make world free of fossil fuel and to do that he started with Tesla Part 2 which introduces electric busses and trucks, the Tesla merger with Solar City and the imminent completion of Gigafactory.
As we say, every product keeps improving and as Musk’s ultimate vision is a planet powered entirely by the sun and eventually multi-planet habitation. He is not the world’s best communicator and many of his speeches are awkward (he is getting better with time). However, he has captured the world’s attention because he constantly communicates his vision, while delivering MVPs along the journey.
In conclusion, SimNation will help you develop the first version of your product (MVP) fast. The idea to solve the most critical pain area, validate the most important assumptions in the business plan and building a product with minimum features which helps you get to the next step; taking your product to market, providing viability, making revenue and then moving on to the bigger picture.