How to come up with an MVP(minimal viable product) from just an idea?
One of the biggest challenges I have faced is around understanding the idea of a MVP. Everyone understands the importance of it, but I found it very difficult to understand how to come up with a MVP the first time.
If you are reading this post, I am assuming you have a basic idea of what MVP is, but in any case, here is a definition I like the most out of million definitions out there.
"MVP is a concise summary of the smallest possible group of
features that will work as a stand-alone product while
still solving at least the “core” problem and
demonstrating the product’s value" - Steve Blank
With this post I am aiming to answer the question - How do you come up with the smallest group of features as stated in above definition?
As usual I am going to try to keep this post small even though this is a beast of a topic.
So you have a brilliant idea, which solves a problem you face all the time.
Before you even think of MVP,
Test your problem hypothesis, which means figure out if other people also face this problem. Very important. This is the stage where most people fail. There are million ways to test hypothesis. The best way is to interview people/customers and systematically figure out what problems they have.
Once you know other people also face the problem you faced, it is time to think of MVP. I have come up with a list of pointers below that have helped me take the confusion away.
- First thing to keep in mind is that minimal is as important as viable. Most people concentrate on one at the expense of other.
- Think of a solution that you can most quickly come up with, which will solve the problem. Does not matter if it is crappy. Quickly means it is minimal and if it is solving the problem even in a poor way, it means it is viable. Look at the visual below to make sense out of this point.
-Whole point of a MVP is to show value enough to attract early adopters and collect feedback. This feedback is what everything is all about.
- It may take time to get those early adopters or early evangelists to test your MVP so do not get discouraged if you do not get early adopters right away. Try all sorts of mediums like social media, friends, blogging, quora etc.
- When you get early adopters and they say it does not solve their problem, pivot to a different solution else persevere and add on.
- Friends are not early adopters. They will be biased in their opinions or not representative of how your target customers will behave.
- Landing page is not a MVP. It just talks about how you are thinking of solving the problem.
- Lastly, there will be times when you may be required to make decisions on the fly without any real feedback - times when you need to innovate. During those times, one thing I have always found useful and you may have heard it million times but only few practice it - is to put yourself in customer's shoes. Write everything down that comes to mind and read it next day. Pick the one that makes most sense. It really works.
Image Credits - Startupquote.com