MVP = Minimum Viable Product

Whether you are an aspiring product manager or an entrepreneur who just got into software industry with an idea to build the next “It” App, you have probably heard about MVP.

The original term was introduced by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup Framework. if you have not read the book, try and fix that mistake ASAP.

Many in the industry refer to an MVP as a basic version of a product, which isn’t exactly true.

A Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort – Eric Ries

As you can see, an MVP, or an MVP Experiment, is the smallest version of a product a PM or an entrepreneur build with the least amount of resources in order to get real feedback and find out if their idea will work. An MVP Experiment lets us collect Quantitative Data, the information that we can actually measure and put a number on, unlike Qualitative Data that is measured by verbal feedback from the users and customers.

There are several types of MVPs, but in this post I wanted to mention the types that are the most useful for startups, or the companies with limited resources and who do not have much of a product yet.

Explanation Videos MVP

– You use videos that explain what the new features will do

You can make your videos either as a Tutorial or as a Commercial

In a Tutorial you explain how to use a specific feature, even if it’s not real yet, by adding video effects that make it look real. Pretty cool, huh?

In Commercial related videos, you are making a fake promo that pitches the product by explaining its benefits. Remember Mailbox?

This type of MVP will require some resources, but you don’t need to build the whole product or write a line of code in order to gauge customer’s demand and interest to back up your assumption, that your idea is indeed valuable.

Pitch MVP

A Pitch MVP is when you create one singular page – a landing page – that pitches the benefits of the product. You put a call to action button somewhere on the page, and then you drive traffic to the page. You can gather very useful data before you invest into development.

That’s pretty much how Kickstarter works.

Piecemeal MVP

Instead of building your product from scratch, you take what’s available in terms of out of the box software, you piece them together, and you can get the functionality you need to test your basic version.

There are a lot of available services out there that let you get the functionality you want to build and test it out before you invest into the actual development. The biggest problem with this option: the Frankenstein will never be a real boy, and these type of MVPs tend to be clunky and awkward in terms of UX. However, with proper research and careful integration, you can end up with a working MVP that will not only collect the needed data, but will also get your product initial user base, while saving a lot of resources.

The Email MVP

This one is the least favorite of mine, for it always smells like Spam.

Having said that, this type of MVP, if combined with another type of an MVP (Pitch MVP, for example) can produce very good results.

All you need is your potential or already existing customers’ email list and a personal touch to your writing skills. By pitching them on a new product, you can see how they react in a simulated scenario.

I wouldn’t recommend trying this technique with new customers, who have absolutely no idea who you are, and who are not even in your target audience segment, so don’t mass-send these emails, because you’ll do nothing but annoy people and most likely damage your brand new brand.

So, there you have it. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about MVPs and Product, feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly.