Frank Robinson coined the term MVP in 2001 in one of his books called Lean Startup. Minimum Viable Product or MVP is an application that maintains customer interest with minimum functionality implemented to collect feedback on the usage and expand the product into a fully functional system. MVP aims to cover the basics of what is considered true of customers' preferences. Another goal of an MVP is to collect as much relevant data as possible to validate the hypotheses and to understand the growth trajectory of the product.
Optimum product or minimum loveable product (MLP), on the contrary, is a solution that goes beyond meeting minimum requirements demanded by a customer and provides additional features that improve the experience with the app.
Put another way, MVP is a practical and scientific way for identifying the hypotheses' validity and discovering customers' needs.
SMEs and startups build MVPs before they begin generating revenues. Most of the time, MVPs get tested by certain focus groups and specialists, and only after they are released for public use. Whenever a business has specific criteria that have already been tested, such as an old app that needs to be redesigned and updated, it can go with an optimum product or MLP development. Often, such development has non-fixed budgets and relatively flexible deadlines.
Minimum loveable product development gives the ability to focus on a more comprehensive spectrum of features, allowing for a more personalized and choice-rich app experience.
Planning and Execution
Proof of Concept (POC)
POC is the initial step of MVP development which is used to validate an idea or feature within an MVP. Before any testing is performed, any business needs to research and analyze the market of interest. The process would include analyzing segments and subsegments, competitors, and identifying your target audience. Then, the company approaches selecting a range of products or services of interest. Often companies choose between doing these:
- Copying a product that's already on the market.
- Fusing functionality of the few products that are already on the market into one.
- Creating a product with features that have never been made before (Startups).
At this stage, a business creates personas, user stories, and use cases that describe in detail interactions with some aspects of the system you are trying to build.
Companies often use mind maps, flowcharts, and backlogs to outline each action that Alex has to take from the start until finish. For instance, adding the feature that allows a user to leave a note in the form of code will go to the backlog. The logic and architecture are also defined at this stage. Multiple personas are used with different action paths if the app has numerous roles.
One of the most crucial aspects of making an MVP is scalability. Whenever you build a product, you must take into account the variability of ways it can expand depending on how the customers adopt it. For that, business analysts, stakeholders, and IT architects must consider how the tools and tech they select will play out in the future.
For example, if a business decides to release an Uber clone, should they use native development with Swift and Kotin for both iOS and Android, or should they select a hybrid approach using React Native or Flutter? If you choose Hybrid development, you can build the app faster using fewer resources; however, once your customer base increases, more people will demand higher performance and features that are native to the platform they use. If you choose Native development, you will have more flexibility in the future, but you will also invest more time and monetary value in the beginning. There are always tradeoffs of choosing one tool over another, and, therefore, a business should consider all the variables before making a choice.
We begin designing the product roadmap once we have our personas, user stories, user cases, mind maps, flowcharts, and backlogs for each role and feature. Product roadmap prioritizes development processes and sets timestamps for when a particular product element needs to be started and completed.
Each backlog task gets assigned to a specific product development team. Different companies use different methodologies when it comes to project management. For example, Wezom uses Scrum methodology. By the end of each week, the team presents a certain number of product elements assigned to be made at the beginning of the week. The cycle continues until the product is completed.
Businesses commonly use many other methodologies. You might encounter companies that work with these:
- Waterfall methodology;
- Kanban methodology;
- Scrumban methodology;
- Agile methodology;
- Lean methodology;
- Adaptive project framework (APF);
- PMI's PMBOK;
- Six Sigma methodology;
- eXtreme Programming (XP).
Testing and Refining your MVP
For example, when it comes to automating business processes, one of the main goals is to make sure that the app saves the company more time and resources than doing the job manually. To test this hypothesis theoretically, a company can use surveys, social experiments, interviews, and more. However, practical testing is what really refines the product. Imitation is often considered the most efficient way to detect inconsistencies and improvement areas. Often, focus groups along with QA engineers would play the role of the end-user by trying out every feature of the app that has been developed.
Let's take an order management module in a typical CRM system and compare it with manually calling a person to gather the information. To prove that a CRM system is more effective in handling the task, we can perform focus groups and test the hypothesis by benchmarking the following parameters: compare how many people prefer calling over texting and vise-versa; track time it takes to gather data from using both channels; rate the convenience of using one system over another;
The company collects the feedback and refines the product until there are no bugs and inconsistencies. Once the product is fully operational, it's released for beta testing by the public. Only after the product gets approval by a beta set of users, here comes the MMP.
Minimum Marketable Product (MMP)
Before the commercial release, you end up with a minimum marketable product. MMP is often a title more advanced than MVP and is ready to be marketed and sold to the people. Consider an MMP a stage between MVP and MLP product.
With an MMP, you can start generating revenues. The audience you target with your minimum marketable product will be those who prioritize innovation over the number of features. These folks will become the first wave of real customers with the most unbiased feedback you can collect.
Post-Release Feedback and Analytics
The real magic happens when the public gets to know your product for the first time. Despite countless cycles of testing done pre-prerelease, real customers will always find ways for improvement. You would have to listen carefully to what the public has to say about the app at this stage. Use both qualitative and quantitative tools to track the activity across the app. Understand what areas and features are used the most and what gets neglected. Identify what can improve user experience and plan for future releases.
Besides the ability to generate revenue, you get the opportunity to collect valuable information that can be used to improve your product. There are multiple methods to collect this information. Number of downloads, percentage of active users, average revenue per user (ARPU), number of people who stopped using your product, ratings, usage statistics, and many more metrics can be used to evaluate the success of your MVP. Before you can strategize the expansion of your product, you first need to make sure the initial MVP is well-adopted by the users. According to Enkonix, a good rule of thumb is to achieve a rate of 1.5% of all users who make at least one purchase (if there are any) from the app, 1 out of 3 users open the app once a month, 1 in 10 should use it daily. In general, the price you pay to acquire a new customer should not be more than 33% of the lifetime value of that customer.
The initial wave of feedback drastically impacts the trajectory of your product. Here is where you can start personalizing the customer experience and use more features to keep them engaged and loyal to your product.
MVP is the basis of data-driven business, allowing you to bring your product to the market as fast as possible. If you supplement or creating your MVP with a great development team, user feedback instruments and keep the approach customer-oriented, you will always strive and remain successful.
Are you looking for people who build superb MVP and MLP? At Wezom, we guarantee excellence when it comes to product development from scratch. We make products that deliver tremendous value to both stakeholders and end-users with a team of 250+ highly experienced and passionate software engineers, business analysts, marking specialists, designers, and project managers. We've already created excellent products for John Deere, Toyota, Riel and can help you as well.