What is an MVP in Product Management?
An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a product development strategy that focuses on building the most essential features of a product to satisfy customer needs while minimizing risk and maximizing ROI.
MVPs for Product Managers
What is an MVP
An MVP is a strategy to quickly validate your product by building enough features to attract real users and start gathering feedback. The MVP concept was introduced by Eric Ries, creator of the Lean Startup.
Minimum means you are building as few features as possible to solve a customer pain point and attract real users. Viable means your product delivers at least part of your value-proposition, so users have a reason to come to you. An MVP should be good enough to meet the needs of early adopters, but without significant investment of time, effort and resources. Think of it as a ‘soundcheck’ for your product.
Why Implement an MVP
As a Product Leader, your MVP exists to help you minimize the risk of product failure and help your organization maximize ROI. By focusing exclusively on the most essential features of a product, an MVP allows you to get to market quickly, learn from customers, and iterate based on feedback. This saves time and resources while increasing the chances of success.
How to create an MVP
To create an MVP, start by identifying the core features of your product that solve the main pain points of your target customers/users. Then, build the most simple possible, no-frills version of the product with only those core features and launch it to the market. Track metrics such as Product Adoption and User Feedback to validate that your Product has a chance of success. And then if it is validated, use that feedback to iterate and improve and increase your market share.
This methodology for creating MVPs is known as the test-measure-learn approach, which has four key steps:
Develop a hypothesis for what the Minimum Viable Product could be
Test the hypothesis by building and launching it
Measure customer response to the product
Learn based on the measured response and iterate on the product based on what you have learned.
When to use MVPs in Product Management
Use an MVP when you want to test an idea, feature, or product before making significant investment in it. Minimum Viable Products are often used by bootstrapped startups who need to validate an idea before soliciting investment, and by corporations who are launching into a new market—especially when this market space is crowded and success cannot be predicted.
An MVP in action
“Before making a significant investment, we started with an MVP to quickly validate the product idea and get user feedback. User adoption was high, so we increased investment with a second iteration.”