Advantages of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Feb 7, 2023 | by EastBanc Technologies

To assist a customer in realizing a notional business vision, EastBanc Technologies has found the development of a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to be an effective method of rapidly establishing a foundational framework for a digital solution. An MVP streamlines the process of a product’s initial deployment, which in turn facilitates an earlier feedback loop and assessment of a product’s commercial or business value.  

A core principle of the Lean Startup methodology, an MVP is an initial version of a product or solution which has been developed using minimal resources and over the shortest time possible by delivering only the core features or components needed to assess a product’s value.  Author of The Lean Startup, Eric Ries, defines an MVP as, “…a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” The goal is to identify the features and functionality a product should deliver to a targeted group of users. The MVP therefore serves several functions: 

As such, an MVP is a learning tool. By focusing on a limited set of features, an MVP provides early verification of a product’s business value or market demand and, after release, allows initiation of a feedback loop between business, tech and customer teams to refine assessments of a product’s business value, test basic user flows and begin defining future iterations. 

How to Build an MVP – A Step-by-Step Guide  

  1. Perform Market Research and Establish Customer Engagement 

Ideate a framework for the MVP, with a focus on the minimum functionality necessary to provide business or commercial value. For commercial products, perform market research to include comparisons of the cost and capabilities of potentially competitive products. For system modernization or enhancement projects, identify an existing product’s core capabilities and work with customers to formulate a gap analysis to conceptualize the future state of a solution.  

  1. Design Notional Features, Use Cases, and Workflows 

Design features that map to potential business or commercial value and then define use cases and workflows that would demonstrate the ability of each feature to provide its intended value. Draft this initial set of features and user flows with enough granularity that the feature set is more easily refined and scalable. 

  1. Prioritize and Determine MVP Features  

Prioritize features that to be included in the MVP and base a feature’s priority on its ability to confirm feasibility, add value and promote feedback. After prioritization, estimate the level of effort required to develop each feature, and then determine the set of features to be included in the MVP. Any features that are not deemed essential for an MVP can be documented and considered candidates for inclusion in future iterations of a product. 

  1. Design, Build and Test the MVP 

When designing the UX/UI of an MVP, apply the same principles as you would to MVP features. Part of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Lean UX practices are an effective guide to approaching the UI/UX of the MVP by incorporating collaborative design while maintaining a constant focus on the benefits and necessity of a product’s design elements. Similarly, for the MVP development effort, functionality should be limited to MVP-prioritized features, use cases and workflows. When the initial MVP has been developed, perform QA and testing of the MVP. 

  1. Finalize MVP Users, Establish Feedback Methodology and Launch 

Prior to the launch of the MVP, ensure that a plan is in place to perform outreach to the planned user community, and establish a process for supporting the user community and collecting feedback. You may also want to define the timeline of initial and subsequent assessment phases. Then launch the MVP and begin that process of support and feedback collection.  

  1. Collect Feedback and Assess Usage 

Using planned feedback collection methods, begin reviewing user comments, surveys and product usage metrics to assess the MVP’s commercial and business potential, and to identify any business or commercial deficiencies.  

  1. Determine the Product’s Prospective Path 

Establish a methodology to review all feedback and lessons learned about the MVP’s performance to define a product’s future. This could be a Go/No-go decision, new features suggested by user feedback, and/or a reprioritization of features to be included in future iterations. 

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