In product development, MVP refers to Minimum Viable Product and was popularized by the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. More than a literal definition though, MVP is a way of thinking. It’s a mindset of minimizing risk to chase a more probable reward – a methodology to ensure your resources are spent on the right priorities.
In product development, coming up with a new idea is easy. You probably do it daily without trying – “Wouldn’t it be great if there was this thing that did this other thing for you?” BOOM – new product idea. But executing on an idea to get it to market is often difficult (i.e. expensive). And in the end, your idea will be a success, a failure, or mostly likely somewhere in-between, regardless of how good (or bad) your idea.
Risk vs. Reward
Thinking in terms of an MVP helps bridge the gap between risk and reward. What is the least you can do to prove your idea is worth investing into further?
Taken literally, an MVP can be as simple as turning your idea into a domain name, a landing page, and a marketing campaign for less than $100. If you attract interest, customers (even just potential customers via a sign-up page), or any sort of feedback, you now have information to inform your next move – scrap the idea, tweak and iterate on the idea, or begin building.
Further Defining Viable
The term MVP will mean different things to different people and in different contexts. The example above is a literal meaning and will get you off the ground and heading in the right direction. On the other end of the spectrum is the idea of turning an MVP into a Minimum Lovable Product (and not without additional risk). When we at We Write Code use the term MVP, we’re often referring to “the next version” of your idea or product (no matter if it’s version 2 or 10), but not without forgetting the philosophy of MVP.
Build for Validation
No one can afford to build the wrong thing. An MVP allows for incremental, validated improvements rather than sweeping-change leaps-of-faith. Feedback from the real world can be just as valuable as the features themselves. This is what steers your progress forward and helps you stay on the right path.
Our goal with espousing MVP in We Write Code’s design and development process is to ensure that, together, we’re building a product that is polished, one you will be proud of, and yes, one your customers will love! But ultimately, we want to make sure that what you’re investing in, and what we’re building together, is worth building together.