Today (March 29, 2011), marked the fourth meeting of LeanCofffeeKL, and our topic of discussion was about MVP or Minimum Viable Product. These are notes for the meeting, so we can keep in mind what we discussed. A lot of these notes will be presented in bullet-point to keep it to the topic.

First, what is MVP?

“The 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

One idea with MVP is learning the most you can by doing the least. Another suggestion regarding MVP is the least you can do to launch an idea and ship it, the better. MVP is aimed towards early adopters more than your end users. Early adopters are:

  1. More forgiving
  2. More likely to give feedback
  3. Able to grasp product vision The difference between end users and early adopters are your early adopters may be a select group of
    users who specifically work in the industry you are targeting, generally you want users who can bring value to your testing. Using an analogy of building a car, do you plan the design of the car or it’s features first? Generally, you start with what the car absolutely needs: engine, wheels, controls, chasis, but the look of the chasis comes afterwards. Worry about what’s inside the container, before worrying about the container.

Techniques for an MVP:

  • Product: (Smoke test) The canonical MVP strategy for a web application is to create a mock website for the product and purchase online advertising to direct traffic to the site. The mock website may consist of a marketing landing page with a link for more information or purchase. The link is not connected to a purchasing system, instead clicks are recorded and measure customer interest.
  • Feature: (Deploy first, code later) A link to a new feature in a web application may be provided in a prominent location on an existing website. The feature is not implemented, rather an apology, mock-up, or marketing page is provided. Clicks of the link are recorded and provide an indication as to the demand for the feature in the customer base.

When planning out features for your MVP, you need to ask yourself the follow questions about each feature:

  1. Does this [insert word here] achieve a pupose?
  2. Is it worth it?
  3. Do you struggle to determine how to execute a feature?

Resources, useful reading to learn more about MVP: