Marvellous MVPs: What They Are and Why You Need One

App development, Software Development | 0 comments | by Erin Quilliam

If you have ever come across Eric Ries’s “The Lean Startup”, or lean methodology, you might have heard of the term MVP – the Minimum Viable Product. In this post, we are going to define what a minimum viable product is, what they can do, and why you should consider them for your business or next product.

What is a Minimum Viable Product-minWhat is a Minimum Viable Product?

An MVP is a product that has been developed with a focus on just the core, necessary features needed to solve a problem.

In other words, it is the product produced to marketable quality and able to fulfil a specific need but has the minimum features required to solve this need.

However, the ‘product’ part of MVP is not a strict part of the definition. It could be applied to a product, a service, or a business. More often than not, it is a method of testing a business hypothesis.

In the case of software development, it will refer to a tangible software product. (For example, a mobile or web app.)

Examples of an MVP-minExamples of an MVP

There are many examples of minimum viable products that have gone on to become ridiculously successful. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a thriving business that wasn’t once an MVP. Big names like Facebook, Amazon, Dropbox and Twitter all began life as minimum viable products.

But one of our favourite examples is Zappos. This is because it brilliantly illustrates the essence of an MVP.

Originally, Nick Swinmurn – founder of Zappos – wanted to prove that there was a market for selling shoes online. He set up a basic website and would visit his local shoe shops to photograph the shoes they had in stock. These images were what went on the site as if they were browsing his own stock. Whenever people bought the shoes on his site, he would then visit the shoe shop in person to buy the shoes and then ship them to his customer. 

The entire purpose of this was to prove that people would buy their shoes over the internet.

This is a fantastic example of an MVP. It was minimal, with only a rudimentary website and no inventory. Yet it was enough to prove the concept and begin service. There were real customers and legitimate money changing hands, so it was a working and successful ‘product’. Yet from these humble beginnings, Zappos went on the become worth over a billion dollars within ten years.

The Benefits of an MVP-minThe Benefits of an MVP

Due to the limited nature of the product or service provided by the “minimum” aspect, an MVP is an extremely time and cost-effective way to test and launch an idea.

Even a more complex MVP such as a mobile app can take less than two months to design, develop, test and launch. This reduced development time also means that the cost of the project is greatly reduced.

In addition, with fewer features and reduced complexity, there is less available to go wrong. This means that an MVP reduces the risk of failures. The reduced time and cost also reduces the risks associated with launching a new product, because there is less investment at risk if the product doesn’t perform as successfully as anticipated.

Click here to read more about the benefits of developing a minimum viable product, or try building your own.

Marvellous_MVPs_What_They_Are_and_Why_You_Need_One-minWhy Should You Use a Minimum Viable Product?

The main reasons you should consider following the MVP method come from the benefits. It reduces the time and cost of launching a new product or business.

As mentioned above, this means that the risks associated with launching a new product are reduced as there is less investment at stake. Another benefit of this is that it makes the project more attractive to investors due to the reduced risk.

Furthermore, if you are launching a product to fulfil a specific need or gap in the market, an MVP provides the quickest method of developing and launching a functional end-product. This allows you the competitive edge, being able to deploy a solution before your competitors.

MVPs can also be used in the development of prototypes, not just end products. You can read more about MVPs vs software prototypes here.

If you would like to find out more about developing an MVP for your business, you can book a free discovery session. The session is an opportunity for you to discuss the feasibility of your idea with us, and we’ll give you in-depth advice and guidance about how you can develop your MVP.

Our rapid development process means you can develop an app in just eight weeks, for one fee.

Book your discovery session today to start developing your own digital MVP.