Planning to build an MVP: What do you need?
Releasing a product or service that your audience is going to enjoy can be a challenge at times, and it’s not always easy to hit the mark. You and your team could spend months or even years working on something for your target audience, only to find out that their interests have moved on, or that other teams have met their needs – and that’s just no good. You don’t want to have to waste that much time on something that could potentially fall flat, and there’s a way around that.
That’s where MVPs come in, or Minimum Viable Products. The main idea of this is to release something that’s somewhat unfinished, in order for you to get some feedback from your audience so that you can more actively work towards something that your audience has directly asked for. Having market research and a solid plan won’t always be bulletproof, so why not ask the customer exactly what it is they want and deliver on that as soon as possible?
Does it work?
Before you start working on an MVP, the main thing you need to look at is whether or not it will work, and how good it’s going to be for your business. You would think that surely, releasing something that’s “early-access” or “unfinished” would harm your reputation, as that’s what you’re going to be known for – but there’s more to it than that. While it might give some the wrong idea of what you’re able to deliver, you need to keep in mind how valuable time is. Not only is it important that you don’t spend years only to release something disappointing – but you need to produce something that gives your audience some promise.
Communication is key here, and if your customers know what you’re looking for, it gives you some leeway to work with them. The short answer to the question is, yes – MVPs can drive your business to success if it’s done right. Huge companies such as Amazon are prime examples of how effective a minimum viable product can be, and that’s the kind of success you should be striving for.
Where to start building your MVP
If you’re going to release an MVP of your own, then you need a plan on how you’re going to execute it. As mentioned before, releasing something that’s unfinished might not look great on your company’s reputation – but it really depends on how you decide to go about it. While the product or service might not be what you’re envisioning it to be, it can still be a well-functioning result that your audience will enjoy. The key is deciding what you want to put all of your focus into. An app, for example, needs to have functionality for users to interact with it – but are you going to put all of your time into adding a range of basic features, or would you rather put a lot of focus into one great feature?
There’s only so much you can deliver at one time, and the clock is ticking. Finding that compromise is highly important because it’s also the promise that you’re delivering to your audience. It needs to be something that gives your customers room to imagine what they want, and what to expect from you. Without that kind of framework, it’s going to be hard for them to provide you with constructive criticism and feedback; which is exactly what you need.
While the idea of early releasing a product might seem simple, it will have you actively trying to be more creative – despite the lesser result on release. You’re trying to get more out of less and to do that you’ve got to think about how your time should be spent. This is no time to be a perfectionist, and releasing an unfinished product that your audience will enjoy can be a much more difficult task than you’re prepared for. You need to set realistic goals for your team to work around, something that you need to reach as a minimum, and from there it will be easier to reach that.
When should you release your MVP?
As much as you may want to release something that feels finished, releasing MVPs faster to market is incredibly valuable to your company. It’s an opportunity for you and your team to learn how to work more effectively towards what’s more important for your brand, and it will help you to deliver a much more desirable and promising end result. In the end you don’t want to wait too long — it is a MINIMUM viable product, after all.