MVP = Minimum Viable Product
“The minimum viable product is that version of a new product a team uses to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” – Eric Ries
The term MVP – coined by Frank Robinson – was brought to popularity by entrepreneurs Eric Ries and Steve Blank. To put it simply, the MVP is the most basic form of a new product that can be utilized to generate information on consumers’ interactions with the product for market analysis. This information can vary from a consumer’s purchasing habits to their preferences. From there, the collected information is used to determine if a new product will be successful on the market.
“You’re selling the vision and delivering the minimum feature set to visionaries, not everyone.” – Steve Blank
Minimal Viable Product Example
For example, you have an ice cream business and want to add more flavors to the menu. Instead of using resources to purchase every possible flavor of ice cream imaginable, we start with the simple flavors – chocolate and vanilla. Based on the success of the business thus far and the feedback from customers, you can tailor your menu to their preferences and add flavors the consumers want. This will, in turn, save you time, money, and the headache of an unwanted ice cream.
The goal of the minimum viable product is to keep costs to a minimum while maximizing learning. Startups primarily benefit from using such a strategy because it allows them to test, evaluate, and modify their products efficiently while reducing the risk of failure.
As previously stated, Ries, known for his lean startup movement, made efficient use of the term and brought it into the limelight. His philosophy of the lean startup movement stems from the Japanese idea of lean manufacturing. This idea implements the practice of increasing value-creating procedures while reducing wasteful ones. With that in mind, Reis adopted the principle of an MVP since it follows nearly the same principles as lean manufacturing. This same ideology is shared globally from fresh startups to international corporations because of its many advantages. In the end, an MVP allows a company to move forward.
So if you ever want to become the greatest ice cream tycoon ever to roam the planet, creating an MVP is a step in the right direction.