Minimum Viable Product – Setting The Scene

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to structure my blogs around themes instead of simply writing one-off articles. The first series I did focused on the five factors affecting product development. While I was doing this, Corona happened. So, I dedicated a few posts to that. Continuing in this theme, I will now focus on every start-up’s holy grail and every start-up’s nightmare: the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). My idea is to set the scene with a bit of context, dispel some common myths, focus on three essentials, and then bring it all together. The examples I will use are likely to be the usual suspects;  kebabs and coffee. All of this is my take on the matter. If you look on the Internet, you will find many different opinions.

As a product development house, my company Equitus Engineering Limited often speaks to start-ups. A common theme in the start-up field is a great idea but little to no cash and no resources to deliver on that idea. A misconception associated with this situation is that ‘since we don’t have cash to make a full product, let’s do a minimum viable product (MVP)‘. This is a bit like saying, since we don’t have enough cash to make a kebab, let’s just have some yogurt and spices.

So, what exactly is a Minimum Viable Product and why is it important?

As a start-up, your product idea is usually based on one or more hypotheses and some data you’ve obtained via market research or academic research, or in the rare case, you have a gut instinct. Now, in one of my earlier posts about innovation, I spoke about the holy trinity of desirability, viability and feasibility; the three factors against which you must test your hypotheses/data/gut-instinct before embarking on a full-scale solution development. A minimum viable product will help you just that. It should at the very least tell you whether or not the idea is worth pursuing any further.

To summarise this post, a minimum viable product is a basic version of your product that will fulfil all requirements functionally, legally and regulatorily. It will help validate your hypotheses about a certain problem, its solution, and give you a go/no-go to further develop this solution. It is important because it will help you get some quick wins for minimum expenditure of resources.

Next week we look at where to begin and how to begin on this journey.

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