Three Essential Ingredients For A Successful Minimum Viable Product

Over the last three weeks we set scene for developing a minimum viable product and then we looked that basic groundwork that needs doing before embarking on this journey. We then focused on three common misconceptions around developing a minimum viable product. Today we focus on three essential ingredients to develop a successful MVP.

Ingredient 1: Effectiveness

In one sentence, the MVP should do what the fully developed version of the product will do, in terms of necessary functionality. Let’s briefly go back to the example about the economy seat in an aircraft from last week. The basic functional requirement of an aircraft seat is to accommodate passengers for the duration of the flight. It needs to comply with all the legal and regulatory requirements regarding structural strength, assembly, safety and other critical features. It needs to meet a mandatory minimum dimension. It needs a platform to sit on that offers basic comfort, and a recliner to rest the back and the head. It needs to have seat belts for passenger safety, and the gap between successive rows of seats must be large enough to rapidly evacuate passengers in case of emergency. It might require a foldable tray for food and drink.

So, as a minimum viable product, an economy seat serves the purpose. All other variants such as Premium Economy, Business, First, and more recently, the residence are built on these basic functionalities, with luxury enhancements.

Does your MVP do everything it should, functionally, legally and regulatorily?

Ingredient 2: Consistency

In one line, the product must do, what it should be doing ten times out of ten. Remember your MVP is to offer all the functionalities of the end product with only the basic features. This means, it needs to be consistent, and more importantly, reliable. If your basic offering is not reliable and consistent, there is no point in going further. Let’s continue with the seat example. What if the economy seat breaks? What if the seat belts don’t work? What if the minimum distances stipulated for safety aren’t maintained between successive rows of seats? What if nuts, bolts and other fixtures fall off mid-flight? All these things are a sign that the seat is not performing consistently. It is effective in being a seat, but it is not consistently functioning as it should.

With such an inconsistent performance, how can you build further on your MVP?

Ingredient 3: Efficiency

When I say efficiency, I mean a high ratio of output over input. The output is your effective and consistent MVP. Let’s say it functions as it should, and it does this every single time. However, if it requires excessive resources then it is not very efficient. Back to the aircraft seat. Let us consider the following scenarios:

  1. If the seats are designed too heavily, they consume too much material, they carry a lot more weight than normal, and therefore they cost more to buy, and burn more fuel due to the extra weight.
  2. If the seats are designed with just the right weight, but the assembly process is too complex, it adds to the overall manufacturing time, then it also increases the duration for servicing and maintenance.

In both these cases, we’re looking at a lack of efficiency, albeit with regards to different resources.

Is your MVP resource friendly or resource intensive?

I hope I’ve offered a bit more clarity around the three essential ingredients for your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). As always let me summarise this with three points:

  1. Effectiveness: doing what it should do, functionally, legally and regulatorily
  2. Consistent: being effective ten times out of ten or 100%
  3. Efficient: being resource friendly as opposed to resource intensive

Happy reading!

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