Minimum Viable Product – how much is too much?
How much is too much in a minimum viable product?
Remember that your MVP is your first chance to see if your idea would work or not. You need to test your minimum viable product with a small, pre-determined set of users to confirm that there is a need for your product, and that people would find it useful.
Product owners can tend to expect too much from an MVP, and this can be very vexing for dev teams. The most important trait while developing a minimum viable product is discipline. It’s very tempting to include one more feature here and there, but always remember that if something need not be there, it should not be there!
Here are the things that can help in having reasonable expectations from a minimum viable product:
1) Thorough Market Research
This will position you as a product owner who understands the current market requirement and competition. Prioritizing the features will become easier. Let’s take two examples:
- If you’re setting up a laundry services business through an android app and if it’s not been done before in your city, you can get away with your MVP not having a payment gateway and having a Cash on Delivery option instead.
- If you’re planning to start an e-commerce website for common consumer products, your mvp would definitely need to have a payment gateway. Your competition(Flipkart, Amazon, etc.) already have those features and customers would simply see no point in using your service.
2) Freezing the feature list
It is true that any new product needs to address the current need in the market. Citing this as a reason, product owners have been known to add new features to the scope of the project during the development cycle. This is called scope creep and isn’t good for either party involved in software development. Development of an MVP is one of the core concepts of running a lean startup. It is meant to be built in a short time-frame(1-3 months) so that a minimal version can be released and results of the market research can be validated. 3 months is a short time where the need of your market cannot somehow drastically change. Once the feature list is prioritized and prepared, team members should stick to it and focus on having the MVP out in the market without any bugs.
3) Realistic Design Expectations:
Most of the products popular today did not have the best design when they were launched for the first time. A good design does make a good first impression but the purpose of releasing an MVP is not to woo all your customers. It’s to validate whether your product is worth developing into a full-fledged app on different platforms. The intended audience of an MVP is always supposed to be a small test group. As you receive feedback from the test group, it will help mould better design ideas and enable your design team to do a better job moving forward.
Moral of the story: Stick to your guns and focus on releasing a minimum viable product that works and performs all the features that were agreed upon on Day 1. An MVP is not meant to do everything under the sun. No app is meant to. Your mvp should help you validate your business idea and see if there are enough customers who are willing to use your services and if you can manage a sustainable business around the app.
Pravir Ramasundaram is our in-house content writer here at ContractIQ. Keep coming back to read more from him on mobility, analytics & outsourcing.