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What is an MVP and how do you define its scope?

What is an MVP and how do you define its scope?

Defining an MVP

Let’s start with the basics – what is an MVP?

The letters stand for minimum viable product. It's a digital product that has the least amount of features required for the least amount of money and is created in the least amount of time. It should include only those features, development or activities that specifically further and help you reach your objective. Although one might argue that this is the goal of every manufacturer of anything, the process of creating an MVP differs significantly because you include users that evaluate your product, so that you know if you’re on the right track or if you have to shift and where.

You create the absolute bare bones that are required to solve a problem or deliver value with input from users throughout the journey of its development and subsequent release.

The beauty of the MVP process (and it is a process, not a tool) is you can learn as much as possible from users with the least amount of effort before getting into all of the coding and development that can significantly influence (again) time, money and resources!

It differs from the open source approach, because it has a specific objective that users will help to confirm or reject in terms of its viability. Its development and launch is therefore more transparent and can be achieved in less time.

As already mentioned, it is a process, not an outcome because the actions are build, measure, learn, repeat. It’s not a proof of concept (POC) because it’s a complete product that’s ready for production.

Just because we keep referring to “minimum” doesn’t mean inferior or lacking. It’s more of an MLP, or Minimum Loveable Product.

Because of its measured and efficient design, an MVP is great for start-ups. It’s also used by a wide variety of businesses large and small to determine the feasibility of investing in a ‘high risk’ product or service. Another ideal application is when stakeholders need to roll out a product in parts, in order to meet a deadline, like an important industry event or an investor who expects to pay in installments. When an investor requires proof points along the way before contributing additional funds, an MVP provides that reassurance and trackable milestones.

All of this dovetails elegantly with adchitects’ vision, design and development philosophy: create something relevant and then constantly seek to improve it based on collected data/feedback to realize the optimum outcome for our clients. Partnering with us in this process will generate a dynamic end result that will put you ahead, and keep you there!

In fact, we are respecting our human nature that invents and continually seeks to improve products and services. The MVP process allows us to verify what’s important, what is less so and what to prioritize in development in the most efficient way possible.

Read more: How to choose a web design agency - 7 key factors to consider

Consider the advantages

The sooner you know if what you are proposing is viable, the better – for your next steps, as well as for your investors.

The concentrated, compact and interactive process of an MVP allows you to quickly and easily shift your focus and activities based on the feedback you receive from users.

In this way, you get vital input in terms of your product’s viability at the very earliest stage of its development, which then encourages ongoing support by those invested in the process.

  • Get your product or service to market quickly and generate revenue faster
  • Designers can test assumptions early on, reducing risk
  • Jump ahead of others and gain the competitive advantage
  • Gives you a sense of what the market thinks of your offering and helps to guide your strategies
  • Minimizes cost for development and rollout, by minimizing actual development timelines

The importance of a roadmap

Building a detailed roadmap is critical; it will help you manage your time and actions, to make sure you are moving in the right direction or alert you when you need to shift/change/regroup/reassess.

In order to develop this, some of the fundamental questions need to be answered:

  • Why do we need this product? Does it solve a problem or remove a pain point?
  • Where are the gaps in the current landscape?
  • Where are the opportunities? (do the research to make sure)
  • What is the “long term goal” for this product and how will I measure its success?
  • (high adoption rate, sale, interaction with the product)
  • Who is my customer/user, what do they want and how do they want to navigate to get it?
  • Does it align with the user’s values?

Creating a successful roadmap

What are the activities required to determine the need and to understand the business? What is its purpose?

In order to identify the type of customer you want to target, solicit feedback from potential users or create personas to obtain this information.

In this scenario, your audience will probably be an early adopter rather than someone who is more comfortable with established technology.

Outline all ideas and expectations being made about what the product will deliver and how the customer will act to obtain it. Identify any restrictions or limitations to make sure they can be handled early to ensure the best experience to the end-user.

When presented, it needs to be clear that it’s a work in progress and that input has a specific value to the ongoing development of the product.

You’ll want to clearly outline how a successful result is determined, so that you can properly understand what the user has to do to get there. Once you know this, you can create the step by step process the customer needs to take to achieve this.

These steps will include only those actions that deliver value, so that you are developing only what’s important for the initial product.

This process will also help you determine the metrics you will use to measure its success, which might be: engagement,

  • a high rate of adoption,
  • the duration of the session,
  • the rate of churn,
  • the number of downloads,
  • the rate of sign-ups or
  • the amount of time in the app.

Identify each step required to determine the values to the user.

Chart every feature and assess its importance in terms of what the user will gain or the pain it will resolve in order to decide which ones have to be included and which can be added later.

Do the research to identify:

  • who you are targeting,
  • which market,
  • who your competitors are and
  • other products similar or related to yours.

This will help you to determine what features should be included in the build process. It will also flush out your MVP’s information architecture, because you are defining the product’s content as well as its hierarchy. The latter will indicate how to present the content based on user input that meets their expectations, as opposed to assumptions that are made internally (e.g., product team) and therefore far more effective (and frankly more relevant).

Wireframes are, simply put, drafts with mapped out functionalities, which can serve as a blueprint during the MVP phase.

Read more: What are UX/UI wireframes and why do we make them?

The development and launch of a product or service

Our experience at Adchitects has ensured that our clients get the best bang for their buck in addressing these all-important processes. Based on the roadmap, which includes your target customer, the problem(s) to solve and the opportunities that your product provides, you can build and launch your product. It should be a basic layout with identified functionalities, often best and easily achieved using a wireframing tool. This will help you to envision the product with minimum resources [the traditional “prototype, measure, learn”] and then fine tune the user experience design based on the actual feedback gathered on the MVP design.

In keeping with the philosophy throughout this process, launching a product must also include feedback from your users, so that they can help you to keep improving what you’ve started. Even after introduction, it is vital to continue to solicit this input, so that you can keep changing and enhancing your product or service for greater acceptance.

In fact, if your rollout does not gain acceptance, then user feedback is integral to understanding where the gaps are, so that you can address them or to figure out the actual value of your product.

How to test an MVP

Create a website, ask purchased customers to check out your proposed product and provide them with an invitation to click for more info to understand how much interest there is.

This can apply to the initial product as well as subsequent features; the latter can be introduced on the website as “under development”, inviting clicks that can help determine a feature’s need and actual value before investing in its build.

We value the process of creating an MVP

At Adchitects, we’ve seen the growth and escalation of interactive communications globally and used our skills and experience to realize the same vision for our clients that we ourselves live by: Create valuable products and services and keep improving them ad infinitum.

The MVP process is a significant and useful way to make sure that your digital product or service gets the attention it deserves in its veritable infancy, so that you can be sure to maximize its potential, minimize the investment required and generate progressive revenue.

Let us know if we can help you with this! We’d be happy to support you on this journey!

Maurycy Krokos

Head of Project Management

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