The MVP Approach for New Product Development
Every entrepreneur dabbling with a new business idea has many puzzles to solve. With respect to product development, the most challenging aspect would be to walk the fine line between feature set on one side, time to market and budget on the other.
Time is of utmost essence while entering the market with your idea. Founder of LinkedIn – Reid Hoffman, went as far to say that “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late”. The sentiment behind this statement is to inspire a growth mindset, keeping focus on what is mission critical (depending on business model and geography, regulatory requirements, results of market research, current market conditions) and refrain from diverting to items that may unnecessarily drain too many resources at the start of the new product development process.
That’s where MVP (minimum viable product) approach kicks in, that is to design a product that has enough features sufficient to deploy the product, showcase end to end user journeys and attract early adopters. The idea is to get the core right, such that, first version of your product can demonstrate enough future benefit and create a feedback loop to guide future development.
A minimum viable product helps entrepreneurs validate product market fit with least time to market and minimum budget allocation. MVP outlook advocates the fail fast approach that lets you test your assumptions, pivot to right direction without wasting too much time and energy, enabling you to quickly channelize resources where maximum benefit lies. Feedback you receive might just validate your vision and give you a chance to assess whether you should continue with originally thought out approach or you need to tweak the business model, change a workflow, add some features or get some out of the way. Thus, the full blown future versions of product are guided by informed decisions and real market feedback.
Determining features of MVP
The process of identifying that minimum feature set does not have to be too taxing. Entrepreneurs need to create a list of features and functionalities and categorize them into one of the four sub sets:
Visual – Business Criticality of Features vs. Ease of Implementation (inversely proportional to complexity of the feature that determines cost and time to build it)
Quadrant I – Features lying in this part are quintessential MVP features as they are business critical and comparatively easier to implement.
Quadrant II – Bells and Whistles – Nice to have, low ranking features but easy to implement. Can be left out of MVP to save on time and cost.
Quadrant III – Trivial and difficult to implement features are a big NO, especially for the MVP and initial versions.
Quadrant IV – Business critical and difficult to implement – It’s the items lying in this quadrant that require maximum thought and consideration.
Each feature from this list needs to be weighed for utility vs cost & time individually to arrive at optimum trade off. Approved features from this list along with the ones from quadrant 1 form the core ingredients that are baked into your MVP.
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This post comes to you courtesy:
Priyakshi Gupta – Solution Architect at Click Labs