Minimum Viable Product or MVP or Prototype of a Product – Key Characteristics

Minimum Viable Product or MVP is a prototype of a product or a service developed and released in order to evaluate the customers’ response and test the product hypothesis without investing a lot of resources in its construction and implementation. This product is limited in features, and is built quickly enough to be deployed as a product which is ready for customers’ interaction.

Minimum Viable Product or MVP or Prototype of a Product - Key Characteristics
Minimum Viable Product or MVP or Prototype of a Product

The development of MVP in to a full-fledged product solely depends on the customer feedback, actual usage scenario results and validation of the general hypothesis, so it could either be entirely discarded, tried again with some new added features and modifications or could be finally accepted as a model for a new actual product design, so actual development of the product could begin. This strategy of deploying MVPs is mainly implemented by individuals or organizations, who seek to minimize the risks i.e. if by any chance the product fails, their hypothesis is proven wrong or unprofitable and the company faces huge capital losses.

Some of the key characteristics of using MVP strategy are:

  • It is built using minimum resources so it has enough value that people would be willing to use it or buy it. Mainly the company initially uses a freemium version for a MVP.
  • It shows enough future potential to retain early customers, even attract the future customers.
  • It provides a feedback loop to guide future development, so developers would know how to proceed with their ideas and have a clear vision to build what is actually required.
  • The main idea of this development strategy is that early customers can see the promise the final product has and so they provide the valuable feedback for its development, this increases the customer trust.
  • This also shows that technically orientated products used by technical users may be most appropriate for this type of development technique, as it all comes down to convenience of the product and if the product delivers the task they need.
  • Using this strategy we can also create bases for other products as user feedback, can vary and can show us new ideas, which can’t be featured into the existing product, but could give a way for another product.
  • Using MVPs we can minimize the resources needed in marketing of the future product, as the MVPs can gather a lot of customers and attract them towards the full featured final product, hence it also acts as a form of marketing.

The term “Minimum Viable Product” was first used and defined by Frank Robinson (entrepreneur and economist) which was further popularized by Eric Ries (entrepreneur and author) and Steve blank (entrepreneur and academician). Since then the strategy of using MVPs has become successful and it keeps on evolving with new ideas, it has made the survey strategies implemented by organizations redundant, as it has proven to be misleading many times. MVPs have also become the startup strategies by many successful entrepreneurs and some of the key companies who followed this strategy are Twitter, Dropbox, Airbnb, Zappos, buffer and Groupon.

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