Cathy | Mission Control: If you are a sports fan then you know full well an MVP is a most valuable player — he or she is the one who saved the day to win the game. Now in entrepreneurial circles, MVP has a different meaning: Minimum VIable Product. It is part of a lean startup practice, where you create something — it can be a prototype, web site, powerpoint or working product — to test your most important hypothesis: my customer will pay real money for this solution I am proposing to build.
Most organizations in practice don’t actually go too lean on the MVP. They would prefer to create
a full working product that fulfills the central use case of the product concept and get it into the
market to test the market demand. And there is value in the true test. The product may not have all the bells and whistles, but it will give the user a direct path to accomplishing a single important objective in using the product. You will find out if folks will actually pay for it. And then important feedback is collected.
But making the full investment to write the software or build the gadget is not the only way. You can build a prototype in powerpoint for example, or a design a website that carries your sales proposition and purports to take an order exactly as you would if the product were ready to ship. It’s the value proposition you are testing. Heck, why not design two different web sites that test the value proposition in two different ways, and then change it up again when you learn how to improve it? That’s typically called A/B testing.
But regardless of your approach, starting with a quick minimum viable product that does very little, but still delivers a piece of core value is the best way to de-risk your business. You will learn more sooner than you ever expected you would, and regret that you didn’t go leaner faster.
Maybe an MVP is a most valuable player after all.
— Cathy Lippert for Blast Off Apps