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What is an MVP ?



Kirjoittanut: Yann Moser - tiimistä Exchange.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

KIRJALÄHTEET
KIRJA KIRJAILIJA
Validating Product Ideas
Running Lean - Ash Muraya
Ash Maurya
Tomer Sharon
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 6 minuuttia.

Executive summary

 

To apply an agile method (Lean) within our projects at Team Academy, one of the fundamentals is to test our ideas and ask ourselves the question “do people want my product/service? As I discovered when reading the books Running Lean by Ash Maurya and Validating Product Ideas by Tomer Sharon, an MVP allows us to test our ideas and get feedback quickly.

To be able to make a good MVP that will allow us to use customer feedback, I thought it was essential to have a theoretical input on the subject.

Through this article, I want to bring more theory on what an MVP is, how to set it up and understand what it is used for. To complete my article, you will find in the appendices a practical guide of the essential and important elements to design an MVP.

 

Validating product ideas

An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a first version of our product or service, gathering the necessary features for its launch on the market. The main objective of the MVP is to save effort on design while learning as much as possible about our customers’ needs. A sample of customers test this version of the offering and provide feedback that helps to improve the design and deliver a final successful offering later, following a series of iterations. It is a sort of alpha version of a product or service that will be improved through research and customer feedback over time. Its creator is Eric Ries, the author of the book “The Lean Startup”. His definition of an MVP focuses on the maximum amount of learning from customers with the minimum amount of effort. An MVP is a process that allows its creators to quickly validate or invalidate assumptions with a subset of potential users. It is also a prototype with minimal functionality that facilitates learning and an experiment to get to know potential users. Be aware that it is neither a minimal version of a product with the smallest possible feature set nor a product designed to fit the entire customer base nor a cheaper product. (MVP, n.d.)

When we look at agility, we always come across Enrik Kniberg’s drawing (see below). With this drawing, which shows two ways to build a car, he wanted to expose the idea that there are two ways to achieve this.

The first one corresponds to the top line, that is to say to want to answer the customer’s request by providing him the final product. This method is not agile and is demonstrated in the drawing, by wanting to offer the final product directly, we cannot provide an MVP for the customer to test. In the example below, we will instead focus on the underlying need that the customer wants to fulfill. It turns out that this underlying need is “I need to be able to get from point A to point B faster” and the car is only one of the possible solutions for this. So we first deliver the smallest thing we can think of that will allow the customer to test and give feedback and then adapt and evolve our offer. We can call this first step MVP or PRT (Rapidly Testable Product). (Taillandier, n.d.)

 

Enrik Kniberg

 

Do people want the product?

As I read in the book “Validating Product Ideas” by Tomer Sharon, specifically in chapter 5 about MVPs, there are several questions to ask and several types of MVPs. (Sharon)

The question “Do people want the product?” is important to understand and know the mindset of your target audience after they have been exposed to the product or some form of communication about it. The answer to this question is key to helping us learn about our audience’s current pain points. When people express a desire by exhibiting a certain behavior, they are implying that something is wrong and that they care. This is exactly what we look for when we seek to validate key assumptions about the product and the user. For people to want or perceive a product or service as something they need, they need three things:

They must know about the product. Marketing and public relations channels must cater to the target audience.

They must understand the value of the product. The image, various publications must communicate the value of the product and make potential customers feel that it addresses a problem or need.

They must validate the cost of the product. The target customers must accept the price and be willing to pay what you want for the product or service.

To follow an agile (Lean) approach to project launch, this question we must ask ourselves directly when we have an idea, it is then that we go directly to the target customers to ask ourselves. (Facon, n.d.)

 

Different MVPs

The “Wizard of Oz”. This MVP consists of putting up a façade, a showcase that gives our customers the impression that we are selling a product that really works and that they are having an experience. This MVP takes time and effort, but it is a very effective way to verify that our product or service is desirable before we build it. With this approach, we use a human resource to reproduce the finished product. This helps us prove the value of our product while keeping technical costs low.

 

A “janitor” MVP is often confused with the “Wizard of Oz. However, rather than using a human resource to replicate an algorithm, the customer knows they are receiving a human service. “Concierge” MVPs should be used when you are not exactly sure of the solution, whereas a “Wizard of Oz” MVP should be used when you have a clear understanding of the solution and are testing the market.

 

The “false door”. This MVP works by enticing our customers to sign up for a product or service that is not yet available. It will help us measure interest by seeing how many people try to access it. For example, having a landing page with a call-to-action button, and when a visitor clicks on it, it could take them to a page that says, “Coming Soon!”. The number of visits to this page gives an idea of how many downloads or orders would have been received over a period.

In summary, there are two main types of MVPs: low-fidelity MVPs and high-fidelity MVPs. Which one you choose will depend on the stage you are at. Low-fidelity MVPs are used to further understand our clients’ problems and explore a type of solution that would be optimal for our client.

High-fidelity MVPs are used to first discover how much customers are willing to pay for our product and help us define and optimize the marketing strategy, value proposition, and communication channels to use. (Facon, n.d.)

 

Examples of known MVPs

 Airbnb

Airbnb’s goal is to cut out a middleman and make short-term rentals easier. To test the idea, the entrepreneurs took advantage of a large web design conference in San Francisco to provide attendees with a home in the city. They took some photos of their loft and created a simple web page.

They quickly had three people interested in paying for their apartment rentals. This allowed them to validate their hypothesis without even having a finished product.

 

Amazon

Amazon started selling books online. Focusing on books at a low price in 1994 with a simplistic web design was enough for the company to grow and diversify. (Drack, n.d.)
Valuable customer feedback from the MVP

 

 

The information gathered through the MVP is very valuable to the project manager. From the beginning, he or she will be able to compare the idea with potential customers. Based on this feedback, several scenarios can then be considered. (Facon, n.d.)

If the customers who have tested the product have been convinced, the project has every chance of attracting its target clientele, whose needs and purchasing criteria will be the same.

If not, the project must accept that its product is not suitable for the customers. To react to this observation, which necessarily implies changes, it is necessary to analyze the feedback. Several scenarios can then emerge:

 

– Adapting the product to solve the negative points that have been raised.

– The complete modification of the product.

– Targeting another customer segment.

Concept MVP

 

Hypothesis & reflection on sources

 

While writing this article, I realized the importance of testing our ideas with not the finished product but a version that we can adapt and modify according to the feedback. This is a great challenge for me and I will say that it will push me out of my comfort zone. I am by nature a very reflective person and therefore want to move quickly towards a final version of my product or service before testing it with target customers.

 

The main difficulty within the Team Academy is to target our customers, it is very frequent that we use our network during the MVP.

 

Thanks to the book Validating Product Ideas, I had an excellent theoretical support to write this article. Regarding the sources used, it was difficult to sort out the information because although they all talk about the agile method, some of them distorted the MVPs because they were too focused on “everyday” products and not on services as is often the case in our projects. With a little experience in source research, I always prioritize articles from reliable sources like cairn.info.

 

 

Bibliography

 

MVP. (s.d.). Récupéré sur https://www.robotmascot.co.uk/18-types-of-minimum-viable-product/

Taillandier. (s.d.). Récupéré sur https://frank.taillandier.me/2016/01/28/comprendre-le-mvp/

Sharon, T. (s.d.). Validating Product Ideas.

Facon, P. (s.d.). Récupéré sur https://www.lecoindesentrepreneurs.fr/minimum-viable-product-mvp/

Drack, A. (s.d.). Récupéré sur https://www.appvizer.fr/magazine/operations/gestion-de-projet/mvp

 

 

 

Comments
  • Ella Muja

    I really liked this essay! This could definitely be a 2 point essay with the amount of sources and background information.

    24.2.2022
  • Gustav Perttilä

    Thank you Yan for this informative ”blog” post. I gained some knowledge that i will apply to my own project🙏

    24.2.2022
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