What is the Role of an MVP in Launching a Successful Product?

What is the Role of an MVP in Launching a Successful Product? | Entrepreneurship | Emeritus

The innovation world is hypercompetitive. Several startups launch their new products every day. There is a constant battle to provide the best solution to customers that solve their pain points and gain a competitive advantage. However, launching the final product in the market is a lengthy process. Startups don’t want to go through the whole process of designing and creating a product only to realize later that it might not be a market fit. Therefore, a lean startup first develops a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to seek market validation. This blog post talks in detail about what is MVP, its importance, and the key features to include in an MVP.

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What is MVP and Why is it Important in Product Development?

To understand what is MVP, let’s turn to Gartner’s definition of the term: “The launch of a new product or feature before the final product. An MVP comprises minimum functionalities to provide a viable customer solution.” Simply put, a minimum  viable product is a prototype of a product or solution that comprises only essential features for customers to use and provide their feedback.

Building and launching a product takes a lot of time and resources. However, it may happen that after the product is launched, it may no longer be relevant for the customers, have bugs, or might not solve customer pain points. Therefore, before fully developing a product, startups try to understand customer needs and demands. They create a sample or prototype to gauge customer feedback. Based on the feedback on the MVP, organizations modify or add the features in the final product to ensure that it aligns with customer needs and expectations. 

The concept of MVP development is based on the “Ship early, repair later” advantage. While startups do their market research, they don’t want to wait too long before launching their product and miss out on the first-mover advantage. Therefore, an MVP becomes important for startups, especially lean startups (a business approach that focuses on experimenting, testing, and gaining consumer insights to build new products) to understand customers’ needs and modify their product parallelly. Startups can take their product public even while it is in the development stage.

The MVP development concept is based on the foundation of Agile development. Its purpose is to gather the maximum possible insights on the market and customers before investing too much effort and resources. It allows startups to check whether the product is relevant for the market, test the product features using real-time customer data, and test ideas quickly and during the initial stage of product development.

Advantages of MVP

Here is why MVP development is crucial for startups:

  • Helps get leads by inviting people to test the product
  • Allows companies to build a quality product based on customer feedback
  • Provides market validation on whether the product will be the right fit and on the efficacy of the marketing strategy
  • Helps test product hypothesis, ensuring only relevant features are included 

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How do You Determine the Minimum Features Required for a Minimum Viable Product?

Now that you know what is MVP, the next step is to build MVP. The first, and common, challenge is determining what features to include in it. Here is how you can prioritize the features:

1. Be a Solution to the Core Problem 

Startups build MVP to collect customer insights. Therefore, the top priority for MVP should be a feature that provides a unique value proposition in the market. It should solve real-world problems for customers. Therefore, the main feature of your product, the one that is necessary to solve the problem, should be included in the MVP. It can be modified based on customer feedback.

2. It Must Offer Value to the Customers 

Another criterion to shortlist MVP features is to focus on differentiators that provide the most value to the customers and help them achieve their goals.

3. An MVP Should Define the User Journey 

One of the best ways to select the features for MVP is to define the user journey, the scope, the end goal for the user, etc, and select essential features required to support these objectives.

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What are the Key Indicators That Your Product Meets the Criteria for an MVP?

Here are the three key factors startups can use to understand what is MVP and whether their product is suitable to build an MVP:

1. The MVP Should be Viable for the Market

A product is fit to have an MVP when product development sees its viability in the market. This means that the product should be able to survive in the market and solve actual problems. Moreover, the company should be able to generate revenue through the product.

2. It Should be Feasible to Develop 

If the product is in its initial stages and the company has enough resources to collect feedback and make iterations, its MVP can be launched.

3. The Product Should be Appealing to Customers

The product should also be able to solve specific problems for users and offer a remarkable experience.

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How Can Market Validation Help in Assessing the Viability of Your Product?

Once you have understood what is MVP and launched it, the next step is market validation. It refers to assessing and confirming that your product is the right fit for the market and that there is also significant demand for the product in the market. 

The market validation process involves conducting customer interviews and surveys to understand their pain points and expectations. Based on the insights, the product development teams can evaluate whether the product has the necessary features and meets customer expectations. Here are some of the most significant advantages of market validation:

  • Helps assess the market gap or actual problem that your product will solve
  • Provides an understanding of the market size and competitors
  • Helps mitigate risks and improve product quality by identifying issues

What are the Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Creating a Minimum Viable Product?

Many startups understand what is MVP but are unable to successfully launch it in the market or achieve the desired objectives. Here are some common errors that startups must avoid while building an MVP.

1. An MVP Overloaded With Features 

Beyond understanding what is MVP lies the objective of ensuring it can be transformed into a full-fledged product. To do so, one must know what features you can add or improve based on customers’ needs and demands. However, overloading the MVP kills this purpose. It confuses the customers and makes it difficult for the product development team to understand the feedback. Therefore, companies should only include the core features in the MVP.

2. Inefficient Feedback Process

Collecting and analyzing relevant insights is the core element of MVP development. It provides a long-term vision. However, many organizations lack a proper system to collect feedback that impacts the quality of the final product. Therefore, startups must have a robust feedback mechanism for MVP.

3. Not Creating a Market-Fit MVP

The most common mistake failed startups make is that they build a product and then try to sell it as a solution in the market or try to create a market for it. Instead, an MVP understands customers’ pain points and market gaps and builds a product to address those gaps.

With the rapid growth of the startup ecosystem, efficient product development and management has become the top priorities for entrepreneurs. However, entrepreneurs need to learn advanced skills and strategies to market their MVP and product. This requires a clear understanding of what is MVP, its objectives, and how to collect feedback. Emeritus’ online entrepreneurship courses can help you gain relevant skills and experience to build successful products and scale your startup.

Write to us at content@emeritus.org

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Sneha is a content marketing professional with over four years of experience in helping brands achieve their marketing goals. She crafts research-based, engaging content, making sure to showcase a bit of her creative side in every piece she writes. Sneha spends most of her time writing, reading, or drinking coffee. You will often find her practicing headstands or inversions to clear her mind.
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