A minimum viable product (MVP) is the earliest version of a product that an organization feels is ready to be introduced to customers, especially early adopters. Many top organizations you know and use today were once MVPs, from Amazon and HelloFresh to Microsoft. Product teams use MVPs to get a product out into the real world, validate whether or not it’ll provide value, and gather insight and feedback to help improve their product. By testing MVPs with your target audience, you’re ensuring you’re building the right product at just the right time—and gaining valuable user feedback that’ll mitigate risk.
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To get started, you’ll need to know the answers to the following:
Next, decide what type of MVP you’re creating, whether it’s a landing page or a sketch. Ideally, you’d use technologies or platforms you’re already familiar with to keep this stage quick and to the point.
Finally, the last step requires multiple rounds and cycles. Once your MVP is launched, you’ll want to collect user feedback to determine how it can be improved—and whether or not the idea is worth pursuing. Live Conversations or unmoderated tests can be used to get qualitative feedback on MVPs quickly. But don’t forget; this step shouldn’t stop with one study alone. Your MVP will continuously be refined by collecting user feedback, implementing new changes, launching, and asking for feedback again (and again).
An MVP with potential is what comes before the automated processes, expansion, complex features, and funding (you get the idea). Below are the common types, which range from low-fidelity to high-fidelity.
Ioannis Nousis, Interaction Designer at Google, thinks MVPs fail because we focus too much on assumptions about the system and the user needs instead of what we want to learn before moving forward. He created the tool “Riskiest Assumptions Canvas” to maximize the value of the MVP.
Step 1: Gather the main stakeholders in a room and map all the vital assumptions for the product. Start discussing what score each assumption should have and why.
Step 2: For each assumption, write the probability of it being true and its impact on the product.
Step 3: Calculate the risk score. Once this is done, you should have a prioritized list of Riskiest Assumptions.
To summarize, plan out assumptions, the probability of them being true, and the risk score. Nousis tells UserTesting, “By testing the riskiest assumptions early on, you’ll be able to align with customer needs and deflect any personal opinions from HIPPOs (highest paid person’s opinion) or other stakeholders. You’ll increase your confidence in the product you’re building, and you’ll have the evidence that shows if the product is heading in the right direction.”
Job site Indeed is known for being a career search engine that reaches millions in various countries and languages. To further grow its mission, the organization launched the “Indeed Incubator,” where teams build new products and assess viability. However, their teams needed to balance out quantitative data with qualitative insights to inform product ideation. Leveraging the UserTesting Live Conversation and unmoderated tests to get feedback on their MVPs, the teams aimed to launch within just a few months. Thanks to user feedback, Incubator teams are better equipped to meet tight deadlines and get their MVP to market.