Every product manager in a technology company should be able to describe what a minimum viable product (MVP) is. MVP enables agile development cycles and it is the greatest approach to starting a project. We often recommend it to our clients who are looking to develop their idea. In this way, they can quickly have a product that they can pitch to their shareholders and potential investors.

The term "minimum viable product" refers to a product version that comprises the bare minimum of functionalities. Will it contain all of the cool features you want for your users? No. However, MVPs have plenty of other benefits.

The one given is that MVP ensures the product will reach users sooner, allowing you to get initial feedback and work on improvements in the following development cycles. This is not to be confused with QA testing, where products are checked in their entirety from different stakeholders' perspectives. However, sometimes this is not enough to convince a determined or meticulous client to continue or even decide in the first place that the MVP is their best option. The additional advantage is that their development has minimal risks and costs. Moreover, it will help them clarify their vision while already building relationships with their customers.

Before starting the launch, it is crucial to also know about the MPV creation process. If not, rushing through will most likely waste time going back and forth between feedback and losing the original core idea.

To make this easier for you, I have distinguished some steps that might help build an MPV. You can divide them into six main pillars:

  1. Creating a Problem Solver
  2. Identifying the Assumptions
  3. Building the Hypothesis
  4. Establishing Minimum Success Criteria
  5. Picking an MVP Strategy
  6. Execution

PILLAR 1 – Creating a Problem Solver: the USPs of Your Product

Nowadays, we have much broader access to valuable information. Even more, we can connect to much wider networks than ten years ago. Consequently, there are many crazy ideas out there. Knowing these facts, make sure your client slows down and really thinks about the ideas the MVP will portray.

Through the creation process, keep reminding them about the most widely used products in today's society. For example, Uber is solving the problem of earning extra money and finding rides for traveling purposes. Moreover, Tinder enables users to find companionship without leaving the comfort of their homes and a variety of fitness apps are helping motivate people to get in shape.

Therefore, have your client ask themselves, what problem does my product solve? The answer will help them find their products’ USP (Unique Selling Point). Consequently, they’ll have no trouble finding investors for their vision after the MVP release, which means more development needs and work might come your way.

PILLAR 2 – Identifying the Assumptions: Getting Ahead of the Game

You’ve completed the first step of the journey with your client and found the problem solver! That's a great start! However, you still do not know much about what you will face when the MVP plays out in the real world.

To prepare yourself, you need to make a list of possible assumptions – something we tend to make every time in life when we face an unfamiliar situation. For instance, before going on a long hike for the first time, you could probably figure out what you need to pack in your backpack to reach the top, right? In the case of an MVP, you should support your client in making a comprehensive assumption list. Think about everything, good or bad, that could happen when launching the product.

Afterward, have your client identify what fits the MVP the most and make a systematic checklist of everything that has to go right. Being ahead of the game by acknowledging the risks and possible outcomes puts you in a better position!

PILLAR 3 – Building the Hypothesis: Validation of Your Assumptions

A hypothesis is a combination of wild guesses and a well-established theory. Before it can be named a theory in science, it must undergo extensive testing. However, the term is used much more liberally in the non-scientific world. An investigator may have a theory about a crime, just as a mother may have a theory about who spilled juice on the carpeting. Any person who uses the word hypothesis is speculating.

Therefore, building up the hypothesis is a logical step to take with your client after creating and agreeing on the assumptions list. You can do so by finding data and research that will support and build upon your assumption while allowing you to define your hypothesis. It is also important to create a testable hypothesis so that you can validate it afterward.

PILLAR 4 – Establishing the MSCs: Getting Away From the Mistakes

A Minimum Success Criteria (MSC) is a method of falsifying a hypothesis, which will aid you in determining whether your product is even worth producing in the first place. Yet, keep in mind that It's not uncommon for most trials to fall halfway between valid and invalid.

This is an important criteria for your client’s MVP that will establish a clear line, separating success from failure. Furthermore, the MSC will create a scope to guide you away from the mistakes and downfalls.

PILLAR 5 – Picking an MVP Strategy: Testing

It's critical to realize that the MVP strategy isn't about creating a little product to achieve a short-term goal. Instead, the method involves creating the first, most basic version of a product that the general public may use.

The most significant benefit and goal are enabling user feedback, on which we can, later on, make improvements. Hence, the purpose of creating an MVP is to figure out what features and experiences the product should provide to a certain user segment. Sometimes, MVPs are also used to test a product's business plan and monetization options.

PILLAR 6 – Execution: Rinse and Repeat

You chopped your way through and led your client to a ‘minimum viable product’. Congrats on the work so far! You should mark your milestones and action points and repeat all the six steps until you get an amazing MVP!