How to Apply MVP in Lean Startup?

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More than a trend among creative entrepreneurs, the MVP or Minimum Viable Product is a methodology that allows testing the impact of a product from the beginning of its development.

With this proposal, the time between the idea and its realization reduces a lot, which offers several benefits to decision-making. MVP allows for an outside look earlier than usual and thus reduces costs and increases efficiency.

And even if the product is on the right track, you can optimize it with each feedback, in a continuous cycle of learning and validation.

Choosing an MVP means observing and collecting data about customers and creating practical business situations that make the startup quickly learn what it needs to apply prices, features and, finally, launch an innovative solution.

In this article, you will see how you can use MVP through a Lean Startup. You may also utilize it with GitScrum’s hundreds of features that help you develop your team’s productivity and find a true MVP.

What is MVP?

According to the Lean Startup methodology, MVP is the acronym for Minimum Viable Product, and many transform the acronym into MPV.

The important thing is that Lean Startup treats MVP as one of the great milestones in a startup’s life. Let’s explain these 3 letters in more detail:

Minimum: it is something that has the smallest possible size, which can also be delivered in the shortest possible time;

Viable: Consists of a proposal that has a certain value, that is sufficient, and that it is feasible for the client to adopt it. If possible already generating revenue;

Product: This delivery must be a product, that is, the features it needs to be useful and make sense for the company and the customer.

Note that if we treat this simplistically, we can think of MVP as just a product delivery with the most basic functionality, or a smaller version of a product that is possible and done quickly.

So, understanding that the “minimum” needs to be integrated into the “product” and the “feasible” is also the path to success for any entrepreneur.

This integration requires an effort to find a balance between them: something that has value for the customer, using the least possible resources, in the best possible time, but with a product face!

We can say that if the entrepreneur has not yet been able to formulate their hypotheses along with the value proposition, preparing the MVP will not do any good.

In that case, we suggest taking a step back and working on different versions of Canvas, and talking to potential customers so they can help guide you along that path.

Creating an MVP is not easy, especially when we are dealing with startups that have innovation behind them. Finding it involves a lot of persistence through multiple iterations, mistakes, prototyping attempts, and a lot of patience.

The important thing is to seek out the MVP with the right conscience, as this will make it easy to understand what you found and find out if there are any errors in your value proposition. This helps in correcting the assumptions of the business idea, which is called “pivoting”.

Practice helps to invest in the right product that is really useful to people. Also, after some time of MVP practice at your startup, it will be possible to predict the facts before they happen, launch new ones before it’s too late.

In addition to being used to test the use of the product and its features, MVP also serves to test user demands. In other words, the experiment can be centered on the product itself or on other components that allow for the validation of business hypotheses.

The MVP model helps to clearly structure the problem that the product is intended to solve. It can be used to validate ideas, which can be tested and improved over and over again.

Even minimal gains can be decisive for the product’s viability in the market. As the process is part of concepts already conceived by the entrepreneur and its simplicity, it has the advantage of being agile, ideal for startups that are in a situation of uncertainty or need to save time and money.

If your creation starts entirely from scratch and nobody has done something like that, it’s harder to find benchmarks that help define an MVP. The best way is to take quick tests (as many as needed) and learn what works and what doesn’t.

Selecting Resources

Once these companies gain knowledge from market trials, they put the learning into practice and realize that there is room to assimilate new things. Do not let the customer notice the “fragility” of your MVP, however manual and “ugly” you are doing in the beginning, serve the customer impeccably.

Generally speaking, for corporate products with high added value, the recommendation is to initially test the demand through presentations and interviews with potential customers.

For products aimed at small and medium-sized companies or the end consumer, testing demand via the web is also essential. Depending on the case, testing the experience with the product also becomes important.

The important thing is to detect if the startup is following the best path or if it has unfeasible conceptions. When you finally complete the cycle of getting ideas, building a scope, measuring data and learning the entire process, and get feedback, the important thing is not to get totally carried away by users’ opinions.

Importance of MVP in a startup

MVP has a central role in the startup, as its importance goes far beyond a common prototype. But it is important to highlight what differentiates a startup from traditional companies:

  • Low starting capital with fast growth prospects
  • Agile, flexible, and experimentation-based development
  • Highly innovative, sustainable, profitable, and scalable business
  • The creative and differentiated solution in the market
  • Acting in a scenario of great risk and uncertainty.

Therefore, startups stand out for their focus on innovation and for their bold business model, which develops according to the market’s response rather than starting from an airtight project.

According to the lean startup method, the company must rely on the feedback loop called “build-measure-learn”.

In other words, the startup builds its MVP, measures customer reactions, and learns from mistakes and successes – and, only then, does it move forward with its product. That’s why the MVP is indispensable in the startup structure, as it corresponds to the essence of experimentation.

Unlike traditional entrepreneurs, creative entrepreneurs want to find truly innovative solutions capable of impacting large audiences at an impressive speed.

This audacious strategy is only possible with the use of successive MVPs with a highly selected audience until the product reaches its maximum potential.

For this reason, the audience that tests the MVP is hand-picked, usually made up of demanding opinion-makers with great power of influence.

They are called “early adopters”, as they are the first to test MVPs and their opinions will polish the product until its official launch.

Tips to validate your MVP

Formulate hypotheses to validate: The main objective of developing an MVP is precisely to validate assumptions about the market before investing in a product and launching it, so, before thinking about how your MVP will be, how about thinking about what you won’t learn from it and formulate clear hypotheses?

Get to know your market: immerse yourself in the macro and micro indicators of your audience, have a clearly defined ideal customer profile, understand the context in which your company is inserted, find out who your possible competitors are and what solutions they are offering.

Define indicators and establish metrics: From the data collected in your previous survey, define which indicators and metrics you will use to assess your MVP’s performance based on the interaction with your target audience.

Think about your MVP’s functionalities: The MVP needs to strike a balance between the time, resources invested in its development, and how the product’s value proposition will be presented to the customer.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: the MVP is the time when the entrepreneur can make mistakes and find solutions for their mistakes, always to improve their final product so that it really solves a problem of its target audience and stands out in the Marketplace.

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