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Myths about Minimum Viable Product

Posted at — Dec 31, 2019 by Abishek Muthian

These are some of the common myths about Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

This is just a MVP

If we have to give ourself this reason i.e. ‘This is just a MVP’ during development for any shortcoming or to a customer for any feedback, then our MVP almost certainly didn’t meet its objectives as a MVP.

MVP is ‘as many features I can build into my product’ within the scheduled launch

MVP is building the User Selling Point (USP) into the product and making it as robust as possible by the launch. The reason a customer tries our product for the first time is for the USP and not for plethora of other features they could get by continued use of our product.

If the USP is poorly demonstrated in the product or if it is subpar when compared other products they use for the same USP, the product is not viable.

MVP is what we build in X weeks

On the contrary, we need to have a clear intent, plan to what we want in the MVP and estimate the time required to build it. Often, our estimate on the time required to build the MVP would be wrong and that’s fine.

MVP should showcase the vision of the complete product

Not always. WhatsApp started out as a status sharing app, Instagram started out as a bar locating app. The MVP should show the essence of the team building the product i.e. their capability to deliver what the product promises and not necessarily the vision; as no one can predict the future of the product accurately.

Mine is not a MVP, it is a MUP, MLP etc.

They are all same, it makes no difference to the customer and so, it shouldn’t to us as well. What we call it, doesn’t make a slightest difference; What does is its ability to deliver the value to the customer.

Function matters more than design in a MVP & vice versa

Without requisite design to go along with the function, the MVP cannot become viable. The design and function should complement each other and neither should be compromised just because it is a MVP.

MVP need not make money

This is a myth propagated by those who didn’t think of a viable business model before building a product and end up building something which nobody would pay to get their problems solved. If we are planning to run a Business and not a hobby; making money from it is the fundamental requirement.

After all, this is the viable part of the Minimum Viable Product.

MVP is the smaller, cheaper version of our product

MVP is about testing the value we are delivering via our product. The value being offered could differ across products e.g. if it is the information from a data, then the MVP can be tested even without building anything resembling our product.

I need not market my MVP, I should save my marketing budget for the final product

There will never be a final product as products require continuous improvement, if the MVP is not marketed right; there will be never be a need for the final product as well. Marketing the MVP is to take it to the people whose problem it solves and creates a value for them.

Angel investor, Serial Entrepreneur Rob Walling even wrote a book titled ‘Start Marketing The Day You Start Coding’ way back in 2011 when he was a solopreneur.

It’s just the MVP, I need not take the negative feedback seriously

Genuine negative feedbacks to a MVP could be for several reasons, the most common being MVP not delivering what it promised. Ignoring this feedback for MVP will likely lead to misery.

MVP would get me investments

Unless the MVP is of a state of the art, bleeding-edge product, for which there is no existing competition; no sensible investor is going to invest just for the MVP. Early stage investments are more about the people who build the product and less about the product themselves.

I should build my MVP in secret as someone would steal the idea

A startup idea cannot be a secret as one has to validate it. Worrying that someone might steal it and not validating it is a sure way to build something which nobody wants.

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