A minimum viable product (MVP) is a powerful tool that enables your company to test a product idea with prospective users without a full build-out, limiting your up-front investment.
An MVP gives you the opportunity to validate your assumptions (that there’s a market willing to pay for your product) and learn what features and functionality are most important to your target audience. This cyclical feedback process for capturing and integrating that learning is known as Build, Measure, Learn. In this post, we’ll explore how to maximize your MVP to best position your company for growth.
Create Your Feedback Loop
Before building your MVP, you’ll need to validate that the product has a promising customer base. Don’t hesitate to leverage existing customers, if you have them. This kind of partnership on a new product can further enhance and solidify your relationship since they see that you value their input.
If you’re just starting out or if you’re expanding into a new market, you’ll need to figure out how to reach your target group. Sharing videos with your network and on social media, running a crowdfunding campaign, and conducting landing page testing are all good options.
There are four steps for creating the necessary feedback loop to test and enhance the value of your MVP:
- Develop a user base. The more users you have to test your MVP, the more data you’ll have to analyze and to learn from.
- Collect usage data. This will show you how users are interacting with your MVP. Your internal team can collect this data, or companies like Mixpanel and Intercom can help.
- Request feedback. Proactively survey users to get feedback to ensure you don’t only receive feedback if there is an issue, and make it easy for users to contact you. Remember that feedback is the purpose of the MVP, so make getting feedback a priority.
- Implement product modifications. After gathering feedback, integrate the insights to improve your product.
What to do with MVP Feedback: Persevere or Pivot
Sometimes user feedback affirms the concept of your MVP. Other times, it may indicate that you’re not on the right path. Either way, you’re learning your way closer to success. Once you receive feedback on your MVP, you have a key decision point: persevere with the original concept or modify your MVP strategy and pivot.
If your MVP shows the ability to solve the users’ problem, keep going and repeat the feedback loop by implementing the appropriate insight into your MVP product — then measure and learn again. If the new feedback doesn’t show the desired results, then you can pivot.
Types of Pivots
Pivots can have a major impact on your business. Consider Slack, the productivity giant which started as a gaming company. The game itself was not a success, but the internal collaboration tool went through a significant pivot, and the organization evolved into an entirely different business. Pivots aren’t always dramatic, however. Even small pivots can better position your product for growth.
There are three primary pivots at an MVP level:
- Product pivot — where one feature of your product offers much more value than the rest or when users request additional complementary features.
- Customer pivot — a new segment of customers are either more interested in your product or are willing to pay more.
- Problem pivot — the data showed that either the problem you are trying to solve isn’t important enough or there is another problem that offers more opportunity within your user group.
This valuable learning from your MVP can enable to you shift focus to another potentially more lucrative opportunity that is more beneficial for your customers.
How to Improve Success
You can maximize the value you gain from gathering feedback if you follow a few best practices.
- Take nothing for granted, challenge all ideas, and validate all assumptions. Make sure the data is validating moving forward in the direction you are heading.
- Don’t get too attached to any ideas. Listen to the feedback and objectively review the data to see if there are additional opportunities. It’s easy to fall into the trap of continuing down a path because you feel invested. But it’s important to take a step back. Does the data actually validate the idea, or should you pivot?
- Simplify. Do you have the opportunity to simplify your solution or to spin off some of the feature functionality as another product?
Creating an MVP is an ongoing process that leverages the powerful insight provided by customers to build a product that will test market viability while minimizing initial investment.
Knowing how and when to proceed with additional development cycles is key to success and positions your MVP product for growth.
Want to learn more about how we leverage the MVP process to create amazing apps that meet market needs? Get in touch.