The minimum viable product has proven to be a successful method of product development and testing. Building an MVP is not so much about technical ability, but more about a different way of looking at things. Let’s grow your MVP mindset!

As you will know, a minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers while also providing feedback for future product development. Building an MVP is a great way to test your product in the market. Gathering insights from an MVP is often less expensive than developing a product with more features.

More specifically, building an MVP is a useful practice for companies who are seeking to overhaul their route to market or value chain but fear retaliatory responses from their channel partners. As Matthijs Rosman put it, it is also a great way of circumventing the “valley of tears” potentially caused by a drop in revenues or profits while reinventing the business model.

Inspiring MVP Examples

Successful companies big and small have proven the viability of MVP’ing. Below I will describe some examples that will inspire you:

1. AdWords Express

AdWords Express is a simplified version of AdWords, which generates relevant ad copy for the customer. From the beginning, this process seemed to be automated, but when this product was being developed, the back-end consisted of a group of students who were very quickly typing ad copy.

When this experiment proved successful, AdWords Express was further developed, and the process is now fully automated.

2. Amazon

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in the garage of his rented home in Bellevue, Washington. The website was straightforward: just a catalog of books. If a customer ordered one, Amazon bought it straight from the distributor and shipped it. Iteration after iteration followed. Over the years, Amazon started to sell more products, bought warehouses, and personalized their website for each visitor. According to Forbes, Amazon is now the world’s third-largest retailer.

3. BDR Thermea

The predictive maintenance service for BDRThermea’s boiler helps to predict the general status of a boiler in order to prevent an outage. In this way, loss or degradation of heat comfort is prevented.

At RevelX, we helped BDRThermea develop this predictive maintenance feature as an MVP. It was successfully introduced into the market in 2017.

4. Buffer

In 2010, British entrepreneur Joel Gascoigne had a great idea. “I wanted to take the scheduling feature of many Twitter clients and apps and make that single feature awesome,” as he would write later.

First Gascoigne created a landing page to see if enough people were interested in the product to make it a profitable venture. After reaching a critical mass of registrations, Gascoigne built and designed the first version of the application software in 7 weeks. Before long Buffer was transformed into an app with 100,000 users.

5. Dropbox

Dropbox started with a simple video that briefly explained the effect of the product that the makers wanted to launch. The video was very successful and gave Dropbox the valuable feedback that enabled them to validate their core assumptions.

It's the  Mindset, Stupid!

The 5 examples of successful MVP’s described above have one thing in common: the creators dared to think out-of-the-box. Building an MVP is not so much about technical ability, but more about a different way of looking at things. To paraphrase US President William Jefferson Clinton, “It’s the mindset, stupid!”

In other words, an MVP can take many forms. Did you think about the following models?

  • Instead of a fully working website or application, you make an impression of the future possibilities. On the basis of the audience’s clicks and scrolling behavior, you determine whether you will build a real product and what features it will have.
  • If you want to include a service in your portfolio, you do not have to set up the whole process immediately. Instead, you offer the service once, for one client. The execution of a one-off service will be more expensive, but you will receive priceless information concerning market demand and effective pricing.
  • Do not immediately develop new options for a website or app, but announce them on your site. The number of clicks on the message indicates whether the customer is interested in this feature.

Happy MVP’ing!

Are you ready to build your MVP? The only thing I can recommend to you is just to start making great things! But one last piece of advice: our MVP Toolkit can help prepare you for this task. It provides you with a framework, a list of must-reads, and some workshop canvases so you can start practicing right away. You can download the MVP Toolkit here.

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