5 Steps to Creating a Minimum Viable Product

Let me paint you a picture of the purpose of a minimum viable product, or MVP for short. You come up with an amazing idea for a new product – let’s call it a Thingamajig. You spent 12 months creating the Thingamajig, correcting each bug, and creating features for every possible intended use case that a potential customer may have. Finally the big day comes and you add a “Download a Thingamajig” button to your website, and what happens? No one downloads. You’ve just spent 12 months of your life building a product that no one wants.

An easy way to solve this problem would have been to build an MVP. In this case, you could have made the button “Download a Thingamajig” first, wait to see how many people click, and then start designing the product. Design the product with one, maybe two basic features and see what the customers are asking for. In other words, a minimum viable product is a product that has the bare minimum amount of functionality necessary to serve a purpose. From there, listen to your users feedback and iterate the product accordingly.

  1. Figure out who your audience is and what problem you’re solving for them – An easy way to figure this out is ask yourself the questions: why do I need this product? Why does it help me?
  2. Conduct a competitive analysis – entrepreneurs are frequently blinded by how unique and revolutionary they believe their idea is and they neglect to research other similar products that already exist. Do yourself a favor and do some quick research. Try to find existing products that would solve the same problem you’re attempting to solve. This will save you a lot of work in the long run.
  3. Create the user flow – Now it’s time to step into the shoes of your users. How would they find your product? Then, how would they use it to achieve their objective and resolve their original issue? Walk the journey your customers will take.
  4. Brainstorm necessary features and prioritize them – An easy way to do this is draw out your user flow as a line on top and write a title for each section. For example: discover product, search through product, buy product, etc. Then, list out all the features necessary in order to complete each of those user flow steps.
  5. Listen to customer feedback and iterate – When building an MVP, it is essential to incorporate your users feedback into your building process. The reason you are building this product is to serve your users, so hear them out and tailor new features or updates to their needs. Constantly be listening and iterating.

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