Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – is essential for the success of your startup. And lean methodology is a scientific approach towards how to build that MVP.
That was a short version. Full version is a lot bigger and requires some history behind it to be explained.
A bit of a history
The term MVP was originally coined and defined by Frank Robinson in 2001. Alongside with Steve Blank, who pushed this term to the masses. They was a pioneer in this field.
But the one who did the most to this concept on the rails was Eric Ries. He was the one who created and perfected lean startup methodology and did it via his book The Lean Startup. That’s where term MVP has been finally defined. And the Lean Methodology has been presented as a way of building it.
But if you think that the lean methodology was born in IT circles you would be terribly wrong. As it originally derived from the manufacturing industry. Where engineer Taiichi Ohno developed it for Toyota. As you may have guessed, that’s basically the same concept, but for the automobile industry.
One very important point to remember is that MVP is just the end product. While lean startup methodology is a process. And not vice versa, as it is now commonly considered (misunderstood).
In a nutshell, lean methodology of producing an MVP is an iterative build approach. Which can be described like this:
- cut the edges
- iterate fast
Actually, lean MVP methodology it looks like this.
One more pretty common misconception is that iterating MVP development cycles means failing as fast as possible. Because of that, there has even a “fail fast” term emerged. And it got pretty popular among the masses.
However, as Eric Ries says, Lean methodology is not about failing as fast as possible. But about learning from your fails and implementing what you’ve learned into the next iteration. Speed is essential, but it must not interfere with the quality. Remember, you have only one chance to hook your clients and investors. Those are usually not willing to give a second chance to the app.
But why is lean methodology so popular, anyway? Well, because it actually works. Therefore, it saves your time and money. To validate the market startups need 2-3 times more time than most founders expect, which creates a big tension that leads to premature scaling. And premature scaling, nearly always, means imminent end of any startup.
- A real user’ feedback tempers your aspirations. As you may go too easy on your idea. MVP will show a real picture of what to expect and, probably, where to move.
- Lean methodology gives you time and space for maneuver. If you release buggy and overall raw product, with this level of competition, chances are that you’re done. While, if you will move carefully from the alfa towards release, you might find your early adopters on the way.
- It might change your initial idea. As you start with an idea of geo-fences for pets, you discover that your MVP is pretty popular. You scale it a bit, and then again, and again… And here you are, with a global surveillance system on all the people around the globe! Jokes aside, gathered feedback will help to better modify your idea for the market you’re targeting. So you won’t find yourself with a “brilliant” but irrelevant product, in the end.
Yes, following the canons of lean methodology is time consuming, exhaustive and pretty demanding. On the other hand, it gives these advantages:
- Save resources
- Test the viability of your idea and, therefore, a product
- Meet your potential customers, early adopters and investors
- Through iterations find the most certain way towards success
While it takes a decent chunk of your resources, it is still much better than rushing into the action. Just to find out in the end, that you were misguided about the your idea, market positioning, functionality, development strategy (underline your case).
Author – Alex Volski: Content writer at Thinkmobiles for more than 5 years, and a tech-geek for a whole life. Currently my field of interest lies with AR and VR. However, mobile tech is forever in my heart. So, if you’d like to get some additional info – please contact me. And if you have something interesting to say from your side – contact me ASAP. Hope to see you soon enough.