What is an MVP and the key tips to make it right

A well-known term in the world of startups, the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is less so in the world of large companies. However, whatever the size of your organization, developing your digital solutions starting with an MVP will bring you many benefits.

Here are a few lines of a definition of the MVP and the reasons that push us at CODIXIS to privilege this approach as a prerequisite for the development of a digital service of greater scope.

An MVP, concretely, what is it?

If you work in a market where you have no competitor and for a company with unlimited budgets no need to go further in reading this article. If this is not the case, the MVP approach should interest you!

The acronym MVP means the Minimum Viable Product or the Minimum Product Valid in French (if it is). A term a little barbaric, which can make room for interpretations and fantasies. Indeed, the terms “Minimum” and “Valid” do not mean the same thing for everyone.

For simplicity, we could say that the MVP is a Quick, Testable and Usable version of your product. It’s different from an animated model, which represents a successful design but is non-functional. In an MVP, the functional approach is favored to the detriment of design to allow such a quick launch and obtaining valuable user feedback.

The MVP is the first step of an iterative process that will bring you to your “successful” solution.

Minecraft: Perhaps the best example …

Do you know Minecraft? But if …, this is the nugget bought back to its founders 2.5 billion dollars in 2014 by Microsoft and which today has more than 100,000,000 copies sold …

Everything started in 2009 with a first version developed in 6 days. An MVP so.

A minimalist design (you will agree …), limited functions but a desire for its designer, Markus Persson to validate the interest of a game based on the principle of block management in three dimensions.

Minecraft in 2009

The step-by-step validation of the concept’s merits and the feedback from the growing community of first-time users will quickly lead to full-time commitment and more resources.

I also like the drawing of Henrik Kniberg, which illustrates the interest of favoring an iterative and agile approach, beginning with an MVP.

Agility according to Henrik Kniberg

If your goal is to provide a service that allows a user to travel from point A to point B.

A classic approach would be to focus on the “car” product and move forward on the design of the different parts of it.

An agile approach starting with the realization of an MVP will lead you first to a skateboard for example. The user can still move while with a steering wheel it will not go far ….

With feedback from the first users, you will evolve your product to its next stages of development, gradually increasing user satisfaction.

The benefits of the approach?

Of course, at first there is a significant economic benefit because you commit little budget in the MVP of your product. Much less in all cases than leaving ball in the lead in the development of a more complete solution to meet user needs poorly identified …

We could list the advantages of an agile development strategy and the realization of an MVP as follows:

Time to market

A functional solution quickly delivered and usable allows a quick marketing and a first confrontation of the product with its target. At worst, if it’s a disaster, it’s a good time to realize it and take the necessary steps.
Reid Hoffman, one of Linkedin’s founders, says, “If you’re not ashamed of your product, you’ve released it too late.”
I have in mind some big groups that take several years to go from idea to product. As many as you can say in a few years, the needs of the users can evolve, the technologies available also …

Validation of concept

To validate your concept, nothing beats experimentation in real life.
This step will allow you to secure your future investments by adjusting your concept and value proposition if necessary.

User feedback – co construction

Feedback is a gift! The return of the users will be a mine of important information to evolve your solution. Using feedback from users (and letting them know) is also a great way to build a loyal and productive community. A community you can rely on when you go to market and want to recruit again

User satisfaction

Developing your solution in an iterative way is the guarantee to obtain a product bringing the maximum of satisfaction to your users.

How do you go about developing your MVP?

1. Put you in the right frame of mind

No, your product will not be perfect right now!
You have to be ready to act step by step, to question your concept and your certainties.
Abandon specifications and specifications. Certainly, these documents are reassuring (finally for some) but they are long to write and not adapted to your new approach. Privilege the expression of user needs.

2. Prepare the development of your MVP and train yourself!

This phase must be fast enough. It consists of:
– Describe a general context of the project, your concept and the service you want
– Make simple wireframes of the first screens of your solution
– Write, in the form of “User stories”, the expected functionalities and prioritize them
– Send these documents to your favorite development team;)
– Identify in your team an interlocutor who will be product owner of your product

Do you need a hand for this step?

With our partner Coding Days, we have designed for you the “Ramp-up Sprint”, so that all conditions are met before the development of your solution.

A program of about two weeks to:
– Train your teams on the basics of developments, on the technologies we will use to develop your product *
– Train your teams to the optimal use of project management tools *
– Challenge the value proposition of your product
– Hacking the Design and UX of your MVP
– Define the “User stories” of your product and write the “Product backlog” to launch the developments

3. Attack the developments!

Define the budget you want to allocate to your MVP. With you, your developer team will seek to exploit it at best.

Launch your developments and stop as soon as you have reached an MVP that will allow you to validate your concept and get the first user feedback. Do not wait to have a perfect product, you could wait a long time.

Choose an agile approach with your development team with a regular sprint review.

Codixis develops digital solutions by applying agile methodology. Our startup studio accompanies our clients (from startups to large groups) in the design and development of their solutions, from MVP to industrial solutions.
A project ? Try the agile approach! Contact us!

By |February 13th, 2019|Article|

About the Author:

French engineer graduated from the Arts & Métiers and HEC Paris, Guillaume worked as a strategy consultant for telecom and media projects. He then founded U Pro in 2008, and sold it in 2011 to the 3rd French communication group, U Pro is now one of the key French players in corporate video services. Tech & web passionate, Guillaume is the CEO of Codixis.