The Minimum Viable Product Approach in Product Development

The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product that is sellable (viable) and can serve as the ‘mini’ version of a full product, having just enough features to test an idea and collect feedback from users.

Also, an MVP is that product that allows you to acquire the first set of users that are early adopters of your product. The feedback from early adopters are useful for subsequent iterations of the product.

Remember that user research and ideation is a prerequisite for creating an MVP. MVPs can be for new ideas or existing ideas and they don’t have to be time-consuming to create in some cases.

A simple form can be an MVP for a service idea where users can submit their details to experience a service.

A simple minimalist website served as an MVP for Airbnb when they needed to validate their idea and test their offering.

Together with the founders’ apartment, they built an MVP and have guests paying. All the website had was photos and details of their property.

An MVP could also be a product with one basic feature. This feature has to be important, serving the core of an idea.

When it comes to MVP, ‘minimum’ and ‘viable’ are two words you shouldn’t lose sight of.

Benefits of an MVP

An MVP is beneficial in several ways. Here are some benefits:

  • An MVP is a fast way to release a product or a feature to the market as fast you can
  • Collect feedback and data from users to develop a better product for your next product release
  • Learn about the market and what stands out to your users
  • Uncover whether your users will be willing to pay for your product or idea
  • Validate your idea to learn if it’s what the market wants and if it’s worth pursuing
  • Prove your idea on a low budget. An MVP could also be a proof of concept.

An MVP is one of the fastest ways to fail fast and fail forward. You can easily learn and tweak your idea as needed without huge investments. 

You can also use free tools, open source, no-code, low-code and inexpensive resources to create an MVP. It doesn’t have to cost too much to test an idea and put it in the hands of users.

How Not to Develop an MVP

Products are developed to solve problems and an MVP is the first iteration of a product.

To understand how not to develop an MVP, let’s consider this common example for explaining what an MVP is not and what it is.

Problem: Ineffective Transportation 

Mini user story: Users should be able to move from Point C to Point G

The image below give us the answer of how to solve this problem and what an MVP will look like


In the illustration above, no one will pay for one wheel because it clearly doesn’t solve the problem of moving users to their desired destination. 

A skateboard is a better MVP because it solves the problem using minimal resources. 

In subsequent iterations of the skateboard which is informed by testing it with users and getting their feedback, we can see that the skateboard evolves at every stage of a new iteration until it becomes a car (still achieving the solution of movement from one point to the other).

Elements that Makes an MVP Viable

An MVP differs from a full working product because it has minimal features and can solve the most important problem identified without compromising on design, usability, reliability and functionality.

If an MVP is functional without satisfying the other conditions, it is next to being useless, unattractive and unreliable.

An MVP is a mini product that can be paid for. It might be difficult to market and get users to pay for an MVP that’s deficient on one or more of the 4 elements of an MVP.

Think MVP, think a mini product. The best way to look at an MVP is to see it as an MPP (Minimum Payable Product).


Eric Ries made the concept of a Minimum Viable Product popular through his book, The Lean Startup. 

An MVP is not tools and features that are incomplete or built in half. It is a working product that is the minimum requirement for solving a problem or validating an idea.

Remember the 4 key elements of an MVP and don’t forget that an MVP is viable. 

Get users paying for your idea. Let’s help you develop an MVP that is marketable. We build scalable and resilient products so you’re assured of an MVP that can be scaled over time.

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