MVP or a Prototype When Building a Tech Startup?
There is a lot of confusion around the topic of MVP and Prototype and what is the difference between the two.
So I wrote this article to shed some light on this.
An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is an essential component of a startup.
It is the simplest form of your product that you can release to your target market to test whether there is demand for it. In addition, the MVP helps you to gather feedback from users and determine the next steps for your business.
The Minimum Viable Product is an experiment.
To figure out if you have made the correct assumptions, you must know what will be there in the first phase of your product.
And if this version excites the early adopters. As you receive feedback, corrections get easier. So, MVP is about making your product stable and that the particular set of features is ‘solving a problem or need’.
There is a widely accepted concept of MVP by Eric Ries, author of Lean Startup:
“MVP is the version of a new product that allows you to collect the maximum of validated learning about your end customers with the least effort!”
1. An MVP (minimum viable product) is a version of your product that allows you to test the most critical assumptions about your idea.
2. You should build an MVP when you want to test a significant part of your idea and don’t have enough information to make a prototype.
3. The benefits of building an MVP are getting feedback from your target market, reducing your risk, and saving time and money.
4. Some standard MVP models are the landing page MVP, the feature-light MVP, and the Concierge MVP.
Yevgeniy (Jim) Brikman was correct in explaining this hullabaloo. He spotted the wrong in the picture and explained why Eric Ries calls “MVP is a process and not a product.”
Stories of Brands Who Never Built the Entire Product But Became Famous
Let me narrate some stories of those who knew what to do after agile minimum viable product development.
Drew Houston from Dropbox never released the entire product when he came up with the idea in 2007. Instead, he released a simple video explaining what the product does.
He published the video through Digg, and the target was just the early adopters of technology.
This video helped them increase beta sign-up from 5000 to 75000 overnight.
The interest further validated some assumptions developers already made. Since file organization was a challenging task for most people, Dropbox was trying to address this.
Once their assumption proved correct, they launched Dropbox, catering services to 1 million users in less than ten months.
They started as a simple WordPress Blog wherein the team regularly offered some daily discounts, gift certificates, concert vouchers, movie tickets, and other details in the Chicago area.
People who signed up received PDFs with coupons. So you now know what Groupon has achieved.
Both of them did the correct thing after their MVP was ready. So what steps did these brands like Groupon, Dropbox, Uber, Zappos or AirBNB take?
What all they moved into was preparing — a Minimum Marketable Product. This is what brought them success.
They used this MMP to sell, look for the target market, gather business intelligence, and prioritize their product.
I was awestruck by reading one Medium article that explained the Minimum Viable Product is a whole different dimension. Jon H. Pittman, the author of “The Tyranny of the Minimum Viable Product” explained the way to map MVP. and how it should have both Romantic and Classic Qualities.
You can read more about it in the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.
On the other hand, a prototype is an early version of your product that is not ready for release to the public. It is used to test your idea and see how it works in practice. Prototypes are often used to get feedback from users and determine what features to include in the final product.
So, which one should you build? Well, it depends on your needs. For example, if you want to test the feasibility of your idea, then you should create a prototype. On the other hand, if you’re going to determine whether there is demand for your product, you should build an MVP.
Which path you choose depends on your specific situation and goals.
If you’re unsure which direction to take, it’s a good idea to consult with someone who knows more about product development.
Whatever path you choose, make sure you’re focused on creating a product that your customers will want to use. This is the key to success for any startup.
Whichever one you choose, make sure that you constantly gather feedback from users and make changes based on that feedback. The success of your startup depends on it!
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