The definition of a Minimum Viable Product is a concept to keep in mind not only as you prepare for launching a new product or service but in all sorts of business decision making.

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be defined as the optimum minimalist form of a product or service such that it has just enough value for the customer, for the business to establish a commercially sustainable and viable lifetime for it.

Most people like to add as much value into their products and services for fear of otherwise not being attractive enough for the customers’ interest or positive purchase decision. However, the more you add, the more time, energy, innovation, resources and costs you consume and as such the lower the returns on initial investment in getting the product to market.

Following the 80/20 Pareto Principle, 80% of the value of a product will come from the 20% most important features. Therefore the MVP, offering just those top 20% features, will allow the business decision makers to see if the product is commercially viable before sinking further resources into it, as they take it to a mass market.

The MVP approach, by definition being at the start of the product’s lifecycle, focuses on attracting interest from the innovators and early adopters, who themselves are highly engaged and allow the business to glean useful early feedback on product performance and usage. Once this feedback has been incorporated into a post-MVP version then the product is ready to be actively promoted to the early majority of the mass market, where profitability (once the product development and launch costs have been covered) begins to be achieved.

By working at the level of MVP to get the product to market, swiftly, efficiently and cost effectively, the business can make fast decisions about whether scalability is possible or whether resources are better spent on other products and projects in the product development funnel.

It’s also worth thinking about the concept of MVP in many of your other decisions too. Other applications could include:

Project Management – do we need to do all possible actions and ToDos or will the top 20% suffice?

Picking A Team – can I run a team or project with just a core staff and outsource non-core activities?

Daily Tasks – what is the minimum amount of resource I need to commit today to exceed the expectations of others, without needing to aim for perfection?

Minimum Viable Product is a very useful technique of thinking and decision making both strategically and tactically, especially for those who would otherwise stall and procrastinate because they have perfectionist tendencies.

As Nike says, “Just Do It”.

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