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What is Minimum Viable Product, and Why is it  Important?

It is critical to understand the term minimum viable product when running a startup or working as a product developer in a company. This knowledge, if well mastered, will be very useful in accelerating the company's growth.

Entrepreneurs or startups that do not implement a minimum viable product, or MVP, may have difficulty introducing their products to the general public. Thus, making it difficult for them to get customers. 

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What is Minimum Viable Product?

The term minimum viable product or MVP was first coined by Eric Ries. Eric is a US-based entrepreneur and startup consultant who wrote the book "The Lean Startup".

Minimum Viable Product is the standard of a product to be introduced to the public or potential customers. This standard is made to avoid product errors when it is in the introduction stage.

This is motivated by the number of disappointed customers who do not cooperate because the products offered show production defects that should not have happened.

Therefore, before being released or introduced, a product must meet the Minimum Viable Product first. So that what will be presented to potential customers is a stable product.

However, the Minimum Viable Product does not mean that the product is perfect. Sometimes the product takes longer to hit the word perfect and is 100% finished. So that the Minimum Viable Product is enough only until the product functions properly.

Further development can be carried out on the go or when the product has been used by the customer. This method is often used by startups with products in the form of applications, websites, or other products related to IT.

Purpose of Using Minimum Viable Product

1. Minimizing Product Failure

The first goal of using a minimum viable product is to minimize product failures. A product is highly susceptible to errors in numerous components, both small and large when it is released directly to customers without any additional standards.

The minimal requirement for a product to be issued is still required, even if a QA has already tested it.

When the product has minimal errors, this will also facilitate future development. You no longer need to worry about the number of errors or failures in the product because the product has met the predetermined Minimum Viable Product.

2. Release Products Faster

It is undeniable to build complex digital products that take a very long time, even years. If the release date is determined after the product is 100% completed, it is inefficient because it takes a long time.

Therefore, the Minimum Viable Product is used so that the product can be released faster, even though it is still not 100% completed. But at least the product has met the predetermined Minimum Viable Product standard.

These standards can be defined based on features, the flow of use, or functionality. At least the product can be used in several features to be released in the initial version.

The remaining features are still being developed concurrently, and once they are complete, they can be added to the product via a version update.

3. Testing Products on Users

Minimum Viable Product aims to introduce products to customers more quickly. Of course, this goal relates to product testing for users who are completely new to technology or IT-based product development.

Indeed, during development, a team must have a QA section whose job is to test the product before it is released. But still, you need feedback from real users to judge whether your product is worthy of being released in full or not.

4. Minimize Unnecessary Expenses

Products that are 100% completed and have just been made available to real users are prone to errors being found everywhere, which will only add to the overall repair cost. But this problem can be solved easily if you apply the Minimum Viable Product system.

An example of a Minimum Viable Product is when an error or negative feedback occurs on an MVP product, the company can repair the imperfect product more quickly.

This is certainly different when the product is finished as a whole. Fixing costs will be much more expensive and take longer.

Minimum Viable Product Characteristics

Determining the MVP cannot be done arbitrarily. There are some characteristics that must be met for the MVP goal to be achieved. Here are some of them:

1. Provide Feedback on Products

When determining the Minimum Viable Product, ensure you receive feedback from the semi-finished product. Make sure users who try or test your product provide corrections, suggestions, or constructive criticism.

This is important because you must also remember that the product is not 100% completed. Some developments must be continued, and with feedback, developments can be adjusted for the better. This is a very profitable Minimum Viable Product.

2. Have Values ​​That Attract Users

Although the Minimum Viable Product is the minimum standard for a product that is not yet 100% finished, don't forget the attractiveness of the product. You have to keep providing its own charm so that users are interested in trying your product.

To complete these characteristics, at least ensure the main feature flow is functioning properly. Then, provide some supporting features to support the functionality of these main features.

3. Has Long-Term Benefits

Even if your product isn't perfect, don't let this aspect disappear. That provides an overview of the long-term benefits. It doesn't matter even if the product is not completed, users must know whether your product can be a solution to their problems in the long term.

Because if you forget about long-term benefits and only focus on less important features, your efforts to attract customers are feared not to end well.

Example of Successful Use of Minimum Viable Products

One example of a Minimum Viable Product is Dropbox. Who would have thought that Dropbox founders launched Dropbox before they even built the product?

They uploaded a video about Dropbox, and surprisingly, tens of thousands of people expressed interest in the product. This is an example of great success in implementing Minimum Viable Products because they can save a large budget in development using only video.

You can also apply this MVP method to your business. Using Minimum Viable Product is a very right decision. Especially if your startup has few resources. This can greatly save time, effort and money.

Harby Jay | Author

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