An MVP is the first version of a product with just enough features to attract customers and validate the product early in the development cycle. It serves as a proof of concept and a foundation for more functionality, creativity, and development.
The concept of an MVP was born in 2009 from the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries. In his book, Eric elaborates on how today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. The book is so well received that Jeffery Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, has all of his management team read it upon their promotion.
What is an MVP?
To break it down:
- Minimum: The most rudimentary, bare-bones foundation of the product. Brings the concept to life without exhausting resources.
- Viable: The version sufficient enough for early adopters and attracts potential customers. The time for development to pivot or buckle down.
- Product: A tangible and interactive product that closely resembles the final product. It tests for potential demand and indicates success or failure.
An MVP is not a prototype or a version with little functionality like many seem to believe. It is however a combination of the minimum functionality, reliability, usability, and design needed to test the product. Ultimately, an MVP is one of the easiest ways to really gauge the validity of your product or service. It helps you gain an understanding of your target market’s interest in your product without fully developing.