Advantages of using a minimum viable product approach

Advantages of using a minimum viable product approach
Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She writes for PrintPlace.com, a company that offers online printing for business cards, catalogs, posters, brochures, and more printed marketing media. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.

For small businesses that are looking to bring a new product to market, the concept around a minimum viable product is an excellent way to test your idea with your customers. A minimum viable product (MVP) is a design of a product that has the absolute least amount of features needed for testing purposes.

One of the cornerstone principles of the MVP process is to test on your ideal customers. These are people you can coach and observe while collecting information. As you release various iterations of your product, at some point you find those most basic features that provide your customers with a workable solution. This is your minimum viable product.

So how does this help you save money and get the best results?

Cheaper

When you design a new product, there is typically a single thing it’s designed to do for the consumer. Instead of developing a complete product, the MVP concept suggests that you only create a prototype that has the most basic features.

This saves you money in both design costs and manufacturing because you’re not having to develop extra functionality that may compromise the product anyway. These cost savings are important early on because you don’t know for sure yet how your customers may use the product or which features you may need to add to find your MVP.

Remember that this process may require that you continue to add functionality until you find that ideal solution for your customers. Instead of building a full featured product and then testing, an MVP method lets you roll out less expensive concepts.

Faster

Another benefit of an MVP process is that you can implement an idea, study its use by consumers, make additions or corrections, and repeat as necessary – all in a very fast fashion. You’re not trying to create the perfect product. You only need to find those minimum sets of features that solve the problem for your customers.

This means you don’t even need to have a pretty prototype. You only want the basics and this is a lot easier to do quickly.

More Effective

Ultimately, using the MVP approach means you end up with the least amount of features that solve the problem. This typically translates into fewer moving parts (for products), fewer support staff (for services), and fewer lines of code (for developers).

So for the least amount of dollars at a fast pace you are able to discover those features that meet the needs of customers and move forward with final product design. This generally results in a more effective product development approach ideal for small businesses.

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