Creating an MVP: mistakes to avoid
Almost every startup founder or product manager wants to start creating their product with the so-called “starting”: MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Indeed, MVP development is an essential element of startup creation.
Surprisingly, often it becomes just a convenient name for the product’s first version. The product concept itself often needs to be more defined.
We have encountered dozens of MVP concepts prepared by representatives of startups or companies planning to create digital products as new components of their business model. In the vast majority of cases, the newly created product was MVP only in name, and the idea of lean startup was implemented incorrectly or completely ignored.
Below is a summary of the most common mistakes when defining MVP for new digital products.
Lack of clear assumptions about the target group and the values to be delivered to it
Assumptions about the target group and the values provided to this group seem so obvious to many creators of new products that, in most cases, they are not explicitly recorded in the context of the MVP definition. From our observations, clearly defining the target group and value is a solid foundation for all further considerations. Its lack causes doubts in the decision-making process regarding the functional scope of MVP more often.
On the other hand, defining these assumptions can help discover smaller target groups and their values, the presence of which in the product’s business model is not obvious. The assumptions about the target group are key hypotheses that we want to test with our MVP.
No hypothesis that MVP is supposed to help verify
MVP is a tool for testing hypotheses about the created product. Surprisingly in this context, no one defines any hypotheses for most MVPs. In such a situation, the risk of defining the scope of the product beyond the necessary minimum is enormous, especially if we are talking about the first MVP, which is most often used to verify fundamental hypotheses about the target group and its demand for the values provided by our product.
A clearly put hypothesis allows us not only to limit the functional scope of our product properly but, above all, allows us to decide on the form of the product and its distribution channel, which always has a significant impact on the time and cost of producing MVP.
Failure to include the user acquisition channel in hypotheses regarding MVPs
The fuel of any digital product is user acquisition channels. The product will not work without users, and users will not arrive from anywhere.
In practice, the existence of a properly scalable channel for acquiring users can be a key hypothesis posed to our MVP.
Failure to include user acquisition channels in considerations on MVP may lead to a situation in which a product will be created for which it will not be possible to acquire users. The financial risk of this type of investment will then be huge. In addition, you should remember the impact of user acquisition channels on the form of the created product itself.
Failure to take into account the impact of the assumed user acquisition channel on the functionality of the product
When defining the form or functional scope of the product, it should be remembered that the assumed channels of acquiring users may affect the form of our product. An example is a marketplace web application, for which SEO will be a natural channel for attracting users. In this case, the product design that does not allow indexing the content available in search engines will mean that this channel will not work at all.
Another example will be a product that assumes acquiring users through content shared on social media. This channel will not work if the product cannot share content optimized for this purpose. Such mistakes when defining the form of a digital product often occur, especially when it comes to a secondary user acquisition channel.
Lack of a specific way to measure coefficients to verify the hypothesis
The hypothesis behind our MVP is worth nothing if we do not measure indicators to verify its integrity. What’s worse, we may not realize that our hypothesis is impossible to prove objectively.
It should be remembered that the ability to measure appropriate indicators always requires proper implementation of the method and tools for measuring them. In the case of digital products, indicator measurement is usually carried out using the right analytical tools (such as Google Analytics or Mixpanel). If these tools are not adequately prepared, we may irretrievably lose the ability to measure the indicators of our MVP during the planned campaign promoting our product.
You should always strive to ensure that indicators are measured in an automated, repeatable, and scalable manner. In practice, many of the same indicators will be used many times to verify hypotheses at different stages of product life.
Unclear form of definition of the functional scope of an MVP
Even those MVP creators who define its scope methodically need help choosing the proper form of description of the functional scope of MVP. Therefore, each MVP is a slightly different approach to how the requirements are formulated for him. This is particularly evident in the requirements defining the product’s functionality.
All in all, these are the most mistakes companies make when developing an MVP. You should also carefully choose the tools to develop your MVP with, as there are lots of different solutions (a website with Node js is one of the decent options). Just contact professionals, and they will help you make the right choice.