Startup Library

Avoid the mistakes of building a poor minimum viable product

The goal of an MVP is:

[…] to get a barebones version of your product out to market for real customers to buy, use, and break. Then you clean up the failures, fix the weak points, and most importantly, figure out where your customers find value and where they don’t.

Instead of building everything into your MVP, the idea is that you test the single most important feature. Take this example of how an Uber MVP would look like:

The MVP might be a simple app with a big button to hail for a ride. The customer’s location is pinpointed automatically with their mobile device. Then maybe we send an email with all the ride and rider details to a 24/7 support team, maybe the founding team, who calls or texts a group of test drivers (friends) and arranges the ride. When the ride is complete, maybe the payment is taken with a manual card swipe.

What is being tested here is the pinpointing and acting on the customer’s exact location as the critical test.

Instead of building everything with a very low quality, just choose one thing to test and do your best to understand if it would work. In summary:

An MVP needs a small feature set, high quality, low automation, and maximum flexibility. Once these things come together then the only thing stopping us from launch is fear itself.