The minimum viable product is the simplest version of a product that meets the basic consumer’s needs without exceeding expectation. Minimum viable product was coined by Eric Ries in the field of web applications, he wanted to explain the process of developing a product application software for customers which was centered on understanding and meeting the customers’ needs. This term has since become widely used in different fields of study, more so in product development.

Developing a minimum viable product requires the least input of the developer’s time and money. In this case the developer doesn’t waste his efforts creating a product that the customer does not need. In developing a minimum viable product, the developer is basically asking the customer to put his money where his mouth is and pay for a product that he says he needs.

Developing a minimum viable product is a six step cycle. The developer collects data from customers which he uses to come up with ideas about a product that will be most suited to meet the customer’s demands with the least input.

  1. collection of the data using customer interviews and surveys
  2. building the product using these ideas
  3. marketing the product to the customers
  4. usage of product demos
  5. measurement of the customer’s responses to the new product and usage of the data to learn about the customer needs again and
  6. coming up with a better version of the product – and the cycle repeats itself

There are different types of minimum viable product. The first is an explainer video which explains a product and why customers should buy it. Another example is a website’s landing page. A landing page is the first thing that a customer sees when he goes to your website hence the need to impress. It quickly explains your product, the value it brings to the customer and invites the visitors to act on it. The wizard of Oz MVP involves ‘faking’ the customer to think that there is a real working business just to gather information about the market. It involves gathering information on customer preference by leading customers to believe that there is such a business and then using their feedback to develop the real business. Another example is the concierge MVP which involves coming up with a manual service for existing customers and then using the data that is gathered through the service to develop a product that the consumer needs.

Related topics: Find a business idea, scaling a business