Lean MVP: Get Your Digital Product To Market (Fast!)
Most of us are aware 'MVP’ or ‘Minimal Viable Product’ as a concept. In essence, it is about getting to market quickly, such that you can start collecting data, validating your digital product in the wild and generating iterative ideas to improve using real world data.
In theory, your MVP should be embarrassing. It should be lean and scrappy. Every minute you spend offline, be it in design workshops, branding workshops, digital strategy ‘alignments’ or similar - is an extra minute, hour, or day that you aren’t validating your idea with real customers.
How lean can an MVP for a digital product be?
- So lean, that there is no support function, most buttons say, “Coming Soon.”
- So lean, that your colours and branding do not need to be final.
- So lean, you let your lead developer write copy for you on certain pages.
- So lean, that users can make a booking, though need to call you to change it.
A lean MVP is evidence of progress for your digital product. It’s a stake in the ground to you, your team, your founders, your key stakeholders that you aren’t just an idea. You’re taking the steps to ‘do’, which is already ten steps ahead of the next person who simply has a great ‘idea’.
Who does digital product MVP well?
Start-ups and digital businesses are exceptionally good at getting their MVPs to market because they inherently understand the benefit of being online, transactional, and gathering insights.
Corporates, much less so. Corporates do not do embarrassing. Corporates cannot deliver sub-optimal experiences to their customers. They are forbidden from the start-up mantra of ‘break it then make it.’
For corporates, MVP needs to be as polished as an optimal product. Multitudes of time being expended, no insights, no validation, no-world improvement. Just wait until it is ready and signed off by the organisational matrix.
The opportunity of being a scrappy start-up is lost.
This is where a Lean MVP can meet you halfway
The concept of a Lean MVP finds an equilibrium between speed and quantity of features. It gives you a taste of getting something to market, in a reasonably polished fashion.
It might not take bookings or allow for payments, though it establishes the tenets of design, experience, and structure, such that users – internally and externally – can see it, align to it and use it as the basis for driving the next phase of development, far more quickly than if all had been bundled up under an MVP.
An example of Lean MVP in action
Let’s use the example of a marketplace, the strategy would be as follows.
There are two customers. Those selling, those buying.
Starting a conversation with both is important, especially sellers whom you will want in numbers from day one in order for the marketplace to have early viability.
Use the Lean MVP to sell the benefits of the marketplace to vendors and to solicit registration.
Use the Lean MVP to build the tenets of SEO for eventual searches by buyers. While the MVP is being developed, continue to invest in this SEO such that you have some degree of surface area in Google and are in a better place at launch than you otherwise would have been.
Little of your effort needs be wasted either.
Build the Lean MVP on a lean tech stack and then transfer it from that to your broader platform as it becomes available.
Do not underestimate the power of Monty Python; simply ‘get on with it!’.
In summary, what are the benefits to the Lean MVP approach?
To reiterate, the Lean MVP approach is a solid foundation to planting the seeds of success for your digital product or idea. It’s your initial stop, on the journey to MVP.
Some of the key benefits include:
- Faster path to market; mitigate the usual roadblocks and inertia of corporates.
- Inspire and motivate; get your team and potential customers enthusiastic with progress.
- Collect data and insights and pivot; Instagram started as a whiskey rating app, enough said.
- Grow your organic search presence before your MVP. You can always engage SEO migration services later.