There’s a really important concept in building a digital product that nobody else talks about. And I think I know why.
Unfortunately, without following this approach most people will never get the results they hope for. And if they do get results, it will take a long time, be very expensive, and come only after a lot of hard knocks.
It can be so much easier than this. Just learn this concept, and apply it.
It’s called “MVP,” which stands for Minimum Viable Product.
As a product manager in technology I’ve used this approach for many years, and know first-hand it works like a charm.
The concept of MVP sprung out of the Silicon Valley startup scene, which relies primarily on investors for funding a new tech business. The goal is to invest enough money in the business to see if it can be profitable, at which point it can be sold or go public, rewarding the investors with a big payout.
Since so many tech investments in the “dot com” era returned a big fat zero in terms of return on investment, the investors started clamping down on the wasteful, uncontrolled spending of the founders. This resulted in a much leaner, faster approach to getting new ideas to market. Enter the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Fast forward to today, and all established tech companies use this MVP approach.
The beauty of the MVP framework is that it can be applied to a wide range of projects and is completely scalable (i.e. it can be used on big or small projects, and complex or simple ones).
It just happens to suit software development really really well.
So, what does Minimum Viable Product mean?
The simplest definition I can think of in one sentence is this: it’s a process of defining and then building the absolute minimum amount of features of your product in order to get it to market.
Getting it to market means more than just putting it up online somewhere. The product must be “viable” enough that people will find sufficient value in the product to give you money in order to use it.
Here’s a dramatic, but real example:
The first iPhone was an MP3 player with a phone that constantly dropped the connection.
That was a true MVP product. (By the way Apple is highly regarded in the industry at being superior at MVP.) Look at the iPhone now. Over the years, Apple has learned what worked and what didn’t work, and then improved the product incrementally into the amazing device it is today. And it keeps getting better.
That is the MVP strategy. Anyone can learn it and use it to get to market fast, learn what’s the next most important thing to change, and do that. Over and over.
Some tech companies (including the one I work for in my day job) have gotten so good at this “test, learn, and relaunch” approach that they have an automated delivery system called Continuous Release (CR). The CR system is a way for any development team to add incremental improvements to their live software at any time. It’s really really amazing.
But I digress.
Learning how to use MVP properly to launch your next digital product is well worth your time. It’s not a hard concept to learn and in fact makes complete sense. Once you get a handle on it, you’ll see its beauty and elegance. And once you’ve used it a few times and experienced its power, you’ll wonder how you ever succeeded at anything without it.
In fact, it’s kind of like a secret weapon. If you use this “weapon” and your competitors don’t… there’s no way they will be able to touch you.
So you might ask, “Why does nobody else talk about MVP?” My theory is that other online marketing experts don’t have a tech industry product management background. They may know the concept exists, and may even use parts of it, but they don’t truly know how powerful it can be.”
But now, you do.