Startup Monday: Lean Startup Basics – Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Hello and welcome to another edition of Startup Monday here on! I’ve been covering some of the fundamentals of the Lean Startup Process which is a methodology that has quickly become a passion for me. If you haven’t had a chance to read any of my posts about lean startups make sure to ready my Lean Startup 101 post to get the basics under your belt.

One of the most critical, yet confusing concepts in the lean startup world is the MVP, or Minimum Viable Product. In very simple terms, the minimum viable product is the bare basics of what you are building that is still enough to test with customers. The point of an MVP is to deliver your concept or ideas to get feedback from users as quickly as possible. This of course can be counter-intuitive as many developers are used to building software that isn’t released until it’s just right.

The lean startup process really illustrates the fact that until you get customer feedback, you never know how useful your software or solution is really going to be. Creating your MVP is what allows you to provide your target customers with the basic idea to see if they will actually use it, and if so, how they use it, what they like, and most importantly, what they don’t like!

The MVP can be confusing because people can often ignore the “M” and skip right to the viable product. In some cases the MVP may just be a landing page with an email sign-up box on it. Your MVP could be simply determining if people are really as interested in your product as you think they will be. If you blast your idea out to 1,000 people and not a single person signs-up, you may need to go back to the drawing board, and you will have learned a lot from your simple MVP.

In many cases an MVP is more than just a simple email sign-up box and it’s determining where your MVP stops and your full product begins that is critical. If you develop too far you may miss-out on some valuable lessons you could learn by testing your most basic assumptions.

At this point you might get it, or you might be even more confused than you were when you started reading! Luckily I have some great resources for you direct from Eric Ries, the founder of the lean startup movement. First I highly recommend you read Eric’s article on his blog – Minimum Viable Product: A Guide. Next I recommend you watch the video below where Eric gives an detailed presentation about the MVP to a lean startup meetup group in San Francisco:

You can view Eric’s presentation slides from this talk below:

Minimum Viable Product

View more presentations from Eric Ries

Now last, but certainly not least – read Eric’s new book! It was just released at TechCrunch Disrupt last week and it is one of the absolutely best books I’ve read all year. If you want to learn the basics of lean startup and beyond Eric’s book is the one book you need to read.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton