We've all come across a lot of products in our daily life, the computer or smartphone you're reading this blog on, your headphones, a television, these are all examples of products. Instagram is an amazing product, Instagram has a lot of cool features like DMs, the feed, the explore page, and even Reels which was launched recently, all these features can be considered as individual products too. These products are actively being worked on by product teams and product managers.
Minimum Viable Product
We know what a product is, so what's a minimum viable product? Eric Ries in his book the Lean Startup defines that A minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. An MVP helps in validated learning to understand what the users want in what we're building. The MVP may not be something which can accomplish all of the user's need but it can help us understand a lot about the problem that we are solving through our product.
The best example would be Instagram itself. Instagram started as a platform to share photos. The users could share images and geotag the locations with it. Even at that time, Instagram was not a full-fledged social media. It did not even have direct messages. This basic version where a user could post photos, tag the location, and comment under it was the MVP. The MVP did not solve all the problems of the user. Instagram provided a platform for the quick sharing of photos, later they added the feature to share to multiple social media.
How does an MVP help when you build a product?
An MVP helps you to start the process of validated learning quickly. You cannot develop the perfect product that your users will love in the first try. Here you use the Build-Measure-Learn framework.
You use the MVP to communicate your solution with the user, then you iterate on it to develop the MVP further. The MVP's goal is to test the business hypothesis, not solve the whole problem. If the users react the way we expect we can confirm that the assumptions that we took while building the MVP are correct. If they do not then we do some user interviews and iterate and work on our MVP. This helps us to ensure that we do not build the wrong product in the end.
An MVP allows us to fail fast. This helps us to collect more data and to build the perfect product that solves the problem of our customer