This Is Why Your Customers Hate Your Minimum Viable Product
There are two distinct schools of thought around the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Some people think MVPs are the scourge of tech startups. They’ll point out that there’s a growing swamp of hastily-thrown-together apps, which constantly lower the quality curve of the ecosystem by purposely offering substandard builds.
Harsh, but not wrong.
Others believe that MVPs are the single best way for an entrepreneur to prove product-market fit without sinking a ton of time and money into overbuilding a complete product that may never sell to a single customer.
They’re actually both right, but all that tension between the two camps springs from a number of misunderstandings about what makes a good MVP.
Bad MVPs put a lot of friction on the customers
The MVP concept didn’t originate in the mobile app world. In fact, the concept has been around far longer than mobile devices and the cloud. That said, the emergence of the cloud as a primary development environment has made it much easier for startups to develop a new software product iteratively, and release that product to market in smaller and smaller chunks.
Meanwhile, the Internet, and more specifically, the mobile Internet, has made it possible to deliver perpetual versions of a software product at a frequency that we couldn’t even dream about back when software was shipped on physical media.
This means that at any given time, one small change can be made to a product, and within minutes, that updated product can be shipped, installed, and quickly expose new functionality to its customers.
So think of an MVP as the first change — from a product that does nothing to a product that does something. That brand new product is then released to the market to find and prove fit.
That’s where you get the Minimum. That’s where you get the Viable.
But that’s also where you get the confrontation. Because the bill that comes due for all that minimum viability is a ton of manual work…