The Minimum Viable Product is Your MVP

The Minimum Viable Product is Your Device Development MVP!

What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

The goal of the Minimum Viable Product is to create a simplified version of your product, quickly and cheaply, so you can start sharing it with end users, investors, and prospective buyers.

A Prototype, Not a Finished Product

Think of your MVP as the simplest, most basic version of your product that still manages to tick all the most essential boxes. It’s not a fancy, polished acrylic and chrome model ready for a closeup – it’s more like a prototype built for speed and affordability. We’re looking for an outline, not a final draft.

minimum viable product

The goal is to get something into the hands of real people – fast. Getting your functional device into the hands of end users, potential investors, or anyone who might have a stake in your device’s success is going to provide so much value! Being able to have a functioning prototype on hand quickly offers two major advantages: Learning and Building Interest.

Learning Through the MVP

Real World Testing with Real Users

The MVP is your secret weapon for gathering intel. By putting a working (but unrefined) device in the hands of testers, you get a fast path to understanding what works and what doesn’t. Product designers and engineers often strive to meet the needs and demands of the end user by referring to them through the development process, but there’s no substitute for real-world feedback from real users. Testers have a unique perspective – they don’t understand the inner workings like you do, so they may discover usability issues, bugs, or even unexpected ways to use your device.

minimum viable product smart badge
We prioritized the MVP of our Smart Badge concept in order to make our one month development timeline!

Identifying Usability Issues and Unexpected Needs

By giving testers a low-cost minimum viable product, you gather that valuable information before designing for manufacture and before expensive mass production has begun. Now, because you tested with your MVP, you have the time and resources to refine your design before production!

Making Informed Design Decisions Before Mass Production

Imagine your initial test group suggesting a simpler interface or a more comfortable two-handed design. These are exactly the kind of insights the MVP helps uncover – all before you’ve sunk a ton of resources into manufacturing. In some cases, the MVP might even reveal that your initial concept needs a major rethink. That’s valuable too!

The MVP isn’t just about user feedback; it’s also a learning experience for your development team. They can test and refine their design and manufacturing processes, identifying potential assembly or fabrication challenges early on.

The MVP as a Marketing Tool

Beyond just gathering valuable user insights, the Minimum Viable Product also serves as a powerful marketing tool. When developing a product, market interest is king. You want your investors intrigued and your potential buyers buzzing. This is where the MVP shines! It shows investors you’re actively developing a product and getting closer to launch.

Generating Investor Interest

Investors love to see progress – and even better, hold the results of that progress in their hands! The MVP can prove that your device is more than just an idea; it’s a tangible thing they can interact with. This can be a major boost when it comes to securing funding. Focusing your efforts on producing a low cost, low fidelity MVP right away means interacting with investors even faster, accelerating your overall development.

Gauging Market Fit and Demand

But the power of the MVP goes beyond just hype. It can be used to gauge real market interest. If you release the MVP version of your product and are met with a lukewarm response, you can re-evaluate your product’s potential.

Does it still make sense to manufacture thousands of units, or should you start with a few hundred? On the other side, you may learn of overwhelming demand that would require you to reassess your production capabilities. By using the low-cost, low-fidelity MVP to evaluate market fit, you can make informed decisions about scaling up or down before you hit the costly mass production stage.

Build Brand Awareness and User Excitement

If your product idea is truly innovative, even a low-fidelity version will spark user excitement. This makes the MVP powerful as a possible marketing tool. If the product is exciting enough, it could ignite imagination and build anticipation for the final, polished product. Think about the excitement over new AI assistant technology like the Rabbit R1 and the AI Pin. Early reviews of these products point out how few features there are and their current shortcomings, but they also all discuss their excitement about what these devices will become! The MVP version of these devices has done the job of demonstrating what it could be and getting users excited for the final version.  

Wondering how to get YOUR Product
Development Process right?

The Minimum Viable Product is a Crucial Step Towards Success

If you’re working on a product idea, the MVP is your best friend in the product development process. It’s a low-risk, high-reward way to validate your concept, gather valuable user feedback, and generate excitement for your product. Don’t pass up the chance to learn, refine, and generate excitement before investing heavily in development or manufacturing!

Written by: Brian Bock, MEng