How much "Minimum" in MVP is ok?

MichaƂ

Building a digital product is always a lengthy process. It requires a lot of time, money and effort. That's why it doesn't make sense to build a fully featured product first. It's way better to start with something basic to test the users / market reaction and then add features on top of that.

Minimum Viable Product - This is the first "draft" of your product that is supposed to confirm the need for it to exist. More often than not startups take the first word to heart more, than the other two. At the phase of testing ideas we need some basic features and they need to work well. That is obvious. But the "rush to market" strategy for mvp's often has them ending up lacking in quality.

The most common approach for MVP's is "cheap + fast". Yes - the functionalities are usually chosen wisely and there is just enough of them to make sense. But what's often completely overlooked is the quality of the UI, interactions and in general the user experience. A quick and dirty MVP is born and is expected to confirm it's reason for being.

Poorly done MVP no conclusion brings

Old Chinese proverb

The functionalities is a set of features the users will need and want. And while this part is chosen mostly right (for most MVP's that make sense) there's also the issue of trust to think about. Would you trust a product that looks like it has been put together in one weekend? Do you feel your data is secure if the interface looks clunky and misaligned? Do you feel good using an app that has typos in almost every sentence?

This approach to MVP's can break a product that would otherwise have a chance to succeed. The users may give you negative overall impression if the "packaging" or "how it looks" is not done well. In many cases you won't know exactly why the users don't feel like your product doesn't make sense. They subconsciously don't trust it and can't really say why.

Which presentation does your MVP deserve?

Building a product is one thing, but the problems often appear even earlier. When you're at the presentation stage and want people on startup events to love your product - what do you show them? Does your startup logo look like WordArt? (go, google the term - I can wait ;) Is your presentation an MVP itself? It's understandable that building a digital product requires a lot of developer work, so limiting functionalities makes sense. But how long does it take to do a nice looking presentation, that fits the purpose and genre of what you're planning to do? Don't do ugly presentations thinking that your bullet points will do the job. Make an impression. Make your audience feel like your product is already quite defined, professional and trustworthy.

This is why it's important to think about Quality Assurance, look for typos and add some fit and finish + final polish to what you do. After all your work does define you, and you only make the first impression once. Do a great job.

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