Popularized by Twitter, Zappos, Dropbox, Airbnb, and tech companies in general, Minimum Viable Product is a simple concept but often misunderstood. Hence why so many companies and startups still struggle with the execution. With that in mind, here are the top 5 mistakes we see with MVP execution:
1. Overbuilding Your MVP
We cannot overstate this; your Minimum Viable Product is not your final product. Trying to perfect it or add too many features defeats the purpose of an MVP - build sufficient features to satisfy early adopters (not everyone).
2. Building Something You Cannot Sell
We may all have great product ideas; however, a lot of those “great” ideas will never see the light of day because the Product is not compelling enough for early adopters to try. For early adopters to switch to your product, it has to be great, not just good. The good news is, it usually only needs to be great at one thing, not everything. One or two great features will sell a product, and many "good" features will not.
3. Not Having a Good Feedback System in Place
One of the core MVP objectives is to learn from your early buyers (often early adopters), so by not having a good feedback system in place, you will fail to collect the necessary data to drive your future product development. You should be overwhelmed with data, and if not, your feedback system needs work. Remember, MVP is only the starting point in your product lifecycle, so you will need all the data you can get.
4. Not Maintaining a Product Vision
While your goal is to start with a Minimum Viable Product, you will ultimately add more features throughout your product lifecycle. Products without a clear vision tend to try and be too many things to too many people; resulting in a product with a lot of "good" features, but lacking any great features.
5. Starving Your MVP Team of Resources
While it's true that a Minimal Viable Product should be lean, and only consume resources it needs, there is a fine line between starving your team and making it lean. Delays, lack of focus, and impediments are typical signs that your team might be starved of resources.
In conclusion, MVP strategy is simple (in theory), but often difficult to execute correctly. To increase your odds for success, understand, and try to avoid these common mistakes.
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