The MVP Checklist for successful launches
The complete form of MVP reads "Minimum Viable Product". In layman's terminology, one can safely call it methodology and an algorithm to test waters. On a more pedantic front, the definition of MVP, coined by Frank Robinson and taken forward by Eric Ries, founder of the Lean Startup, is:
"It is the version of a new product that allows the team to gather the maximum amount of proven customer knowledge with the least amount of effort."
An MVP checklist is the most convenient and economical tool to check a business model before launching a full-blown version. We have Uber, Dropbox, Figma, and Slack to prove our point, and they have traveled their way to unicorn status with MVPs.
Why is an MVP checklist essential?
The MVP checklist methodology works beautifully for software development and project management. The former has to develop and build an elementary version of the software with the most essential functionalities and most straightforward designs. In the latter, when one is an entrepreneur, an evaluator demands a new product with an eye on business assumptions.
In short, MVP is the mantra for entrepreneurs and executives looking to embark on bespoke software development projects and businesses. It is the initial proof of concept, a vanilla product release without any frills or toppings. It is an absolute must to get market validation of your idea, and in the bargain, it will cut the flab off time, money, and energy.
Therefore, the keystone of the MVP concept is to work on creating a product with minimum priority features-just enough to take it to the market for customer feedback. The reaction and response of the aboriginal adopter are collected and analyzed. This serves to incorporate changes in the product and concepts that one wants to launch. Gradually the MVP seamlessly integrates all the phases of product development with inputs from early adopters, evangelists, target consumers, and pivots, if required. This way, software development projects are on time and within budget.
Since MVP is based on a build-measure-learn approach, wherein you release a no-frill product, gauge and calibrate customer response and demand and accordingly construct the future versions of the product, it is imperative that the MVP should be a success when launched.
Steps for a successful launch of MVP
Some steps help in successfully waltzing through the launch. First and foremost is an analysis of current market trends that convince you for or against the product.
- Engaging your target market: Market trend analysis is not limited to moving up and down with the demand graph. It is an investigative process that will give you an understanding of consumer behavior, and its impact on the market in general and your business in particular. It defines what comes in and goes out of the market. So to make your MVP launch a success, keep your finger on engagement metrics ( customer engagement on your website). An engaged customer naturally returns to your website. An analysis of a visitor's session duration, pages per visit, bounce rate, or click-through rate are parameters for engagement metrics. The latter, in turn, tells us about the levels of customer satisfaction.
- Attracting a target group: Customers must be lured and enticed to test the product's beta version. There have to be early customers on whom this vanilla version (MVP) has to be tested before unveiling the product. These are the early adopters. Data says that these are younger and have access to wealth. They are inclined to enjoy the prestige that the latest product in the market would bring them. They would definitely love to have their name associated with the technological evolution of the product. Being called a thought leader or Guru/influencer is all that they would enjoy. Therefore, they should be persuaded to be part of the MVP.
- MVP Development: To ensure success, agility, and promptitude are of the essence. There is a perpetual race to grab the most significant piece of the market pie. Some startups and enterprises can reach the finishing line before you by a split second, just because their reaction time is a wee bit less than yours. So a quick product launch will reach your target customers on schedule. As a result, the product will get tested faster in its beta avatar and draw feedback that will help in quicker and stronger product development.
- Product-Market Fit: Next on the agenda for making a successful MVP launch is to validate the product-market fit. This is the oldest concept to be practiced before an investment is made in the product's first iteration. It will bring you the assurance that the consumer would like to spend on your product. Regarding market-product fit, Marc Andreesen says- "Identifying a compelling value hypothesis is what I call finding product/market fit. A value hypothesis identifies the features you need to build, the audience that's likely to care, and the business model required to entice a customer to buy your product."
- Product Marketing and Research: It is a fact that 42% of startups fail because their app idea is redundant to the market. One has to perform due diligence to ascertain what is to be solved, for whom it is to be solved, and whether that product would make the customer reach for their wallet. They should not stop there and should love it to the extent of influencing their peers to buy it too.
- Risk Mitigation Strategy: Before an MVP launch, some risks cannot be ignored because you are taking a minimum value product to the market. If its launch is derailed, your future product will be thrown off track. Therefore, the numerous risks involved are to be nipped in the bud. This is called a risk mitigation strategy. And this should be in place before the journey begins. Various risks need to be identified and acknowledged. First of all, is the risk to the project budget. For this, the project team should take cognizance of decision-making processes, segments where funding is being channeled, and areas where issues might turn into red flags. The project team will therefore work along these lines and adhere to the budget and timelines.
- Handling Performance Risk: Another risk that threatens the launch is that of schedules. So time management strategies will have to be applied in tandem with project scheduling. The third kind of risk is called Performance Risk. This comes under the purview of quality control methods for new products and services, including the project team's daily performance report card. So mitigating risks and their consequences is what has to be under firm control before an MVP launch.
- Launching the MVP: We have reached the final stage of the MVP launch. Analysis of the platform on which the MVP will be launched is of the utmost importance, and it might be for iOS OR Android or iPad, etc. So choose, analyze and prepare.
Finally, the promotion of the product launch takes place post the primary launch. Here we monitor and gauge the success of the MVP. Feedback received is analyzed, and these are then implemented in the subsequent versions and updates. The basis of analysis should be engagement levels, sign-ups, number of users who are enthusiastic and active. Lastly, several people have become disinterested and have disengaged.
The tech stack also determines the success of the MVP launch that the customers are using. There are variously available, and you have to decide the proper fitment, keeping in perspective the product that you are about to float in the market. Each tech stack comes with its plusses and limitations. There is Angular, Python, PHP, Node.js, and so on. There are programming languages and frameworks that one can choose from depending on the dynamics and features of the MVP.
In conclusion, it is basic functionality and stringent development that goes into making an MVP launch a success.
Here at CognitiveClouds, we specialize in creating and executing a comprehensive MVP checklist for our customers. Reach out to us to plan your next successful product launch with us!