Minimum Viable Product (Planning) 1/2

Minimum Viable Product (Planning) 1/2

Planning a Minimum Viable Product: a Step-By-Step Guide

Lean Startup author Eric Ries received a commonly accepted MVP definition, describing “a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learnings about customers with the least effort.” In mobile app development, your minimum viable product includ Es the feature or features required to solve a core problem for a set of users and be released to market.

A central tenet of lean methodology, MVP development follows a build-measure-learn process; the goal is to provide immediate value quickly while minimizing development costs and using data to learn what users want and need. The lean startup MVP method a product that can be cultivate improved as you validate (or invalidate) assumptions, learn what users actually want, and build future iterations of your app that better serve your customers. The goal is to provide immediate value, quickly, while minimizing development costs.

What is the Purpose of an MVP?

As mentioned above, the main goal of an MVP is to provide a working product that serves a core function for a set of users. An MVP is also used to increase user feedback and to showcase business potential.

Starting with an MVP will provide a rich learning experience, which will allow you to learn more about your end-user and the market you wish to enter. An MVP will set the stage for future iterations of development and clarify the Opening steps to take in The project – whether that’s changing directions entirely or continuing down your set development path.

This step-by-step guide will provide all the steps you need to plan your minimum viable product and start development.


TL;DR: Planning Your Minimum Viable Product

1. Identify and Understand The Business Needs
a) Determine the long-term goal of the product and write it down

b) Answer the question, “Why are we doing this project?”

c) Identify the success criteria that will indicate whether or not the product is successful

2. Find The Opportunities
a) Map out the user journey(s)

Identify the users (actors)

Identify the story ending (end goal)

Identify all actions user must take to meet that end goal

b) Create a “pain and gain” map for each action

Write down the action the user completes when using the product

Write down the pain points for each action

Write down the gains for each action

c) Summarize the pains and gains into opportunity statements

Use “How might we” statements or a similar method to summarize the pains and gains you have identified

3. Decide What Features To Build
a) Use opportunity statements to finalize your features

b) Provide a breakdown of the features to includ e in the product roadmap

c) Use a prioritization matrix (or similar method) to prioritize features


The Long Version: Building Your MVP Development Framework
We have grouped the planning process of a minimum viable product into three simple yet valuable steps, the short versions of which are listed above. We will now provide a step-by-step process with more detail and context so you can easily apply this framework to your project. This process is part of the agile MVP development framework we use at Clearbridge Mobile for our mobile app development projects.

Every step mentioned should be part of product definition for any project, however following these steps will help you identify and prioritize features in a manner that allows you to confidently outline what you need in order to get your minimum viable product to market.

1. Identify and Understand The Business Needs
At the very beginning, you should have identified a need as to why the product should exist. This could be an organizational need or a customer need that addresses a current gap.

a) Determine the long-term goal and write it down. You want to answer a simple question: Why are we doing this project? A coffee shop chain, for example, may have the long-term goal of reducing time-to-checkout by 30%.

b) Identify success criteria. Next, identify the criteria that will determine whether or not the product will be successful. This will likely – and probably should – consist of more than one metric. Our coffee chain, for example, might define success by reaching that 30% time-to-checkout reduction, having 100,000 active monthly users, and reaching $1 million in monthly transactions via their app.

2. Find The Opportunities
In the first stage of planning your minimum viable product, you should have already identified market gaps or identified a problem that needs to be solved, whether for your company or for consumers. The next stage of MVP development consists of finding the opportunities to solve these problems and add value via your app.

a) Map out the user journey(s). The user journey is most easily divided into three parts: the user, user actions, and story endings.

i. Identify the user(s). These are the people who will be using your product. It’s possible that you will have more than one category of user. For example, if you have a service appointment booking app, you may have both the appointment scheduler (customer), and the service technician.

ii. Identify the story endings. For each user, there will be a story ending, which is the end goal of the user.

iii. Identify the jobs (actions). The jobs are the actions that the user or users need to take in order to reach the story ending and achieve the goal.

b) Create a Pain and Gain map for each action. The pain and gain map allows you to identify all user pain points and the gains the user achieves when each is addressed. This exercise lets you determine where you have the greatest potential to add value. You are then able to focus your minimum viable product in these areas while adding the less impactful ones to the product roadmap for future releases.

i) Write down the actions the user needs to complete. List the actions that you identified when mapping out the user journeys.

ii) Write down the pain points for each action. The pain points are brief summaries of the problems or inconveniences that users have when trying to complete that action.

iii) Write down the gain for each action. The gain is what the value-add achieved when that pain is addressed.

c) Summarize the pains and gains into opportunity statements. There are a number of ways to summarize pains and gains. One is to use opportunity statements that follow a “How Might We” format. For example, “How might we make it easier for Users to book appointments?” This translates the pains and gains you identified in the previous step into feature sentences.