min read ·
September 17, 2021

Avoiding Product Failure with an MVP

Establishing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) allows organisations to satisfy core user needs sooner.

Producing new products for any market is always a risky venture. Whether you are an established company or a startup, it takes effort and resources to pull off a new product launch successfully. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of a product failure and maximise your chances of success. One concept Fabric Group consultants advocate for and implement with our clients is a minimum viable product or MVP.

What Are Minimum Viable Products?

MVP is a version of a product that is just enough for the early adopters to start using it and provide valuable feedback for future product development. Despite having "just enough" features that are far from perfect, MVP should still provide viable solutions to users’ needs.

MVP aims to deliver maximum value with reduced effort and in the shortest possible time. Your goal in launching an MVP is to access market learning and gather data about the product. Since you are developing the product quickly, you only need to produce a "minimal" workable version.

Benefits of taking MVP approach to product development

Here are some arguments we use to advocate for the MVP approach over building the entire product and launching the final version leaving no room for major changes:

  • Shorter time to market ahead of competition for commercial software products, and faster access to valuable functionality for users if it’s an internal product which aims to support business operations
  • Future product development is driven by user feedback, therefore, we rely less on the hypotheses and assumptions and more on the real market feedback. The additional feature set developed after the MVP launch will be much more valuable and will better meet user expectations. We increase the chance of product success and customer satisfaction.
  • Reducing the risk of product failure and the cost of reworking the functionality built based on our assumptions. If the MVP doesn’t bring the anticipated results, the cost of failure compared to building the full product will be much less. You will also still have valuable real-user feedback to make a pivot in your product strategy and try to gain market traction in subsequent product releases.

How to define MVP?

There are a few ways to define the MVP scope that would allow you to find a good balance between the minimum feature set, yet a viable market solution that addresses the key needs of your selected target market:

Starting with the minimum functionality by defining the simplest way to address the biggest user need

Smaller scope means less effort and shorter time to launch. For example, Foursquare started with a simple app that allowed people to just check in the locations they went to and get badges as an incentive. This gamification strategy allowed them to grow their user base and eventually create a full city guide platform based on their feedback.

Defining the minimum user group or target market whose needs you aim to address in the MVP scope

For commercial products we suggest starting with one key market segment for your MVP with further expansion to other markets and target groups. For instance, Groupon started with a simple digital platform to offer deals by only local American businesses. Once their product proved to be successful, they expanded their coverage to other types of business, to other markets with users all over the world speaking different languages and using different currencies. Digital products for internal use can also follow this strategy by piloting the solution on a small number of internal users before expanding to other departments.

Supporting only one kind of services / products in the scope of MVP

For example, Amazon started as an online bookstore. The only type of products they were selling and shipping were books. Once the venture gained its market traction, more products types and services were slowly introduced to the platform, where today you can buy almost anything you can think of. Similarly, for products used in business operations, we aim to start with supporting one major service or product as a part of the MVP launch and gradually expand it to support other products and services.

At Fabric Group we deploy the combination of all three strategies to define the optimal scope of MVP for the digital products we design and develop in collaboration with our clients. Here is an example of a product roadmap for a pricing engine we co-created with a major Australian logistics company that partnered with us to iteratively implement this solution for them.

An example of applying MVP concept to evolutionary development of a digital pricing engine

Fabric Group helps different companies across multiple industries create the best digital solutions to solve their business problems or leverage a market opportunity. We are a group of talented people with multi-disciplinary expertise and diverse experiences who build high quality software that makes your users go wow. Contact us today for enquiries!


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