If you want to release a marketable product at the earliest date possible, then the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach may just be what you and your team need.
The issue with developing and commercialising digital products often lies with beginning the project itself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost due to the team’s varying ideas. If you can get through this first hurdle, choosing what to prioritise or which would make the best user experience or bring in the most profit might cause further confusion and likely stasis. If you don’t have a set organised process for prioritising what you do, then starting your project is going to be difficult.
What can also hinder progress are restrictive budgets and a lack of resources or people. So, if you want to come up with a digital product that will be welcomed well into the market as soon as possible, whilst making the most of your budget and resources, here’s how.
How to develop and commercialise products, fast
It’s essential to have a clear strategy on how you will proceed with developing a good digital product and releasing it publicly in a short amount of time. The MVP approach will give you this strategy and help you determine what your end goal or product is.
What is the MVP approach?
The MVP approach is a perfect and proven way to focus teams on solving only the most important customer needs — or problems — required for a successful, viable version of a digital product or service. A Minimal Viable Product delivers the very essence of a product in its simplest form, enabling you to gather audience feedback, avoid failure and financial loss. Frank Robinson, inventor of the term ‘MVP’ says “An MVP is the product with maximum ROI divided by risk.”
The likes of Amazon, Airbnb, Dropbox, and Spotify have all used the MVP approach to build successful, billion-dollar businesses.
If you want to deliver faster and better digital products and have a team of capable and cooperative yet individually competitive people, then you can make this approach work for you. Your team has to know the product well, and they must be highly involved in the planning and production process. That includes the project manager and decision-maker, as well as the experts in the product itself, such as those who know the customers, design, and technical procedures.
It’s a process we run with many of our clients too. They approach us with a fantastic idea or first version of a product, but in order to commercialise their idea, they need help working out the best problem to solve first, in order to deliver the most value to both their audience and their own business.
What are the MVP games?
We run the MVP approach via 3 strategic games. The MVP games have a clear objective, which is to formulate an efficient yet practical project roadmap. Playing them can also make the team even more productive and encourage them to be more open about their ideas, feeling less pressured and stressed during the process.
Games have always been a great way to have fun. With these MVP games, your product development team will become much more engaged and productive, and you’ll get a prioritised roadmap for the next version of your product or website.
Following our MVP game template, there are three parts in total; the Feature Set, Attractiveness Map, and Focus Dartboard, respectively. For the first part, the team members list all of the features they feel should be included in the product, considering the demand, opportunities, and possible revenue in mind. The next part looks at the expected impact of the features and the future challenges that they might face. In the last part, taking the learnings and outcomes from the previous games, the team can then determine which features they should focus on first and which ones they should deal with later. You can find out more in this video where Ollie does a quick walk-through of how to play.
When is the best time to utilise the MVP games?
You can incorporate these games into a one-day workshop for your team that will allow them to finish in just a few hours. It’s fast, furious and fun. For a detailed and in-depth guide, you can read more about preparing for the workshop and the tools that you might need in the guide we have written on delivering digital products using MVP games. After the workshop, you will have a list of constructive functions and features for your project, all arranged according to what needs the most attention. It will serve as a strong foundation to help you get started with your MVP and focus on getting it to the market as soon as possible. We’ve also just created an online set of cheat sheets you can send to your team members before you play. Handy for everyone, but particularly for the person who’s going to organise and run the games. Get the cheat sheets here.
Now – get to work!
It’s crucial to be honest and open during the game and to also be realistic about the challenges that your MVP might have to face. If you follow the simple game rules, and the team members do their best, this fun and effective approach ensures a successful outcome- you’ll have a rationalised and prioritised list of features that your team agrees you can deliver.