If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have a good idea and resources for its implementation, you will undoubtedly be wondering: How can I effectively spend these resources to implement my opinion? By studying materials on the web and talking to experienced mentors, you will eventually understand that the Lean Startup method is, perhaps, the best of all possible options. Why is that?
Firstly, it is essential to understand that the method itself has existed for a long time. The steps that entrepreneurs take using this method are logical, understandable, and useful in the process of building and launching a startup. You simply won’t find a more appropriate way, since this method was proven by trial and error of many enterprises. The basis of this method is to allocate resources only to the most critical areas. And MVP development is a process that allows you to do this.
In essence, the Minimum Viable Product is a lean version of your product, which allows you to get real feedback, profit, and early adopters. Minimum effort and maximum result — it sounds simple. Unfortunately, there are many pitfalls, which often become an insurmountable obstacle for newbie entrepreneurs. They are not visible enough, so, from year to year, they become the reason that a good idea does not turn into reality.
The first thing we would like to emphasize is the initially incorrect approach to understanding the method. Although the process of MVP development seems straightforward, many perceive it completely wrong.
If you study online publications on why MVPs are not viable in 2020, you will find a lot of materials claiming that in the era of high technology, no one needs the Lean Startup method. But the thing is that many misunderstand this concept. For them, it is a process that is suitable only for small startups, with a small amount of money. Anything that requires significant investments can no longer be called an MVP. Moreover, these people are confident that MVP development is suitable only for websites and small applications, but not large-scale products.
However, creating an MVP is the right way to create any product, not just a small digital startup. Why? Because the postulates used in the method are applied in absolutely any business that seeks to solve a problem in the market, and not to flood it with another product that no one needs. The MVP is created to verify the presence of a problem and the effectiveness of the generated solution. This is analyzed using the real experience of clients and not only market research.
Choosing the wrong hypothesis to validate
The second mistake is, perhaps, the most common among entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, the majority continues to fall into the same trap.
Choosing the right hypothesis for validation is the first step in not only MVP development, but in shaping your idea as a whole. Let’s say you have confidence that you can effectively apply the available resources to create something. What are you going to do? Most often, you will try to spot a problem, or a market needs that no one has yet realized or solved. And that is where many entrepreneurs make a huge mistake.
For simplicity, we’ll divide all hypotheses into two main types (although there are more of them) — the theory of a problem and the suggestion of a solution. The explanation of a problem is your assumption that there is a problem in the market that can be solved. By choosing this path, you create an MVP to validate this problem in this particular segment. You are not offering users a solution — you are only trying to make sure that the problem is real.
The solution hypothesis is the next step. The presence of a problem is confirmed, proven, and absolutely objective. Now, you need a solution to this issue to help users of this segment. Fortunately, you have what you think is the perfect solution to this problem. But you are not ready to risk venture capital, so you want to create an MVP to verify the viability of your solution.
The incorrectly chosen path at this stage leads to predictable failure. That is why avoiding this error is so important. You cannot create a solution-focused MVP to validate a problem and vice versa. The final result won’t give you an answer to your question. You will spend your resources on nothing. This is the most common mistake of young entrepreneurs who are not sure whether the problem exists but are willing to invest in verifying the appropriateness of the solution.
Too much & too little
There’s a widespread inability to understand what features are enough for an MVP. Here, the problem has two vectors: you either create too little functionality or add too many features. There are two reasons for this. The first one is purely technical — entrepreneurs often incorrectly identify the benefit that their MVP should bring, its fundamental value. Armed with a large amount of theoretical knowledge, they often create an overly lean product. Although, there’s the flip side of the coin. Without knowing what the product needs, an entrepreneur adds too many features. As a result, the critical value of the product becomes unclear not only to the creator but also to users.
The second reason is based on psychological factors. This can be called a fear of failure. Fearing that the final product won’t satisfy the needs of users, entrepreneurs seek to hedge against failure. This often leads to the same unsatisfactory result. A clear understanding of the required functionality is a critical factor for the success of your MVP.
After reading this article, you can catch yourself thinking that creating an MVP is not so easy. Indeed, starting any business is always a risk that you are ready to take. The MVP development and the Lean Startup method do not guarantee success and do not secure you against threats or possible problems.
Instead, they give you an understanding of the right approach to the process itself. So, to make it work, you should have a clear picture of what the concept is, define the correct hypothesis for validation, and add a sufficient set of functions to your product.
Your idea may be great. But if you make a mistake at any of these stages, you won’t prove it.