How Does the Product Manager get Started with an MVP?

Photo by Amélie Mourichon on Unsplash

The essence of MVP (minimum viable product) is to produce a minimal and optimal version of a product. An MVP release can be for a specific feature in an existing product or an entirely new product. The product manager’s challenge in the early stages of the product life cycle is to establish hypotheses and understand the most critical features that need to be developed, with minimal development resources.

The following is a list of general guidelines for the MVP characterization and development process:

1)Understand who the target audience is? Who is the customer for whom the product is intended? Who are the competitors, the other companies in the market?

2) Define the users’ pain points and understand what value users would wish to derive from the product.

3) Characterize a minimal product that meets the users’ needs;

  • Learn how other companies had acted in the same situation.
  • Get inspired by similar products in the industry.
  • Analyze the product growth process of competitors in the market.

4) Research to get feedback from key people within the sectors in which the product operates. Also, Introduce the product to colleagues within the organization. For example, the development, QA, marketing, or the sales teams, and even build an interactive mockup to receive reviews from them as product users.

5) Development Round #1- develop a prototype or build a landing page that introduces the idea and allows the users to subscribe. Then perform dry run tests to get initial validation.

6) Development Round #2 — Develop the MVP in parallel to PR. Then release the MVP to customers.

7) Collect information and data to investigate users’ behavior.

  • For example, use Google Analytics for analyzing insights such as: What is the number of users? How long have they stayed on particular pages? What buttons do they push in each session?
  • Conduct user interviews and customer validation.

8) Depending on the analysis, characterize the product growth.

  • Characterize new features and handle each one as a small MVP.
  • By this point, the product already has customers, and as a result, it is easier to test the features.
  • Sometimes the requirement for new features will arise from the customers themselves.

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you have launched too late,” Reid Hoffman.

There is no second chance to make a first impression, so it is essential to ensure that the user experience will be exceptional. When a bug creates annoyance in the user’s experience, they experience frustration while using a new product. By the time of release, the product manager should pay attention that the MVP is stable, reliable, is without known bugs, and has no crashes. These actions are critical in the process of building the customers’ trust with the new product. It is better to give up one or two features in the MVP priority and invest more effort in the MVP’s stability and reliability.

The primary principle is to balance between the desire to release the best MVP and the desire to be efficient and fast. By defining the features that create the maximum impact for the user, and, at the same time, requires a minimum of development effort, the product manager can identify the balance point. A good product manager understands that there is no such thing as a perfect product, but he also understands that one has to launch it as early as possible while the product improvement is evolving on the go. This is the unique thinking concept of this role.

Written by Maayan Galperin

I believe that knowledge and practical tools are the keys to success in all areas of life. This is what I research, implement, train, and teach others to do.