When the MVP is not an MVP…
Old school software developers and software companies have got it all wrong. It’s almost 2023, and people are still talking about MVP like it’s the way.
We’re here to shake it up in pursuit of creating the world-changing software products. So here is the truth: Minimum viable product (MVP) is not the most valuable player. We are calling for the cancellation of MVP as the software marker of success. And you should too.
Keep reading to understand why “MVP” is holding you back from demonstrable software success and why “MLP” is the mindset shift you need to make for 2023.
In software, MVP stands for minimum viable product. It started out with great intentions.
Because software products can cost so much (hundreds of thousand of dollars) and software projects can take so long (sometimes causing them to be obsolete by the time they launch), MVP was designed to do the following:
Include the minimum amount of features that would allow the product to be rolled out to users. Expend the least amount of effort to (supposedly) gather the most information about customers’ needs.
Then, users provide feedback for improvements or adjustments that can be made in the future.
It’s a risky move to launch an app or software product that is just functional, not lovable. Keep reading to learn why.
More than ever, people are seeking instant gratification – especially when it comes to software. Maybe they can still (kind of) wait for love, for the right job, and for the release of the next season of Yellowstone, but as software goes, users are accustomed to getting what they want rapidly or moving on.
According to this study, patience is extremely low when it comes to software and other things we believe should be accessible and responsive.
Furthermore, standards for quality are higher than ever. The more software and apps users are exposed to, the more features and functionality they come to expect.
When your company builds new software or an app, you aren’t just competing against the poorer quality app they could have built. You are competing against the experience of other products your customers have every day, which includes million dollar platforms like Facebook and Amazon.
If you are starting to see how launching an MVP in order to validate it through customer feedback might be problematic, then you’re paying attention.
Customers don’t want to be guinea pigs. They are proven to not wait around. With their higher expectations, they will lose trust in a software product that doesn’t deliver in the beginning. Users want to be wowed, and they want you to get it reasonably right the first time. There are minimum requirements to earn their trust, and early mistakes can cost you this trust.
Early mistakes will cost you user trust. Confusing flow, complicated or incomplete menus, slow load speeds and more will send them packing. Simply put, they will uninstall an app or abandon the software if it doesn’t meet their sophisticated expectations.
I’m not writing this to scare you. My point is to reveal that if your customer’s expectations have risen, yours must too. For this reason, an MVP will no longer do.
Moving forward, you and anyone introducing a software product or app should seek to build an MLP, or minimum lovable product.
We are not simply trading one acronym for another. Instead, we are calling you – and all our clients – to cultivate a total mindset shift regarding software development.
MVP is about the product. MLP is about the user.
Remember: Your software won’t fail from technical issues. It will fail if you lose sight of the most important question: do your users love it?
If you don’t have clarity on what your users want, need, and/or will love, you’re not ready to begin software development. Any developer who tells you otherwise cares more about billables than your long-term success.
More clarity up front is beneficial in many ways, because it is the path to an end product that is likely to be adopted and loved by customers, plus clarity also:
Start asking questions like these to begin to cultivate an MLP mindset:
Is the experience of my app/software enjoyable?
Is there any aspect of using it that would jolt or confuse a user?
Does it make sense for my product to have a social element? (If this is relevant to your purpose, social inclusion is critical.)
Does it ask for too many permissions? Can we justify the permissions we ask for as required for app functionality?
Is any sign up process fluid and as simple as possible?
Is your app useful? Do users really want or need it? Will they download it only to never use it or will they tell all their friends how great it is?
We coined the phrase minimum lovable product, so you can say we’re experienced with delivering it. Our secret sauce is having the right mindset. Our mindset is geared for explosive and lasting success based on end users downright adoring our clients’ products. Our signature system, the Innovation Lab, is a dynamic four to six-week workshop that gets clients from “here’s what we think we should build” to “here’s what our users will love.” Ready to get there too? Let’s chat about your project!
Jeff Francis is a veteran entrepreneur and co-founder of Dallas-based digital product studio ENO8. Jeff and his business partner, Rishi Khanna, created ENO8 to empower companies of all sizes to design, develop and deliver innovative, impactful digital products. With more than 18 years working with early-stage startups, Jeff has a passion for creating and growing new businesses from the ground up, and has honed a unique ability to assist companies with aligning their technology product initiatives with real business outcomes.
Whether you have your ducks in a row or just an idea, we’ll help you create software your customers will Love.LET'S TALK
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[…] Minimum viable product is the old way to know software was ready. We suggest you look at software differently – your success depends on it! […]