It is always a challenge to know what to include in an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) because there’s a misconception about the MVP itself.
In some situations, people will say that an MVP can be a simple landing page that will help you to validate your idea, while other will say that is a beta version of your product. To be fair, I think it should be something in between the two.
Must-have vs Nice-to-have
You first need to make a list of features and decide whether they are must-haves or nice-to-haves.
A must-have is a feature that is fundamental to your solution.
Let’s pretend that your desired product is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform. Like all the SaaS platforms out there, you will need a registration form and a login screen. It makes sense, because without those two features, you cannot welcome any customer at all. So those should be put in the Must-haves.
Nice-to-have features are not necessary to make your product usable
Let’s continue with the example above, we have determined that the registration form and the login screen are must-have features.
In your registration form, you will need your user to enter his personal information and the password. In many registration forms, there’s a system that checks the password complexity.
Does your solution fundamentally need this system in order to be viable? The answer is “No” even though it would be nice to have it for security reasons.
In other forms, there will be a reCaptcha system in place.
Same thing here, even though it would be nice to have that feature, it is not essential to your product.
The same principle can be applied to the “Remember me” checkbox that you often see. It’s nice to have, but your user can still log in even without it.
Well designed user interface or not?
This is a tough question as it really depends on the field of your business. There is no denying that a well designed sleek interface will always be better. But depending on the industry, the design might be a detail to your users as long as you offer the set of features that solve their problem(s).
The rule of thumb would be this: if the design of my user interface does not reflect my brand perfectly, will it have a direct impact on my ability to close a deal? If the answer is “yes”, then you should consider that having a well designed interface is mandatory, even in your MVP.
Nowadays, there are frameworks and libraries that will help your developer to make a clean and simple design with very minimum required effort and time.
Highlight your killer feature
Whether you are alone in your niche or there are competitors, it is very important that you have that one killer feature that sets your product apart. Your MVP has to include it and you must highlight it in your demo or in your product features page. If your MVP does not include that killer feature, how could you possibly beat your competitors who are already in a more advanced stage?
With the help of your CTO or developer, you can consider using tools such as Zapier (https://zapier.com/) in order to automate some of the processes that would otherwise be handled by your MVP. Using those third party services are usually much more cost effective. As your business grows, you can slowly retake control of the externalized processes and implement it in your own solution.
Always look for feedbacks from your users as they will dictate your roadmap. If several users think that you should add a common feature, then you should probably listen to them and make it your next priority! If you can receive feedbacks from your customers, then your MVP has already served its purpose and you should now push it to the next level!
Now you know what to include in your MVP:
- only implement the must-haves and leave the nice-to-haves for later
- a well designed user interface… or not
- the killer feature that sets you apart
- simplified automated processes that will save you lots of development time and money
- a place to receive feedbacks from your customers
It’s not so complicated after all, is it?