The Lean Startup is a highly recommended book among tech entrepreneurs and folks that operate in the tech industry. I myself have heard CEOs I work with reference principles from The Lean Startup in their product development strategies. In fact, the first time I heard the term MVP – I wasn’t sure if the CEO was trying to talk about sports with me or if that was the name of an obscure tech space they were trying to move the company towards. I actually asked him on that call what an MVP was after the 4th or 5th time of him using the term to find out they meant minimum viable product.
A minimum viable product is a product strategy that The Lean Startup advocates for both startup and mature companies to adopt. It is based on the concepts of lean manufacturing (if you are like me this was not a helpful reference…) which is about quickly and efficiently getting out a version 1 or a version .5. It is about creating the most bare-bones product you can in order to quickly go to market and test the market response before dedicating an inordinate amount of time to an unproven product in the market. It needs to be valuable, but not have all the bells and whistles just yet.
You need to be able to quickly iterate and focus on the most important features of your product, measure the success of the product, and quickly learn. The Lean Startup gives a framework for entrepreneurs and businesses to ideate, create, measure, and learn. The quicker you can get measurable data, learn from it and then iterate the better position you will be as a company.
If your original idea fails or the market responds in a different way then you expect, you will be able to more easily pivot because you have not fully built out an untested product to its full version. The MVP allows you to test and iterate more quickly as well as move in a different direction without consuming nearly as many resources as a traditional waterfall type development approach.
Once a product is validated another key concept is having the customers that enjoy your product in its infancy help you grow your customer base. If you can create raving fans with an MVP then that presents even greater opportunity long-term.
If you are in the Tech industry, an aspiring entrepreneur, or in business The Lean Startup is a fantastic read and will provide tremendous value to you. As a member of the Tech community, I found it very helpful to understand some of the key concepts that drive the industry forward.