KOCHI: We all know what a product is. But what is viable? And what is minimum-viable? The primary purpose of a product in a startup is to help the target userbase by bringing to bear the value proposition of the product as per the utility and usefulness promised. Now, how does one go about ensuring this value?
Viability is the key to success. It can be viability to the users in the market, viability in the product building, or viability commercially. One way is to build the complete product, take it to market and then assess viability.
This can be extremely expensive, if any of the assumptions or hypothesis of value proposition come undone. Time and resources are also lost, and worse, it may become extremely expensive to make changes to the product or the course. This is where the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) comes very handy.
MVP is to capture the most critical assumptions and value to the customers, and attempt to validate it in smaller chunks instead of the completely built product. And herein lies the challenge -- how to identify what is the most minimal set of capabilities one should build. This depends on what is the most immediate assumption or proposition that needs to be assessed.
What is critical to validate also depends on stage of the startup’s journey. So while in very early stages it may be to assess the reactions to the concept, eventually it maybe the validation that customers may use the product. And then if customers will pay anything at all for the product or if they will pay the expected price for the product.
Validation can happen horizontally (functional), vertically (markets) or geographically. But at every step of startup early stages, there is something most critical to validate at that time. And assessing what is minimally needed to validate is the MVP at that point. Learn. Pivot. Accelerate.