MVPs: An Introduction

By October 10, 2013 Thoughts No Comments

At Paper we’re great believers in Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) – products with just enough features to see if something will work in the real world but without the expense of building something from scratch.

There are lots of different types of MVPs from simple email campaigns to much more complex coded prototypes. Some are more useful for testing initial concepts, others at ironing out user journeys, but they are all fundamentally aimed at stopping you wasting time and money building a service that nobody wants.

This series of blog posts is an attempt to document the range of MVPs and show when they’re most useful.  We’ve written these posts because although MVPs are widely used and talked about there is currently a lack of clear information about them online.

Possibly the most famous MVP was created by Drew Houston when he first launched DropBox. Although he could see the benefit of the service, he struggled to persuade others that a simple cloud based filing system would be beneficial. Instead of building a costly prototype to demonstrate the benefits, he produced a video for almost no cost at all. The video (which you can view below) shows the features as if they are live and asks people who were interested to sign up. Within a couple of days of posting the video live he had thousands of people signing up to use the service, proof that the idea was commercially viable. It was only at this point that he was able to raise the capital to build Dropbox and start to develop the service.

The following posts will examine MVPs according to their level of complexity.

Super Simple

Super Simple MVPs require no technical ability and are very resource light:

– Email
– Paper prototype
– Google adwords

Fairly easy

Fairly Easy MVPs need a modicum of technical ability but like Super Simple MVPs are not resource intensive:

– Landing page
– Video mock up
– Button to nowhere

A bit more complex

More Complex MVPs require some techincal ability and a relatively high level of resource:

– Clickable wireframes
– Concierge services
– HTML prototypes

If you’re interested in understanding how this approach might work for you feel free to say

Rupert & Alice