Building a Minimum Viable Product


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Best practises when building your Minimum Viable Product

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  • Unintentionally we did this part very well at BackupAgent. Our MVP landed some initial customers and a partnership with a large service provider. We learned the potential of the market and channel and for that reason it was easy to convince investors too. A ‘leap-of-faith’ event was in 2006, when a Swiss customers faxed us a 30k order without any form of sales. This happened one day before we pitched to our current investor.
  • I don't consider a landing page an MVP. This is an experiment to find a channel to customers. A landing page could be part of an MVP.
  • Dropbox released this video way before its product was ready to launch. The video went viral on Hacker News (blog of Y-Combinator) and the result was a list of 75k beta registrations. The video should capture as much value as possible and should cover both product as well as solution. My recommendation is not to confuse the MVP with the Minimum Viable Video, please do invest in good voice-overs and graphics. You need to do this to convince the customer you are a professional company, which is dead serious about delivering this.
  • The best example of a concierge MVP I know is Manuel Rosso’n Food-on-the-Table. Manuel initially delivered the service to a single customer using an excel sheet. It was an MVP combined with a very effective way of customer development. I recommend you watch his video presentation on last year’s Startup Lessons Learned conference.
  • Mockups are especially great in a business-to-business startup, because early adopters are more likely to pay for a product that is delivered to them in the near future. We use mock-ups in BackupAgent to convince our customers to try our next version of BackupAgent and gather feedback.
  • This MVP would be a perfect example of the definition I provided in the first slide. Essentially you strip down the service to the bare minimum to sell it to customers. An example is a Dutch startup, Wercker. They’re working on a cloud deployment platform for developers. The initially limited it to one programming language: node.js. Also, they sold the product to a single customer on the promise of adding the language this customer is using to the platform.
  • There’s a couple of things to take into account when you’re building an MVP:1: You’ll probably build more then one, because this is an iterative process. Don’t expect to get it either right or wrong after one iteration.2: You need to embed means to capture data at each stage – for internet consumer services there’s Dave McClure’s AARRR model (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue)3: You need some administration for learning. The best known practise is to use the Lean Stack by Ash MauryaThere’s a nice video on this by David Binetti from Votizen.Beware of calling evry little change you make a pivot. You only pivot when you change fundamental elements in your business model.
  • Part of the challenge which an MVP can overcome is to work around missing competences (no designer, no developer, etc). Example: Twitter Bootstrap'minimum' means that you start to produce value for customers faster and with less effort. Example: Aardvark.What if your users do not pay for the service? They're not your customer, so in that case your business model will depend on customers who would pay for the value those users represent. An MVP would simply validate this produced value. This is a leap-of-faith assumption. 
  • Too minimum: can lead to false conclusions. This is because the product is not viable and promises or produces no value. Testing the wrong part of the business model: Entrepreneurs sometimes falsely assess their 'riskiest assumption'  Procrastination: most common pitfall - spending months to produce this 'MVP' and not being able to deal with disappointing results which leads to more effort into the wrong direction because of 'loss aversion'
  • Building a Minimum Viable Product

    1. 1. Robbert van Geldrop| Founder, BackupAgent Building a Minimum Viable Product Workshop 1
    2. 2. Agenda  Part 1: Defining the MVP  Part 2: Tools, practices and pitfalls  Part 3: Forms and examples of MVPs  After presentation: Your MVP 2
    3. 3. Defining the MVP  Minimum: • the least amount of effort required to offer some value to customers  Viable: • a full product or service which completes the value consumption or convincingly demonstrates its availability • a way to collect the maximum amount of validated learning  Product: • a product is also a transaction, so a customers buys something or vows a strong promise to buy something after which you already deliver value • Quote from Otto Hilska, FlowDock: ‘Asking for money was one of the best decisions. Customers took us more seriously, and we started getting better feedback’ 3
    4. 4. 4 Minimum Marketable Feature MVP = MMF + MMF + MMF = Set of experiments that focus on a part of the business model Read all about Ash Maurya here
    5. 5. 5 An example of Maurya’s Running Lean Kanban
    6. 6. Defining the MVP  An MVP naturally comes in later stages of Customer Discovery: • It’s a rudimentary solution to a problem worth solving • An MVP must still trump any alternative solution which your customers have used or considered • Basically, it’s the next step after building some landing page and running an AdWords campaign to validate some demand  MVPs will attract early adopters: • Customers who can live with its limitations • People who buy into the vision and the ‘why’ • Customers who buy NOW and are relevant for Validated Learning 6
    7. 7. 7 Tools, practices and pitfalls
    8. 8. 8 Focusing on Product/Market
    9. 9.  Remember! Build, measure, learn  Not every change is a pivot 9 Practices
    10. 10. 10 Practices – other considerations  ‘Reduce waste’ = work around your missing competences  ‘Minimum’ = deliver value to customers faster and with less effort  If you users do not pay for the service, it can still be an MVP only if those users are part of your ‘leap of faith’ assumption
    11. 11.  Too minimum: • Can lead to false conclusions. • This is because the product is not viable and promises or produces no value.  Testing the wrong part of the business model: • Entrepreneurs sometimes falsely assess their 'riskiest assumption'  Procrastination: • Spending months to produce this 'MVP' and not being able to deal with disappointing results • Leads to more effort into the wrong direction because of 'loss aversion' 11 Pitfalls
    12. 12.  Mixpanel, KISSmetrics  Unbounce  Google Apps  Twitter Bootstrap  Amazon Webservices (including MTurk)  Balsamiq, MockingBird  3D printers 12 Tools
    13. 13.  Video  Concierge & Wizard of Oz  Mock-ups  Restricted product or service 13 Forms of MVPs
    14. 14. 14 Forms of MVPs - Video Promise of a product to which your target customers can relate and which convinces them to pay or register.
    15. 15. 15 Forms of MVPs – Example Concierge Value is delivered to customers by personal and manual labour.
    16. 16. 16 Forms of MVPs - Mockups The mockup is equivalent to the video, since no real value is delivered. Mockups are great in sales-heavy business models
    17. 17. 17 Forms of MVPs – Lit Motors Created a 1/4 ratio scale prototype which excited a property owner so much that they got an order for a 3-year lease.
    18. 18. 18 Forms of MVPs – Senz Umbrellas The first Senz umbrellas were hand-crafted out of existing umbrellas.
    19. 19. 19 Forms of MVPs – Restricted product This service actually works as a stripped-down version to serve a beachhead market
    20. 20. 20 Forms of MVPs – Restricted product Once your MVP is live, you can validate extra features using the ‘coming soon’ strategy
    21. 21. 21 Forms of MVPs – Restricted product
    22. 22. 22 Your MVPs Now it’s time to discuss your MVPs
    23. 23. 23 Case –
    24. 24. 24 Case –
    25. 25.  Twitter Bootstrap: UX and design covered  Windows Azure: integrates with Visual Studio 2010  Amazon MTurk: outsource questions, replaces algorithm  99Designs: cost-effective logo design  KISSmetrics: captures usage  Paypal API: easy payment, voluntarily after receiving results We worked with a team of two Total effort was approximately 2 man weeks The service was completely functional 25 – tools used
    26. 26.  +300 visitors in a week (promoted via personal twitter accounts)  +60 people used the service  Nobody paid   Referrals were limited  We had to do small iterations to deliver real value  We got some press coverage by Sprout  Key learning: journalists were very enthusiastic and used it as a tool to outsource and speed up desk research 26 result
    27. 27. Contact Follow us Tel: +31 88 700 8000 @BackupAgent Questions? Thank you for listening Robbert van Geldrop @rvangeldrop