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MVP in project management: Getting solutions to market faster

Blog: Monday Project Management Blog

Getting to market first can be a huge win for businesses, especially when they have a unique idea or an urgent customer need to meet. Using the MVP (minimum viable product) method in project management can help teams get a functioning product into customers’ hands without getting stuck in the minutia of “what ifs” and “what don’t we know?” According to Eric Ries, author of “The Lean Startup,” the minimal viable product approach lets teams and businesses learn quickly, adjust agilely, and quickly improve products for maximum scaling.

This article defines what MVPs are and looks at why project teams might want to focus on one. We’ll also highlight some great real-life MVPs who went on to become most valuable players in their niches.

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What is a minimum viable product?

A minimum viable product is a product that has enough functionality and features so that early adopters are likely to use it or even purchase it.

Getting a product quickly to early users lets teams benefit from the maximum possible amount of validated learning about customers for the product.

That feedback loop provides information that helps teams work toward a final product or future upgrades for the product. Eric Ries, who pioneered this iterative method of product development, believes that at some point validated learning about customers is required. Without it, development stalls or teams end up making decisions based on what-if scenarios that may not play out in the real world.

Why would project teams focus on generating an MVP?

The MVP concept goes hand-in-hand with the Agile methodology often used in software development. In this format, teams work through development cycles, providing an MVP for beta users and building on what they learn to create a more comprehensive or more functional product as they go. The biggest reason for focusing on an MVP is that it tends to speed up the development process because it allows the team to collect the maximum amount of validated information that provides immediate direction for further work.

Project teams working on new or improved processes might create MVPs to implement with beta testers to learn more about what else can be improved. Research and development teams in manufacturing environments might release the first version of a product, knowing that they have more ideas and plan to release other versions based on customer feedback.

You can use an MVP anywhere as long as the minimum viable product:

Some of the biggest names in tech, e-commerce, and other industries started with a minimum viable product. For many, the MVP laid a foundation for a quick rise to the top.

Examples of successful MVPs and why they worked

Check out some MVP stories from real-life companies below to get inspired about using this approach with your projects, teams, or product development work.

Amazon

Jeff Bezos started Amazon with a single product concept: get books and get them into customers’ hands. Once upon a time, the mega-retailer only sold books, and it didn’t even have a warehouse to pull them from. Bezos bought the books from a distributor and shipped them to the customer each time they placed an order.

Obviously, that minimum viable product worked. People loved having the ability to access almost any book they might want — often at a discount. Bezos used the proceeds from Amazon to build more functionality over the years, adding increasing types of shopping, warehouses, and services.

Groupon

Did you know that Groupon didn’t even start with its own content management system? The founders used WordPress to get their MVP to market as quickly as possible and only built out the site you know as Groupon once they saw some success.

Today, Groupon dabbles in deals for local retailers, hospitality companies, and entertainment options, but it also offers ways to save on national opportunities and e-commerce. It’s come a long way from an MVP niche site only the savviest savers knew about to becoming a household name.

Facebook

The MVP version of Facebook was super basic. Profiles didn’t allow much information and people couldn’t share videos or images. Plus, all the first adopters were Harvard University students.

But the idea was a good one, and the MVP adopted by Harvard students provided plenty of validated learning. That let the founders move forward with the social media platform, working through multiple development cycles and beta testing rounds to eventually make history with a game-changing social media app.

Spotify

Spotify launched to Swedish music bloggers, who beta-tested the MVP version and helped market it to the rest of the world at the right time. The original Spotify only worked on desktop, didn’t have a freemium version, and didn’t let users create playlists or share songs. It was missing many other features you might know and love today, but the minimum viable product was enough to provide a great experience for people who were hungry for a way to stream more music.

iPhone

The original iPhone launched in 2007 with a limited number of Apple apps and no way for customers to download other functionality. It didn’t even have all the functions other phones had at the time, and early adopters didn’t consider it a flawless product.

They did, however, consider it revolutionary. Apple used the first iteration of the iPhone to find out whether consumers would adopt an on-screen keyboard, wanted browser capability on a mobile device, and carry a single device for all purposes. The answers it got are now obvious, as the iPhone model became the foundation for almost all smartphones of the future.

Your MVP might not be the next iPhone or Facebook, but it can be a major step in the direction of success for your project or business. To make the most of the MVP method and develop a product strategy that works for you, though, you need a way for your team to work together quickly and agilely. Great project management software can help.

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How monday.com helps teams push MVPs to market faster 

monday.com’s collaborative work environment helps project teams of all types work faster, smarter, and better together. Start by creating dashboards that let everyone see where you stand with a project so the team can work quickly toward launching an MVP. Spotify did it in just four months — and with backup from monday.com, teams can often beat or exceed that timeline.

Some types of dashboards and views you might find helpful when working on rapid product development include:

Agile development teams and other project teams that need to work quickly to get a minimum viable project to market can also rely on automations, color-coding, and other monday.com features that help ensure no task is left behind. Each team member can sign in, see what work is on their plate, and seamlessly make handoffs to ensure optimal efficiency and productivity.

The post MVP in project management: Getting solutions to market faster appeared first on monday.com Blog.

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