I think that UX methods are more suitable for a prototype, but if you already talk about MVP, there are common steps.
Step 1. Define the problem
This is a situation when the first step can define your whole business path.
You’ve got an ingenious idea and immediately start the development. Later you recognize that the idea is great, but no one actually needs it.
To reduce the risk of failure, you should start with a problem definition. If you identify an existing problem, your solution is more likely to find many users.
Step 2. Define the target audience
Trying to target all users is another mistake. It is impossible to get everyone to use your product. Therefore, it is much easier to satisfy a certain group of people.
Build your buyer persona and make it as specific as you can. Define age, profession, education level, earnings, family, hobbies, etc. The better you know your potential customer, the better you can meet his expectations.
Step 3. Specify the minimum feature set
Here comes one of the most difficult parts of building an MVP.
When you initially thought about your product you probably identified dozens of unique features to charm your customers, but unfortunately, you’ll have to put all these ideas aside until you test your assumptions concerning the problem that your idea will solve for users.
It’s best to start with is the minimum set of core features which will bring value to the customer. Ideally you should include only one essential feature.
As an example: You assume, that your potential customers want to move faster. You want to build a car to solve this problem. To test your assumption you start with building a minimum viable product.
MVP: A skateboard.
Not MVP: Four separate wheels.
An MVP might help you to prove your assumption, and validate your product idea. If your target audience is interested in the skateboard, then you were right, they are in need of a vehicle which helps them move faster, and they are ready to pay for it.
If you offer the customer four wheels - this will not solve his problem. But a skateboard will.
Your MVP might be primitive, but if your idea provides a solution to an existing problem without neglecting the user experience, it will have users and the MVP will prove this assumption.
Step 4. Build MVP
After defining the core features for the MVP, it’s time to build the product.
The first rule is: Forget about perfection! At this stage, your only aim is to release the product as soon as possible to test your assumptions.
The sooner you get the product into your user’s hands, the better. From their feedback you’ll understand whether they are interested in this kind of a product, or whether the development is a complete waste of time and money.
And remember, if the users like your minimum viable product with all its imperfections, the full version of the product is much more likely to charm the whole world.
Step 5. Test MVP
After your minimum viable product is finished, get it into the hands of potential customers. Remember one of the first steps, the target audience definition? Find people who match your buyer persona and ask them to test your MVP.
If you did everything right (defining the problem, the target audience and the minimum features set) you’ll receive relevant feedback. This will be your clear guide as to what to do next.
You should take the customer feedback seriously.
It will show you whether your idea is worth investing in or not;
It will prove that you defined the target audience correctly;
It will give you a clear vision of how to develop your product further;
It will reveal which features your product needs, and which features ot does not need.
These are reliable facts, not just assumptions.
You may be afraid of receiving negative comments about your product, but in this business there is one thing to remember: Negative feedback is better than no feedback.
Step 6. Improve your minimum viable product
After receiving reliable feedback from your first users it’s time to take advantage of this information.
So, you know what your users like and what they don’t like. Now you can improve the good features, remove the bad ones and add something new to see whether or not it will work.
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