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The Role and Impact of Minimum Viable Products in Agile

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The concept of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), introduced by Eric Ries in his 2011 book “The Lean Startup,” originated in the startup world. The Lean Startup methodology advocates a systematic, scientific approach to building sustainable businesses, with the MVP playing a crucial role in the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop. 

An MVP involves creating a product with minimal features to satisfy early customers and gather feedback. This allows startups to quickly launch a simplified version, test hypotheses, and learn from user interactions, thereby validating assumptions and refining the product without unnecessary development efforts. 

Now widely accepted in both startups and established companies, the MVP concept emphasizes early value delivery, learning from user feedback, and adapting to evolving market needs, making it fundamental in agile and iterative development methodologies. 

Purpose of Minimum Viable Product 

The purpose of an MVP is to test assumptions about the product and the market and to learn from real users’ behavior and feedback. An MVP is not a final product but a starting point for iterative development. Iterative development, a key principle of agile project management, emphasizes delivering value to customers in short cycles and adapting to changing requirements and feedback. 

By using an MVP, agile teams can validate their ideas quickly and cheaply, and then improve the product based on the data and insights such as user engagement, retention, satisfaction, revenue, etc. Based on the results, they should decide whether to persevere with their current vision, or pivot to a different one they collect.

This approach allows teams to effectively address real problems, meeting customer expectations in product management strategy.

The Process of Developing a Minimum Viable Product 

Market Research and Analysis 

The first step in developing an MVP is to conduct market research and analysis. This involves identifying the target audience, analyzing the market trends and competition, and defining the problem that the product aims to solve.

The goal of this step is to  

 “Understand the customer needs, pain points, and expectations, as well as the existing solutions and gaps in the market.

For example, for an MVP of a mobile app that helps people find nearby parking spaces, research potential customers (drivers, commuters, travelers), analyze the current market situation, and identify existing apps and services. Define the problem your app intends to solve, such as reducing the time and hassle of finding parking and saving money on parking fees. 

Feature Prioritization 

In the next phase, prioritize features by identifying the essential ones that deliver the core product value. Rank these features based on their impact on customers and the business. 

The goal of this step is to  

“Focus on the most important features that solve customer problems and generate revenue, while eliminating or postponing the less important or nice-to-have features that add complexity and cost.

For example, for parking app MVP, identify essential features and rank these features based on their value and impact.   

  • A map showing available parking spaces near the user’s location (High value, high impact) 
  • A booking system for reserving and paying for parking spaces (High value, high impact) 
  • A navigation system guiding users to their parking spot (Medium value, medium impact) 
  • A rating system for users to rate and review parking spaces (Low value, low impact) 

Based on this ranking, include the first two features essential for delivering value and generating revenue, and defer or exclude the remaining features. 

Prototyping and Design 

In the third step, create a functional prototype demonstrating the product’s functionality and appearance. This involves creating a UI mockup or wireframe displaying user interaction and designing a user-friendly, intuitive UX.
The goal of this step is to  

“Visualize and test the product’s look and feel before investing in development.

For example, for the parking app MVP, create a prototype using tools such as Sketch or Figma, showing: 

  • Home screen with a map of nearby parking spaces 
  • Search bar for entering destination or location 
  • Filter options for refining search (price, distance) 
  • Booking screen detailing selected parking space 
  • Payment screen for user-friendly payment process 
  • Confirmation screen displaying booking details 

Utilize tools like InVision or Marvel for interactive prototypes simulating product functionality. Gather feedback through user testing, interviews, surveys, or focus groups to enhance the prototype and design.

Development and Iterative Releases 

In the final phase, implement the prioritized and prototyped core features using agile principles. This involves breaking down tasks, working in short sprints, delivering software at the end of each sprint, collaborating with the team and customers, and adapting to changing requirements and feedback.
The goal of this step is to  

“Launch your product quickly and iteratively and learn from the market response.

Use GitHub or Bitbucket for code management and Firebase or AWS for hosting. Employ tools like Google Analytics to measure product performance, focusing on metrics such as user acquisition, retention, engagement, satisfaction, feedback, and revenue generation. Evaluate product success and iterate on features, design, and strategy based on collected data, releasing improved versions until achieving product-market fit. 

Benefits for the Client and Agile Team 

One of the main advantages of using the MVP approach in agile development is that it provides benefits for both the client and the agile team. 

Client Perspective 

The client gains significant advantages through the MVP process: 

  • Early Product Visibility: The client interacts with a working product sooner, gaining insights into its value proposition, functionality, and usability. 
  • Customization Based on Real-Time Feedback: Continuous input allows the client to influence development stages, resulting in a more tailored and user-centric solution. 

Agile Team Perspective 

The agile team benefits in the following ways: 

  • Improved Collaboration: Close collaboration fosters effective communication, idea sharing, and issue resolution, building a culture of trust among team members. 
  • Flexibility in Adapting to Changes: Embracing change as an opportunity, the agile team utilizes strategic iteration and continuous improvement to respond to market conditions, customer demands, and technological advancements. 

Measuring Success: How to Determine if an MVP is Successful 

Evaluating the performance and impact of an MVP involves user engagement metrics, iterative improvement metrics, and business impact metrics. 

User Engagement Metrics 

User engagement metrics gauge how well your MVP meets audience needs, revealing interactions, satisfaction levels, and likelihood of continued usage or recommendations. Examples include: 

  • User Adoption Rates: Measures the number of users signing up, downloading, or installing the MVP within a specified period. 
  • User Satisfaction Feedback: Collects qualitative data through surveys, interviews, reviews, ratings, or testimonials. 

Iterative Improvement Metrics 

Iterative improvement metrics assess Agile and Lean Startup methodology application in MVP development. Examples include: 

  • Speed of Iteration: Measures how quickly new MVP versions or features are released. 
  • Incorporation of User Feedback: Measures the extent to which user feedback is integrated into subsequent iterations. 

Business Impact Metrics 

Business impact metrics are indicators of how well your MVP aligns with organizational goals. Examples include: 

  • Return on Investment (ROI): Measures the revenue or profit generated by the MVP compared to development costs. 
  • Market Share Growth: Measures the increase in customer base or market penetration compared to competitors. 


Creating an MVP is a continuous cycle of learning and improvement. By following this approach, you can achieve better results and higher satisfaction for both you and your customers. Embrace the Lean Startup methodology and apply it to your own product development projects to effectively validate ideas, refine products, and meet evolving market needs.

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