We all know what is a product. But what is viable. And what is minimum-viable? The primary purpose of a product in a startup is to help the target userbase. Bring to bear the value proposition of the product. The utility and usefulness promised. Now, how does one go about ensuring this value?
Viability of the key to any success. Viability to the users in the market, and viability in the product building, and viability commercially. One way is to build the complete product, take it to market and then assess viability. This can be extremely expensive, if any of the assumptions or hypothesis of value proposition come undone. Lot of time and resources lost, And worse, may be extremely expensive to make changes to the product or the course. That is where the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) comes very handy.
MVP is to capture the most critical assumptions and value to the customers, and attempt validating in smaller chunks instead of the completely built product. And herein lies the challenge on what these smaller chunks may be. How to identify what is the most minimal set of capabilities one should build. This depends on what is the most immediate assumption or proposition that needs to be assessed. Capability or assumption that is most critical to pique customer interest. Most critical to get customers to experience the value in the offerings. Most critical to understand the full product.
What is critical to validate depends on stage of the startups journey. In very early stages maybe just to assess the reactions to the concept. Later it maybe the validation that customers may use the product. Then if customers will pay anything at all for the product. Customers will pay the expected price for the product. Maybe validate scaling horizontally(functional), vertically (markets) or geographically. But at every step of startup early stages, there is something most critical to validate at that time. And assessing what is minimally needed to validate is the MVP at that point. That helps validate. Learn. Pivot. Accelerate