Video | MVPs – why you should use them to build your website or web app

Author: Harry Cobbold

An overview of MVPs and why every digital business should be using this methodology. Created in partnership with Dffrnt. Read the Transcript.



What are they and are they worth your while?

Hi I’m Harry and I run Haio. We’re a digital product agency and we work with startups, scale-ups and SMEs to help them design and build easy-to-use websites, webs applications and platforms. So in a nutshell we help make MVPs.

What is an MVP?

An MVP is a minimum viable product, so it’s essentially an exercise whereby a startup tries to release a product which has the smallest number of features, to test whether their proposition and product market fit is going to work, before they spend too much money investing in huge amounts of features or technologies that users might not actually want to use.

Why are MVPs important?

One of the biggest challenges we face as founders is getting really excited about our idea and our vision for where our product should go. One of the problems with that is that we have so many features so many ideas to cram into something, and actually when we sit down to actually build and design these features they’re incredibly complex and incredibly time consuming. You could spend years developing a product before you launch it and some people do, but what generally happens if you do that is that you launch the wrong thing. So the idea is that you try and launch something as quickly as possible, so that you can maximise the learning from actual customers. So in order to do that you scale down the amount of stuff which goes into the first product and by doing so you speed up the time to marketing, learn quicker and then start building features based off of actual customer demand rather than our ideas and assumptions.

What should you include in an MVP?

That’s’ the million dollar question! I like to think of 3 things when i’m thinking about what goes into an MVP.
The first one is always users, so rather than my assumptions around what should go into a product my ideas for features and the problems that users are facing i’ll try to go out and speak to ask many users and possible and let them guide me to the features which are going to be most useful in that product for launch. So that’s hugely important and probably the most important.

The second one is metrics – it’s really important to consider, especially when you’re a startup and you’ve got investors to please, what are the metrics that they’re going to need to see to unlock your next round of funding. So we’re working with a startup at the moment and we’re ultra laser-focused on conversions. Not basket size, not bounce rate, not engagement on site, those are all important, but we’re laser-focused on making changes around things that we think are going to boost conversations, because that’s the metric that’s going to allow them to raise money in a couple of months time.

And then the 3rd one is time. Always have a deadline for when you’re going to launch your MVP, because it’s the one thing that levels whether this is going to make the cut or not. You can always push the deadline back but by doing that you’re just adding more time and more money into something you’re not yet learning from. So by having a deadline it really helps you when you’ve got that long list of features, there’s going to be a red line somewhere where you just have to stop and push it out into the world. So those would be my 3 things to help you work out where to draw the line with an MVP.

Top Tips for MVPs

Keep it simple is the main one, speak to as many users as possible and get it out there quickly. You can do landing pages, you can do surveys, you can get feedback but there is nothing like purchase intent to tell you whether you’re going in the right direction, because until someone is willing to part with money, you haven’t cracked that real core problem that the customer is looking for.

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