What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

A minimum viable product, often referred to as an MVP, is a simplified version of a product or service that is released to the market with just enough features to satisfy early adopters and test the product’s viability. The purpose of an MVP is to validate a product idea, gather feedback, and test market demand with minimal investment of time and resources. The idea is to quickly bring a product to market and make adjustments based on customer feedback, rather than spending a lot of time and money on development before learning whether there is a market for the product.

An MVP often has only the most essential features needed to provide a basic experience for early adopters, but it should be functional and provide value to users. For example, a MVP of a social media platform might only allow users to sign up and post updates, while a later version might include features such as private messaging, photo sharing, and the ability to connect with friends.

The goal of an MVP is to test the viability of a product or service as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to make changes based on customer feedback and market demand. This approach allows startups and established companies to develop new products or services more quickly, with less risk and a lower cost.

Simplified Example

A minimum viable product (MVP) is like a simple prototype of a toy you want to make. Imagine you have an idea for a new toy and you want to see if it would be fun for other kids to play with. You don't have all the materials to make the full toy, so you make a basic version with just enough features to show other people what your idea is.

This basic version of the toy is like an MVP because it has just enough features to show how the final toy will look and work. You can then show it to your friends and ask them what they think. Based on their feedback, you can make improvements and add more features to make the toy even better.

Just like an MVP toy, an MVP in business is a basic version of a product that you can use to test your idea and get feedback from customers. This way, you can make changes and improvements before you spend a lot of time and money on making the full product.

Who Invented the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

The term "Minimum Viable Product" (MVP) was coined by Frank Robinson in 2001. As the co-founder and president of SyncDev, a software development company, Robinson introduced the term in his book "The Ideal Product: New Models for Lean Development and Innovation." In this work, he defined MVP as a product with sufficient features for early usability and feedback collection. Although the term is relatively recent, the concept of creating basic product versions to gather insights precedes it, with various figures advocating this approach before Robinson's formalization.


A food delivery app: The MVP for this app would include the basic functionality of allowing users to browse a menu, select items, and place an order, as well as a simple system for tracking the status of the order and delivery.

A personal finance app: The MVP for this app would include the basic features of tracking expenses and income, categorizing transactions, and generating reports.

A ride-sharing app: The MVP for this ride-sharing app would include the ability for users to request a ride, view driver information and their estimated arrival time, and make payments. The app may also include a basic system for rating drivers and providing feedback to the company.

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