MVP examples

Minimum Viable Product Examples

Estimated read time: 12 minutes

Want to learn more about minimum viable product examples (MVPs)?

Then there’s no better place than here.

In this complex, competitive digital world where technologies advance at an alarming rate, businesses spring up as quickly as they close and users grow more and more fickle with each passing day, MVPs have been the secret that has allowed most startups to stand the test of time.

Most startups do not record a high success rate because they base their product on assumptions about their target audience. However, the ones who do succeed typically leverage the data-driven benefits of MVPs to nail their design and product offer before launching the actual product. 

Contents

Minimum Viable Product Examples & Lean Methodology
How Minimum Viable Products Differ From The Rest
Understanding The Types of Minimum Viable Products
Successful Minimum Viable Product Examples
Building Software Minimum Viable Products

Minimum Viable Product Examples & Lean Methodology

To discuss MVPs without addressing their relationship to lean methodology is to deny the very roots from which MVPs were nurtured into a validation tool.

Minimum Viable Products are a by-product of lean methodology, being founded on the principles that business can accelerate their path to growth with the least effort possible by properly administering their resources. 

Lean methodology is a school of thought developed by American entrepreneur Eric Ries which emphasizes the constant improvement of business work processes, human resources, and purpose in an effort to provide better value to customers.  

Credits: Dreams Time

To be more concrete, the lean-startup is a philosophy developed specifically for startups whose primary objectives are to: 

  • Reduce the time it takes to complete the product development process.
  • Accelerate how long it takes you to determine whether your business model is viable. 
  • Gain insight (pricing, user base, possible mobile app usage) on a kickstarter product or service in a quick way to help make design changes where necessary.

In effect, it operates as a learning vehicle through which early adopters can measure the success rate of their product through data analysis. 

Due to its close relationship to lean methodology, MVPs are by their very nature iterative tools that allow businesses to scale faster and more accurately. 

Successful businesses such as Buffer and Amazon all started off as MVPs. 

The Makeup of a Minimum Viable Product

Minimum Viable Products are composed of four main elements: 

Credits: Kromatic

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  • Value proposition: This summarizes the solution being offered by the product to a given market, be it segmented or not. Usually, it consists of some sort of benefit or advantage which the service constitutes to a user. Its development is usually associated with a Business model canvas which aims to organize and visualize key areas of the overall business strategy.
  • Market segment: Considering that MVPs are data-drivers, they need to be administered to a select audience within your market who will be best qualified to provide you with the insight you’re looking for. This subset of your audience constitutes your market segment.
  • Channel: This consists of the method through which the target audience is contacted in order to deliver the value proposition. For example, if your product is digital, then a website may be the channel that you think is optimum to connect with your target audience. However, if your product is tangible, then in all likelihood, distributing a physical prototype in person may seem more logical than opting for a digital solution. 
  • Customer relationship: Feedback is a crucial element of an MVP. Without it, one cannot acquire the insight needed for iterations on the product design. For that reason, allocations, procedures, and structures must be put in place to ensure that customers can provide feedback through the various methods offered by the business. 

How Minimum Viable Products Differ From The Rest

Before diving more into the intricacies surrounding MVPs and their corresponding success stories, it is imperative to address the tendency to group them with other tools or concepts; namely Minimum Marketable Products (MMPs) and Proof of Concept/Proof of Principle (POC/POP) respectively. 

Minimum Viable Products vs Minimum Marketable Products

A Minimum Marketable Product is a fully-functional product that can be sold for revenue gains by the product developer, stakeholders, or interested parties. 

While an MMP does not possess all of the features that constitute its final design, it is a complete product. 

Minimum Viable Products are data capturers. They serve to gather data regarding the acceptance (or lack thereof) of their product in terms of its usability, design interface, and more. 

Consequently, they are built with all the core features needed for the product to function.

A business cannot use an MVP to bring in revenue as that isn’t its design function. 

Minimum Viable Products vs Proof of Concept

POC/POP is a test or validation method which seeks to determine and demonstrate how feasible and practical a given business concept is.

It is usually conducted either as a pilot test, experiment, or exercise whose primary function is to test and gauge a given design idea or assumption. 

While it serves to obtain data that is later analyzed and converted to insight, it differs from an MVP in that with POCs/POPs, no customers are involved.

One can conduct a validation test in a POC/POP without the need for human participants. MVPs require humans for testing in order to make inferences about usability. 

Understanding The Types of Minimum Viable Products

Considering that an MVP, as a method for data procurement, is a deployable scaled-down version of a new product, they vary greatly in terms of design and format. 

There are, however, seven (7) main ways in which one can go about creating MVPs. These are: 

  1. Demo Videos/Explainer Videos
  2. Landing Pages
  3. Concierge
  4. Software Prototypes
  5. Software Designs
  6. Wizard of Oz
  7. Piecemeals

Demo Videos/Explainer Videos

A demo video is one that portrays the functionalities and design of the product idea you are offering.

Essentially, the video format template provides a round-up or briefing on what the user can expect when using the product. This can include prototypes, mockups, or sketches which help to provide context on the functions that are offered. 

Demo videos are usually accompanied by some form or script, be it subtitled or a voice-over, which offers more information about the product that is being advertised. 

Landing Pages

Landing pages are an innovative way to get insight into a given product or service prior to its launch. 

The most common manner in which landing pages are used as MVPs is as a promotional platform for a given product.

Typically, these landing pages are simple websites that feature product designs and sketches supported by persuasive copywriting which urges the user to stay tuned for more information, in most cases including a signup form so users can access notifications on the product release. 

Measuring the number of sign-ups you get and contrasting it to the number of logged user sessions generated via the page is a way to gauge user interest.

Concierge

This is an innovative model to weigh the impressions of users across different product design options. 

In a nutshell, Concierge MVPs connect a user with a subscription service through which they are provided with a personalized selection of products. 

The users then offer their feedback on the various product designs with which they come into contact.

Based on this insight, the MVP development team can then adjust or pivot their design to suit.

Software Prototypes

Software prototypes are the most common yet complex types of MVPs available. 

As the name suggests, it is a functional and operational version of the final product which only contains the core elements which constitute its value proposition. 

Product Designs

Product designs are a fairly standard type of MVP. 

They are visual representations that depict the product which will be released. 

These visuals can be sketched or prepared with some type of wireframing tool such as Figma. 

Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz MVP is a way to provide a real-like version of the product without most of the functionalities associated with it.

Instead, it seeks to recreate the service which your product offers as authentically as you can without the technological complexities. Instead, your goal is to determine how viable the service is, not whether it is technically sound. 

This is particularly useful to gauge how successful an AI-powered service will be without building out the entire backend development. 

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Piecemeals

Piecemeal MVPs are not fresh designs or products that are built from scratch.

Instead, they are the assembling of one or more separate entities which come together to form the MVP. 

To be more specific, piecemeals leverage existing tools and technology within a given business inventory and construct a model out of it which is then used to provide a novel user experience. 

Successful Minimum Viable Product Examples

Having provided an overview of the theoretical knowledge surrounding MVPs as well as the different shapes, sizes, and formats in which they can be presented, we now turn our attention to examples of MVPs that became success stories. 

DropBox 

One of the most noticeable MVP examples is Dropbox, an entity founded by entrepreneur and CEO Drew Houston which has the honor of being one of the most used file hosting platforms in the world at present. 

When the product was still in its infancy stage, stakeholders were unsure as to whether the business idea would be viable or not.

Therefore, they created a demo video in which they explained the product and sought feedback from potential users.

Credits: DropBox

In the video, a voice-over was used where a member of the DropBox team ran through the value proposition offered by DropBox, complementing it with visual depictions of how the service would be administered to a user once they accessed it. 

Persons who were interested in the service were asked to submit their email to gain access to a version of the software that permitted testing. 

It was from this demo video that DropBox obtained positive feedback from customers which helped them to ideate, launch, and grow into the mega business that it is today. 

 Airbnb

Airbnb is another success story of Minimum Viable Products that worked out favorably for stakeholders.

San-Francisco-based co-founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky launched the idea for Airbnb as ‘Air Bed & Breakfast’ where they made a room in their home available (variation of piecemeals) and threw in breakfast all for one single fee.

Credits: Medium

Initially, they were unsure as to whether people would take kindly to the idea of staying at a stranger’s house. 

Turns out that the response from those who stayed at their home was positive. They used the feedback obtained from the first-timers to iterate and pivot their business idea based on user expectations and their desired experience.

Zappos 

Zappos is yet another innovative MVP model which brought about immense success for its CEO Nick Swinmurn. 

Prior to its monumental growth and revenue increase, Swinmurn was unsure as to the viability and profitability margins expected from Zappos as an online retail shoe store that sold shoes without any stock. 

Credits: Zappos

During that time, Swinmurn would take pictures of the product and advertise it online. If someone was interested in the shoe, he would then take the initiative to head down to the store and purchase it.

Several years later, Zappos has grown into one of the most celebrated eCommerce platforms available.

His validation testing method can thus be classified as a Wizard of Oz MVP. He created the illusion of a real, fully-fleshed-out platform that sold shoes when in fact he didn’t even have an inventory or single feature.

Instead, he took a smarter approach to confirm his business idea and it paid off in the end.

Twitter

Twitter is yet another example of an uber-successful social media business that levied the insight-providing power of an MVP to assess the viability of the service being offered.

Credits: Twitter

The idea was initially conceived by Biz Stone, Noah Glass, and Jack Dorsey in a podcasting company called Odeo. 

At the time, Odeo was in a precarious position due to the ever-growing presence of its competitors. For that reason, executives felt compelled to devise another business idea that they felt would be a safety net should the podcasting company crumble. 

That business idea was an SMS-based service used for sharing brief updates with a select community.

However, they were unsure as to how the target market would react to this new take on micro-blogging. 

Therefore, in order to test their idea, they developed a software prototype, named it ‘twttr’, and distributed it among Odeo employees as a pay-per-text service. 

Over time, they realized that the prototype was a success, with some employees racking up hundreds of dollars a month in SMS bills.

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Having validated the business idea, they went back, ideated, and eventually launched Twitter as the actual product which has since then taken the world by storm. 

Building Software Minimum Viable Products

While it is true that an MVP by its very definition is not bound to the digital world, at a time where business models, ideas, and solutions are all online, MVPs typically follow suit. 

The Minimum Viable Product examples listed previously are all testimony of digitally-based MVPs that went on and became success stories.

Therefore, with MVPs being central pillars to the success of a business idea, failure is not an option. Irrespective of the type of MVP it may be, they all need to be expertly crafted, or else they may jeopardize the quality and kind of findings you obtain.

Needless to say, MVP costs are dependent on several factors, including the type of Minimum Viable Product being created and fundamentally who is in charge of its development.

As is the case with most product owners, business leaders, and stakeholders, the notion of assuming complete responsibility for the creation of your MVP is impractical due to constraints in your schedule. Therefore, in all likelihood, the easiest thing to do would be to outsource its development to a software engineer(s) who has the skills needed to get it done. 

In doing so, you will most likely be encouraged to recruit talent via a job board or freelance platform. After all, considering that startups and novel business ideas are all highly influenced by budgetary restraints, it does sound ideal to hire a developer at a low rate of $20/hour to create an MVP. 

However, this is a huge mistake and can potentially lead both your MVP and business possibilities to disaster. 

Job boards and freelance platforms make up some of the most dangerous spaces online where a business can find talent. 

Here’s why:

Illegitimate Professionals

In as much as there are a select few legitimate developers that are available on these platforms, the reality is that there are far more fraudulent service providers prowling around them looking for unsuspecting businesses to partner with. You as a recruiter then fall into the trap of paying them for a service that they either never render, or end up doing so poorly that you have to pay to have it redone.

Inadequate Candidate Screening

One of the main reasons which justify the inclusion of so many illegitimate service providers on these platforms is the absence of a proper screening mechanism. These platforms are known for their willingness to accept any and everybody who wishes to create a profile and apply for a job posting or project. There is hardly any structural way of evaluating candidates before they are put in the path of businesses looking to partner with them.

Ill-equipped Candidates

While there are candidates who may have the technical skills required to create an MVP, you will find that most of them lack the comprehensive profile needed to make your project a success. This includes having the necessary knowledge or backing in lean methodology which will help to orient how they tackle your project. It also involves having the right communication skills or ability to prepare and deliver reports and work updates in a timely fashion.

Instead, DevTeam.Space can help you get the right candidates for your MVP.

Leverage DevTeam.Space Teams For Minimum Viable Products 

DevTeam.Space is a vetted community of expert software developers bolstered by an agile AI process. We connect businesses to top specialists in software development to help make your projects as successful and stress-free as they ought to be. 

Our community is teeming with expert MVP software builders who have the experience, knowledge, and business context needed to bring your product to life.

The software engineers who form part of DevTeam.Space were specially chosen in virtue of their skills, knowledge, experience, and commitment to maintaining the high-quality standards which our community is known for. 

What’s more, all of these professionals are supported by an agile AI algorithm that makes it easier for you to manage your project and keep track of progress throughout the entire MVP development cycle: 

  • Align the various key phases of your MVP project with goals and milestones which enable you to promote better accountability and management for internal and external teams.
  • Access daily work overviews and weekly reports that record updates throughout the project as milestones are completed. 
  • Identify setbacks and challenges that crop up in the MVP development cycle in order to easily fix them. 

DevTeam.Space grants you the flexibility to work with individual MVP developers as well as fully fleshed-out teams to tackle your project.

Final Thoughts

This guide dissects the inner workings of MVPs from a theoretical and practical standpoint.

The Minimum Viable Product Examples which are featured are examples of sound data-driven MVPs which yielded mega returns to their respective businesses.

DevTeam.Space can put you in the path of top software developers who can create stellar MVPs and give wings to your startup business or idea.

Take a few minutes to complete our DevTeam.Space questionnaire. An account manager from DevTeam.Space will reach out to you as soon as possible with a product design estimate so you can get started.

Other Articles You Might Like:

How to Design a Mobile App

How to Design a Product

Why Choose DevTeam.Space for Your Software Development Projects


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