4.1. Define the Minimum Viable Product
By the end of Alpha, you will need to have defined your Minimum Viable Product, or MVP.
Eric Reis describes the MVP as “the version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort”.
You should start with the vision you’ve been prototyping and validating throughout Alpha. The MVP should be the first step that delivers value on the way to that vision.
So far, the prototypes you’ve built in Alpha could be described as earliest testable products, as they’ve been low-fidelity mockups focussed on quickly validating a hypothesis. In Beta, you will create an earliest usable product: the simplest working service that meets a real user need.
A minimum viable product:
- provides value to users - it actually helps get something done
- may focus on the specific needs of only a subset of users
- works end-to-end along the ‘happy path’ (or ‘steel thread’)
We recommend you de-scope generic functionality like user registration, business rules engines or content management systems, as these can quickly inflate the size of the MVP and are not critical to building the service. Instead, just choose the simplest approach that meets the user need.