Infographic: Minimum Viable Product

How can you get a new product or service to market quickly and reduce your risk and overhead at the same time?

By releasing a minimum viable product.

Check out the infographic below to see what an MVP is all about and why it’s better and less risky than the model most businesses use:

MVP Infographic

Embed this graphic on you site:

<img src="http://cf001.s3.amazonaws.com/infographics/minimumviableproduct-infographic_c.png" width="800" height="3551" /><p style="text-align: center;">Source: <a href="http://activegrowth.com/">activegrowth.com</a></p>

A must-read book on this topic is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Without knowing it, I had already been following a lean startup model for years. But once I read this book, things became so much clearer and I wish I had come across it sooner.

Thoughts, comment and feedback welcome! Share this if you like it!

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Shane
 

I'm Shane Melaugh and I'm the guy writing most of the posts on this blog. My goal is to provide you with useful, straight-forward insights on how to grow your business by creating compelling offers, driving traffic and increasing conversions.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 38 comments
Peter Sundstrom - April 1, 2013

Hi Shane.

Great infographic.

I’ve definitely been trapped in the complex plan cycle a few times.

Cheers

Peter

Reply
    Shane - April 1, 2013

    Thanks, Peter!

    It’s a mistake easily made. I think we all have the tendency to want to make things just a little better or wait just a little longer (wait for the “right moment”) before we release something.

    Reply
      Iain - July 3, 2013

      That’s always the problem.

      People want things to be just right and that stops them from doing things.

      I was talking to my sister the other day and she was talking about needing business cards and websites.

      In reality you can get started with very little. Just asking people if they would be interested in the product is a great place to start.

      A guy named Noah Kagan suggests getting validated before you move on the project. It’s a similar concept to the MVP.

      Reply
Doug Crowe - April 1, 2013

You are the master. So often, we get caught up in our creation process…passionate about our ideas can often blind us to the market reality (as your pie chart indicates). I’m a BIG advocate for having my customers assist me in development. The more input we get along the way, the more my ego doesn’t get in the way. Sure…I have great ideas (so I’m told) but the only true test of those ideas is when someone is willing to invest money or time in them.

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    Shane - April 1, 2013

    Thanks for the comment, Doug!

    I’ve also found that customers and early adopters are very happy to get involved and help out.

    Reply
David Vallieres - April 1, 2013

That’s awesome Shane. Nice job! I find that just 1 or 2 out of 10 projects I work on find great success. So your 5% number looks about right. I love your statement, “Simple Plan / Acknowledges Uncertainty” so beautifully put and so true.

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    Shane - April 1, 2013

    Thanks, David!

    The uncertainty thing is really important. I used to think I had brilliant business ideas.
    Actually, I’m still rather enamored with many of my ideas, but now I know that I have to test them and that there’s a good chance people won’t find them as brilliant as I do, unless I make some changes. :)

    Reply
Giuseppe - April 1, 2013

Very true. I’ve done the complex and now working on the simple. But would love your help on making it simpler yet.:-)

Reply
    Shane - April 1, 2013

    I’d love to help with that. Is there a specific sticking point that you struggle with? What’s the bottleneck in your process?

    Reply
Gary - April 1, 2013

Hi Shane,

Long time no speak.

Would you say that you would call a free product an MVP?
I ask because I currently have my first ever product going out
to somebody’s list, and it’s a free membership product.
This has/is taking some not inconsiderable effort to produce.
The objective being, to build a list of “customers” who have
experienced the product, albeit a free one, the paid products,
of which we have a list as long as your arm,
will follow a very similar format.

In fact, I think I will probaly email you directly about it.
I’ll check to see if any past email addys are still working, I suspect they are!

Speak sooner.

Regards

Gary

Reply
    Shane - April 1, 2013

    Yes, absolutely. Free products can be great MVPs for information products and memberships.

    You can contact me as usual or through our helpdesk.

    Reply
Fred Cannon - April 1, 2013

I need you to keep reminding me about this. I all too often get caught up in the perfectionist mode, sweating over the tiniest of details. I’m learning tho, I’m learning. At least now I’m able to recognize it when it happens and step to look at the big picture. Sometimes it’s just hard to let go of your “baby” and send it out into the world before you think it’s ready. Thanks for the reality check.

Reply
    Shane - April 1, 2013

    It can be scary, releasing something new. Although you do get used to it, if you do it often enough.

    And I know how crippling perfectionism can be, all too well.

    Reply
Mike Bowen - April 1, 2013

Great concept. I agree 100%, and my new web service at TrafficDial was designed to help facilitate the exact feedback look you’re talking about. If you think it’s appropriate, feel free to share TrafficDial with your users. So far people are loving it. FYI, you have one little typo I saw in your infographic – near the bottom it says “Real Feeback” instead of “Real Feedback.”

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Jonathan Damonte - April 1, 2013

Very nice and very true.

Reply
Rex - April 1, 2013

Sadly I have fallen victim to this problem MORE than once. In fact, perfectionism can even cause a product to NEVER come to market. This leads to the ultimate in “complex plan”.

That is the case on one of my software products. I had developed a keyword tool that works great on a dedicated server but pukes on a shared server. Numerous programmers later and it is stalled.

This was an EXTREME case of not doing the MVP. I hate it when that happens. :)

Rex

Reply
    Shane - April 1, 2013

    I believe you’re in very good company with this, Rex.
    I know I’ve got a software product that never saw the light of day and that cost a lot of time and money…

    In fact, I think the number of unfinished and never-ready products out there is probably staggering.

    Reply
Judy H. Wright - April 1, 2013

Hello from Montana, USA

I have had to really force myself to FOCUS on one project at a time. It has been my experience that if I have more than 3 projects going, none get done well or even done.

Thanks for sharing,

Judy H. Wright

Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” is a wise woman with a global message of individual empowerment. Everyone needs a warm, loving Auntie in their life to encourage and inspire them. Hope we connect as friends.

Reply
Stephen N - April 1, 2013

Great infographic Shane.

I find that this is one of those things that is so much easier said than done. :o)

To follow the MVP path, I think that there needs to be some additional imperative or motivational aspect involved up front, otherwise there’s not enough of a de-motivator to avoid the pull of the complex path.

This becomes an even greater factor depending on personality types. As one with perfectionist tendencies and a high attention to detail, I find it much easier to help others to keep processes simple than to do this myself.

Reply
Joe - April 1, 2013

Shane

What do you use to make your infographs

Reply
Tony - April 1, 2013

Yes, I meant to ask too: what software or service do you create these neat inforgraphics with?

As for the subject of this post: I’ve been in the “perfectioning phase” of my first info product for months so thanks for the friedly kick in the pants! :)

Reply
    Shane - April 1, 2013

    See reply above. I probably won’t make many (or any) more myself, though. It’s not the best use of my time. I’d love to have a whole series of infographics, but I’ll look for someone to hire, to create them.

    Reply
Alexandra - April 1, 2013

Great infographics and good advise. Thanks!

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Brian - April 1, 2013

I enjoyed this infographic! I like the part where you mention that a complex plan will leave you out of time and out of money (because chances are that you’ll fail). But isn’t the alternative a lean startup and not an MVP? I think sometimes the idea of an MVP is described as being the smallest possible version of your product, when really it should be a way to test your hypothesis. As you iterate on your lean startup, you build a new MVP after each build-measure-learn feedback loop to validate your hypothesis. (My first hypothesis is usually designed to validate whether my target audience cares about my value proposition — and I don’t need a functional product to test that.)

P.S. I really liked the part in your infographic about the user feedback loop. I think that’s the most important thing you can do.

Reply
    Shane - April 2, 2013

    The MVP is a part of the lean startup method. The reason I made an infographic about the MVP in particular and not the lean startup method entirely is because the MVP addresses an early point of failure for many entrepreneurs.
    This is what you need to know and what you need to do, to get the product out there and get in contact with early adopters. All the rest of the strategy is good too, but this is step one.

    More details on all that will follow in my next post.

    Reply
Martin Jelsema - April 1, 2013

Shane: I suppose you know that Mark Thompson – UK’s Mark Thompson – has released a product called Fast Implementation System where MVP, is integrated. His (and Paul Forcey’s) system extends the concept to doing videos, sales pages etc. Not a recommendation as yet since I’ve just viewed the intro video yet.

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    Shane - April 3, 2013

    I’d seen a promotion for that, yes. I haven’t seen the product myself, but it looks like the right kind of approach. Speed of implementation really is critical, in many cases.

    Reply
Lewis LaLanne - April 3, 2013

Your infographic points directly at a priceless lesson that “experts” who despise the risk involved with marketing and advertising and prefer to hand it off to some agency or not do it at all and that lesson is . . .

Marketers NEVER Expect Their Customers To Buy

Marketers instead anticipate that people won’t buy.

Marketers are comfortable with the idea that most of what they test won’t convert. This leads them to being unattached to what works and what doesn’t work.

They create a product, write a book, write an ad, and if it works that’s awesome and if it doesn’t, that’s also awesome.

They trust that in the long run that by continuing to do right by their marketing, paying attention to guys like you Shane :), that they’re going to find what works enough times to keep the business thriving.

Marketers know everything is a test and if customers vote that they like their idea by way of coming out the pocket with money, then they judge that it worked.

It never is considered a win until the customer has voted with their money.

THIS IS HUGE.

And it’s the opposite of what most “experts” believe. Most “experts” are so paranoid about what their peers will think and afraid that no one will buy, that they sabotage themselves and they end up settling for a private failure believing this is better than a public one.

The only people you want to give you an opinion on your marketing or products are people who need it and can write a check for it.

The most accurate feedback you’ll ever get comes from people who’ve already given you money.

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    Paul - April 5, 2013

    I agree about the marketer’s mindset of expecting a campaign to fail more than it succeeds – great comment.

    Reply
    Shane - April 5, 2013

    Awesome comment, Lewis!

    I can’t really add much to that, except that I often use a variant of “everything is a test”: everything is practice.

    Not being attached to your “baby” idea and not being attached to a particular outcome is really powerful, I think. If that’s the attitude from the outset, you won’t even consider making the mistake of investing months and loads of money into an untested idea.

    Reply
David Moceri - April 4, 2013

Great stuff brother!

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nico - April 15, 2013

Great Post!!
I am kinda stuck with my product and this MVP seems like the way forward, I have a small list of people who have an interest in what i am trying to launch but the obstacles just keep on popping up! It can be quite disheartening at times but I want to keep pushing as I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now!

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    Shane - April 15, 2013

    I know what it’s like to keep bumping into obstacles. That’s part and parcel with being an entrepreneur.

    Keep in mind that with a mailing list of people who already want what you’re building, you are miles ahead of most people. Get to the point where you can ship something and good things will happen. :)

    Reply
    nico - April 15, 2013

    Thx…I needed that..i am getting stuck into it all this week! Want to have the MVP ready to roll by Friday!
    I was thinking of doing a poll on my Private FB group of what the main issues are for the people that my product will help, and offer a free test drive for one of them?

    Reply

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