Business Execution: Build an MVP (Minimal Viable Product)

By Patrick Thean

dateThu, Jul 12, 2012 @ 06:40 AM

Avidxchange is a software company working hard to provide the best ePayment (electronic payment) brainstorm-ideas-for-annual-planningservice to mid market companies.  Their push to get their AvidPay product out and rolling has provided the company with tremendous focus and alignment.   Their AvidPay product went out early and turned on the revenue faucet 6 months ahead of plan.

At their last quarterly planning session, they noted how successful and emotionally uplifting the AvidPay project has been, and asked themselves what they could learn from this experience to apply to their next product development effort. This is the power of having a rhythm of execution planning.  Taking learnings and bright spots, working on your business, and turning your flywheel one click at a time.  One of the key lessons is to focus on fewer and more impactful features, get the product out and then learn and make further improvements based on experience in the field.

The MVP:  Minimal Viable Product
Most companies shove too much into their products, thinking they need to have more features and functions than their competitors.  While this seems to make sense, what you end up with using this approach is a bloated and more complicated product.  You might have more features and power in your product, but it will come with the price of complexity and difficulty to use.  It will also delay your shipping of your product, and you might lose advantages of getting your product to market faster.  Unfortunately us humans are rather simple animals, desiring simple tools.  Instead of "more better" try "less is more" and come up with the minimal number of features that will allow your product to ship and give your customers value.

Focusing to deliver an MVP is very strong business execution.  Here is a checklist to make sure that your MVP will hit the market fast and give you speed to market advantages:
  • Tip of the spear:  What one feature will distinguish your solution from your competition?  Make your customers go "Wow!"?  Focus on this single feature as you build your product.
  • Less is more:  What are the minimal features needed to make your product viable?  Give customers enough value that they will buy and look forward to an even stronger next version?
  • Reduce, reduce, reduce:  What other features can we cut out for now?  Reducing features will let customers focus even more on the few distinguishing functions.  Being different is much better than being better
  • RedYellowGreen:  How will you measure success when the product comes out?  Red Yellow Green your success criteria!
  • Critical Milestones:  What are your critical milestones to deliver this product?  Who is going to do what and by when?  Break it down into milestones, and get your team members accountable.  This allows you to solve problems faster and make the necessary adjustments to achieve your RedYellowGreen success criteria.

Have you had this same type of successful and uplifting project experience?  I would love to hear about it.



Patrick Thean


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images