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How To Use the Concept of Minimal Viable Product

Learn more on how to use the concept of minimal viable product.

In this video, you will learn more about minimal viable product. (M.V.P)

You can test whether your proposed solution will satisfy the needs of your customers or users in different ways.

What does M.V.P Mean?

The Lean Startup Method suggests using MVPs, Minimum Viable Products, for testing the needs of your customer. “Viable” does not mean that the products actually need to work – it means that the MVP should be elaborate enough to get customer/user responses on whether your solution would satisfy their needs, but not so elaborate that it costs significant time and effort to build it.

An MVP can do much for testing customer/user acceptance. Basically, it is a prototype, defined as “ … any representation of a (design) idea, regardless of the medium“ (Houde & Hill, 1997, p. 369). Prototypes can also:

  • Increase users’ sense of involvement: when users can interact and “play” with your prototype, it becomes their “baby” as well. They become emotionally attached, and feel taken serious. This will increase their propensity to buy later.
  • Create a shared understanding of the offer among the members of the entrepreneurial team. Visualizations are a powerful tool to share what is really meant by your offering. “A picture says more than a thousand words.
  • Help to better estimate time, costs, skills, and resources needed for the development of the final offering.

There are also downsides of prototypes:

  • You can become attached to the prototype, and not consider further approaches to satisfy customer needs.
  • One particular dimension of attachment is that you can fall prone to the “local search bias”: You may narrow down your search for solutions to those that are similar to the prototype.
  • You may promise too much and cannot realize everything that you prototype.


Buchenau, M., Fulton Suri, J., (2000). Experience Prototyping. Paper presented at the 3rd conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques. New York.

Houde, S., Hill, C., (1997). What do prototypes prototype? In: M. Helander, T. K. Landauer, P. Prabhu (Eds.). Handbook of Human-Computer Interaction. Elsevier, pp. 367-381.

Keinz, P., Prügl, R., (2010). A user community-based approach to leveraging technological competences: An exploratory case study of a technology start-up from MIT. Creativity and Innovation Management, 19, 269-289.

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