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What is an actual MVP? Here is an example

What is an actual MVP? Here is an example

A video I made about Lean Startup and MVP (in French) —

MVP is mostly used to describe the first version of a product or a prototype of said product. This is actually a misuse of the term. MVP was initially meant to be the very minimal effort required to get some insights.

In most of the cases, a MVP does not require any code; often you don’t really need to build a product to have a MVP.

What is it like?

So what is it like? Once we said this, most people understandd the idea but still struggle to figure out what it’s like in real life.

The book The Lean Startup from Eric Ries provides nice examples like actual people playing the role of still-to-be-built robots. Yet most people tend to dismiss them, thinking they don’t apply to their case.

I would like to share a very tangible example that hopefully will help you understand what this idea is like in real life.

Please note that this example is real. This MVP is not from me, I stumbled on it and just thought I had to share.

It’s the story of a survey…

Someone just contacted me over Twitter. He introduces himself as a student doing some studies about web development freelancers in France. He hands me politely an URL with a survey.

… asking some quite specific things!

As somebody willing to help, but also full of curiosity, I open the link and am welcomed by Type Form.

The first questions are about my gender and age, then about my position, company size…

As a freelancer, I am also asked how I find my contracts.

And then, things are slowly shifting… I am asks many questions about testing practices in my daily life as a (supposedly) web developer. Am I doing manual testing, automated testing, what is important to me when selecting a tool, and so on…

Finally, I am asked whether I would be happy to get some help with all this testing stuff. I can provide my e-mail if I want to be contacted later with some contracts offers. They even promise they also hate spam!

Survey as an MVP

To be honest, I think the survey lacked in subtelty but it was totally an MVP. I mentionned it back to my contact on Twitter and he acknoledged it.

I am pretty sure we could make the survey less obvious about getting leads for a potential product offer, and get the insights we’re looking for.

A survery is a perfectly valid way to “build” an MVP.

And without any code.

Might be just a start

Of course, this would be only one step in the product exploration strategy. But a valuable step, leading to the next step. Costing almost zero.

What do you think?

Did you like this MVP example? Would you mind sharing other examples in the comments? Thanks! 💜

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