Updated: Jan 19
During my internship, I came across two product development approaches while designing a product for my employer, one is MVP (minimum viable product) and another SLC (simple lovable, and complete). We used SLC instead of MVP for product development because that was the best alternative available.
Do you know SLC and MVP?
Let’s understand both the terms, then we can decide whether SLC (simple lovable, and complete) can be an alternative for MVP (minimum viable product) or not
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
In 2011, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries amended the development funnel of startups by introducing several new concepts. One of them was the minimum viable product or MVP. The Purpose of the Minimum Viable Product is to get user feedback before developing the final product. This feedback helps you steer clear of failure.
In today’s IT industry, developing the Minimum Viable Product is common practice. It’s useful in the outline of a project or startup. If you’re planning to launch your own product, read on.
Product Plan website defines a minimum viable product as
A minimum viable product, or MVP, is a product with relevant attributes to attract early adopter buyers and validate a product concept early in the development cycle of the product. The MVP will help the product team gain customer reviews as soon as possible to iterate and develop the product in industries such as apps.
The MVP plays a central role in the software development approach since the agile approach is focused on both validating and iterating products based on user feedback.
What is the Minimum Viable Product's objective?
A business could want to create a minimum viable product and release it because its product team wants to:
Release a product as soon as possible to the market
Test Project with real users before committing a large budget to the product’s full development
Learn what resonates with the target market of the business and what doesn't
What is the Key Characteristics of a Minimum Viable Product?
An MVP will also help reduce the time and money that you would otherwise devote to creating a product that won't work by allowing a business to test a concept for a product without having to create the whole product.
It has enough value that consumers are able to use it or initially purchase it.
It shows enough potential advantages to retain early adopters.
To direct future growth, it offers a feedback loop.
As input from customers may vary greatly from the original project, the product may even change radically or even be abandoned. However, on a product that no one really wants, needs, or likes, the developing teams would not waste any resources (efforts, time, money, and advertising).
What are Examples of the Minimum Viable Product?
The founders of Airbnb used their own apartment to validate their concept of building a market providing short-term, peer-to-peer rental housing online without any money to establish a business. They created a minimalist website, published pictures and other information about their house, and almost immediately found some paying visitors.
The Foursquare location-based social network began as just a one-feature MVP, offering just check-ins and rewards for gamification. The foursquare development team started incorporating recommendations, city guides, and other features before they had validated the concept with an enthusiastic and growing user base.
Simple, Lovable and Complete (SLC)
The problem is that customers don’t want to use MVPs (Minimum viable product). Startups are encouraged to launch early enough so that the blue ocean can be capitalized faster than a competitor in another pocket of the country. But no customer wants to use an unfinished product or a beta version that embarrasses the creators. It is simply an Unfinished Business.
Customers want the best products at the first Point of contact. MVPs are too minimal and almost never add any viability or value. Customers find it to address the pain point but not a snugly fit for their over-all need. This makes the product less of a solution and more of an irritable add on to the situation with huge investment. It might be great for a first-time sale, but due to its inconvenient nature for customers, almost none buys back and the product becomes obsolete rapidly. What’s inconvenient for customers is bad for the company.
Fortunately, there’s a better way to conceptualize and validate new products. In order for the product to be small and deliver speedily, it has to be simple. Customers accept simple products every day.
For example, it was okay that the early edition of Google Docs had only 3% of the functionality of Microsoft Word because Docs did a great job at functionality for which it has designed i.e. simplicity and real-time collaboration. Google Docs was simple, but also complete. This is clearly different from the classic MVP, which by definition isn’t complete.
Developing a simple product is good but providing an incomplete product is embarrassing sometimes. It is not contrary to products to be simple as well as complete. Examples include the Starting versions of WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter and Slack. Some of those later evolved with more functionality (Snapchat, Slack), whereas some kept it simple (Twitter, WhatsApp). Even Virgin Air got going with just a single route — small, but complete.
We all now see the evolved versions and stay amazed at each news.
What do you think? Can SLC be an alternative for MVP? Comment below.
ANANT KAJALE PATIL MBA (Marketing and Business Analytics) Mobile: +91 8855049104 Email: Pc.firstname.lastname@example.org
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Message from the Editor:
We thank Anant for expressing his views about how a minimum viable product should be further enhanced to develop a simple, lovable & complete product first. He adds that start-ups must aim at providing simple solutions first and chuck all the complications of diversification as it might distract their core attention and the product might be canned at the prototyping stage itself due to lack of customer interest and limited usability. He beautifully depicts this with his own learning derived from his experience and then validates his understanding with some of the most renowned examples.
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