Sometimes, though, a Minimal Viable Product turns into a Mediocre Value Proposition. A company might introduce a product in the marketplace. A few customers find it interesting (you can always find a few customers). Results fall short of expectations, but the company says, “Well, it’s just a minimal viable product for learning.” The company makes a few tweaks, scales up spending . . . and falls flat on its face.
How do you make sure your minimal viable product isn’t hiding a mediocre value proposition?
1. Ensure you have the right expertise on your team. Depending on your industry, that might require excellence in design, programming, chemistry, sales, or dozens of other areas. Raw potential can develop into world-class talent, but the portraits of most successful startups feature some gray-haired people who have “been there and done that.”
2. Think beyond the product to the full offering and business model. Competitive advantage comes from innovative ways of creating, capturing, and delivering value. Success requires fine-tuning more than features and functions.
3. Act on the learning. One of the biggest warning signs for a new venture is a significant gap in product releases. An even bigger warning sign is when there isn’t any plan to introduce an upgraded offering. Minimal viability descends quickly into mediocrity if there isn’t an actionable plan to act on the learning.
Read Scott’s whole blog post on the dangers of the MVP here.