I’ll be giving a talk at Ryerson for a product management prep course, covering topics like Minimum Viable Products and Defining a Value Proposition. This post is an outline of the narrative of the first talk about MVPs.

Building anything is an investment - of time and capital. Investments are probabilistic - which means there is risk involved and a chance that things will fail. Startups in particular have a high failure rate - and over 40% fail because they built something no one cared about - there was no market need. Humans hate risk - it’s scary, but most importantly - failure sucks.

This is where MVPs come in. Minimum viable products are a framework for derisking investments. MVP’s came from the Lean Startup Movement created by Eric Ries as a framework for launching new startups.

“The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” — Eric Ries

An MVP is a way to test the water - a small investment that helps us justify the big investment. It’s a test, not necessarily the whole thing.

Most importantly an MVP has to be viable and actually solve the original problem in some way. And that product can be anything - a landing page with a promise, a service provided, or something else.

MVP’s are about derisking, not eliminating all risk. Minimum viable products exist to help you test a hypothesis but you won’t know all the details until you actually launch. MVP’s can be applied to existing products too, not just new products. There are some examples of successful MVP’s.

Software is getting easier to create. Risk to start is getting lower and it’s easier than ever to create a fully functional MVP especially with new tools and the rise of the No Code Movement.

Some of the most successful companies in technology started as MVPs - I’m looking forward to seeing what these students create!