MVP and EVP: Different product development approaches for startups

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To develop an idea from scratch and to take it to the final product stage is not an easy task. It requires you to be smart about your decisions to reach your final destination. You can point at hundred of things that should be done right or wrong way, but in this blog, we are only going to deal with prototyping and the pitfalls related to it. 

You probably don’t want me to start ranting about how it is going to be so tricky to take a great idea to a great product.

It is ubiquitous to get in the trap of overlooking the flaws of your idea. It becomes even more pronounced when people around you also sound convinced by your idea and side with you to achieve your goals. The most critical focus area is to figure out whether your product can solve a real-world problem. A problem that people are willing to pay for. Not to mention your solution should have the potential to scale up.

You won’t find this out until you test it out on a group of potential customers. That’s why most of the organizations are going for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) version of the product. It allows them to test and gather feedback about their future finished product and whether it will become a lucrative business proposition for them in the future. The organization may end up releasing multiple versions of MVP in the market to refine their product. It helps them realize whether the product will work for their business or not. 

However, there is a way to increase the probability of achieving success. Build an Exceptional Viable Product (EVP) instead of an MVP. Of course, EVP is a much riskier approach than MVP. Let’s look at these approaches in more detail.

What MVP doesn’t stand for 

The main reason to launch an MVP in the market is to get some primary level feedback about your idea, which is quite important. If the feedback is positive, you keep following the course of action, and if the feedback is not favorable, you get back to your drawing board and find a solution to the problem.

Introducing an MVP in the market is akin to A/B testing. If there’s nothing to prove in the first place, you won’t get a direction to work upon. Your MVP is not an unfinished product, and if you launch an unfinished product in the market, you will be left clueless. You have to be clear that minimum by no means stands for minimum effort or minimum quality. 

What’s an MVP?

While you are working towards building a robust MVP, you should always be aware that you are doing all this to get valuable feedback from your potential customers. You don’t want to overachieve or underachieve. Come up with an MVP that has the right balance. 

The whole idea of creating an MVP is to create a product that serves its purpose of solving customer’s business problems to the maximum extent and is ready for sale but was created by a minimal amount of investment since you don’t want to risk it all. It also gives you the scope to evolve as you go and deploy product development according to the agile philosophy. After all, creating a product is a costly proposition, and you also don’t want to build one that has no takers. 

But if you manage to offer the right set of features in your MVP you might attract early adopters who will fall in love with your product and will help you in taking your product development to the next level. They will even do word of mouth marketing of your product for free!

What’s an EVP?

An MVP is made as safe as possible for testing; on the other hand, you must approach creating an EVP in a completely different way. Launching an EVP is like releasing an almost complete product.

Taking the EVP approach also means you will have to work quite extensively when compared with an MVP. It will require you to invest heavily in polishing, improving, optimizing, and developing at a much higher level. The reason being you can end up with an impressive EVP that goes viral, and your end customers love it. You will build a solid foundation on which a more refined product can be launched. 

The risk is high, but what if you create an MVP which receives a mixed response or worse, your customers choose to be neutral instead of giving a positive/negative feedback at all.

EVP Vs MVP: Fundamental Difference

Now let us take a look at the fundamental difference between MVP and EVP. MVP is primarily targeted towards testing and getting market intelligence. It is exposed to only a small group of prospects but can be shared with a larger audience. The idea is to get valuable insights into the product with minimal efforts and investment. The aim is to test the product in different ways so that the organization eventually gets a good product in their hands. We are talking about achieving short term goals over here. 

The concept of EVP, on the other hand, is all about long term goals and vision. It proposes to take an almost finished product to a closed community of developers and select few customers—not in the market. The organizations will only take it to the market if they get favorable feedback. Since it is a risky proposition, you ensure that your EVP makes a positive impact upon its launch. Organizations often undertake the EVP approach because they are confident in the market through their own experience or some kind of market survey they might have done before committing for EVP. They also might have garnered sponsorship from an existing client who is willing to share the economic burden of coming up with such a product.

Conclusion

Both MVP and EVP strategies are legitimate in their ways and shouldn’t be overlooked at the expense of the other. The MVP approach is appropriate for the organizations which can’t take the risk of spending thousands of dollars in creating a work in progress product for the market. The most significant advantage in favor of MVP is that you can identify tasks, execute them in a given set time period, test, and iterate. By doing so, you will eventually reach a stage when you gain the confidence to launch a full-fledged product in the market. 

On the flipside, MVP often results in a sloppy, mediocre product that misses the very core idea of the product. This is where the concept of EVP can save the day. It demands a better product and doesn’t leave any scope of significant improvement at a later stage. While working on an EVP model, one should always keep in mind the central ideas that gave rise to the product in the first place e.g., what problem it will solve? Is it required? Is it scalable? and so on.

Dinesh Kumar

Dinesh Kumar

Dinesh is a techno-futurist writer and likes to write about technological advancements and current trends in Product Development, Marketing Technology, and Content Distribution Strategy that can help organizations grow their business and shape their strategy for future challenges.

Dinesh Kumar