Back in 2013, I was working on my bachelor thesis at the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) in Lugano. Later, that project would become my first start-up incubated at Centro Promozione Start-up – USI SUPSI. But at that time, I wasn’t too familiar with the words “lean” and “agile” – when referring to building a start-up. Although we were using Scrum (an Agile methodology) in our team, we were more focused on developing and improving our code base and product than on testing and validating our idea to make sure someone would really be interested in it.Luckily, this time-consuming approach has changed. Concepts like “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) and “Minimum Lovable Product” (MLP) are widely popular today. But I don’t regret a single line of code I wrote at the beginning of my career. If anything, I’m grateful for what I was able to achieve, thanks to all that hard work. However, as soon as I learned the advantages of testing at an early stage, I decided to help other professionals benefit from this new, time and money-saving methodology. This is why I created Appybros.
MVP stands for “Minimum Viable Product”. Eric Ryes, the entrepreneur who first introduced the concept of MVP, defined it as a way to gain insight on the most important features of a product before building it. To create an MVP is the equivalent of building a prototype and implementing users’ feedback at a very early stage, before putting all your time and effort into the development of the final product.
MLP is short for “Minimum Lovable Product”. It is a more specific and highly focused exercise, intended to make a small number of users passionate about the product. The purpose of an MLP is to start a new project by focusing exclusively on its most extraordinary feature – the one that has the best chance to seduce potential users and make them love it.
You only have three weeks to deliver a minimum lovable product? Concentrate exclusively on what you can complete in three weeks – nothing more. Be realistic. If you want to find out whether your idea will bring any value to the client, you need to make sure your prototype is developed just to the point where it can be understood by your target market.
Your final product will have more than one feature. Most likely, it will have one main feature and several lesser features to make sure it will fully satisfy its potential users. However, the aim of an MLP is to present something simple but appealing, rather than having more exhaustive features, or being too minimalistic – and therefore less “lovable”.
Design is important, but the best design (experience design and visual design) is game-changing. The purpose of an MLP is to generate love, and no matter what the target (potential users, hierarchy, future investors…) a beautiful and intuitive design will have a greater impact when you present your MLP.
Not only can an MVP and an MLP save you time, effort and money. They can also help you seduce your target and understand as soon as possible if your idea will bring any value at all to the client. Need a minimum lovable product? Looking for advice on how to build one? Just drop us a line today at [email protected]. We can’t wait to help you!