The era of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is over. The market is going with minimum loveable product, which is an iteration and a whole new approach at the same time. MVP stands for an application that holds minimum value for users and assumes a certain level of tolerated limitations and bugs. MLP, on the other hand, is created with initial offering that users can love from the start. It’s a dramatic shift in software development and product management.
We should all pay attention to trends and market changes but this is a whole new level of ball game. Rather than focusing on pushing the product into the wild to get user feedback, MLP creators aim to please from the start. How’s that going to change your business and why it should?
A minimum loveable product definition
The MLP is a counterpoint to the MVP. As the definition states, a Minimum Viable Product hold initial offering to be pushed out in the market. Many companies treat that as a vehicle to quickly launch a product. With basic functionalities, it survives but doesn’t do much beyond that. It delivers some basic value to users and allow them to use an application as intended.
The problem with an MVP
The main problem with a Minimum Viable Product is that it’s not created with users in mind. It’s for developers and production teams. Create something simple, with a minimum amount of resources needed to complete the process and move on to the data analysis. That’s it, period. It’s simple and fairly effective but it generates frustration among users.
The more mediocre product you deliver, the more disappointment it generates. It’s helpful to think about your early adopters as investors. If you make them angry with something that merely exists, not performs very well, they might pull their interest and go somewhere else.
We have touched on the subject in the past. In a series of articles, we have talked about data visualization, as well as way to create user’s trust in FinTech. It may be important to this industry but in fact it can be extrapolated to any given field. Users no longer want an application that solve their daily struggles. They have plenty of them in digital shops across many platforms. They want something that works.
MVP is sometimes used as an excuse to build and ship poor quality application or service. The initial assumption is that an MVP is just worst (because limited) version of the final product. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why a concept of a Minimum Loveable Product was born.
How can you define a Minimum Loveable Product?
The idea behind an initial offering is that a user doesn’t need all the bells and whistles associated with a final version of an application. He or she wants a product that delivers a solution, is easy to use and has a great user experience. That’s it. When you grasp that simple concept, everything else falls into place.
An MLP is simple. You don’t focus on functionalities people don’t care about at this point and because of the time pressure, broke half of them. You deliver essentials.
An MLP is loveable. You can’t build on functionalities alone. The design also creates an important value. It holds a hand for those of your user base that is not tech savvy and provide a simple navigation concept for those that are. At the same time, it’s clear and slick.
An MLP is complete. A product can be small but it needs to be functional. The existing features can’t leave users hungry for more. The most important ones are already included are work seamlessly. What’s very important – the product in an MLP version can exist without any further development.
An overview of differences between MVP and MLP
The concept behind a Minimum Loveable Product can be simple but as we will learn in a second, there are some nuances that needs to be further explored. Let’s dive into the main distinctions.
The MVP’s goal is to increment, while the MLP’s goal is to disrupt and deliver a complete experience right away.
With MVP, the market can’t be analyzed that precise because users simply treat the app as the necessary evil. It’s there, that’s it. With an MLP, consumers have fun with the product and try core functionalities they didn’t expected to need. Sometimes just because user experience is slick and they want to explore the app to see what will happen and what value the product will provide.
MVP’s users don’t know what they want, MLP’s users do. They are simply more demanding, offer disappointed with MVP’s treatment.
With MVP you have multiple product alternatives. With MLP you have few. That’s why it’s so easy to differentiate yourself on the market. Especially now, when the MLP idea is merely getting traction and options against your product are limited.
MVP prevents developers to make serious architecture decisions because technology is unpredictable. Also, the code itself is often not stable enough to support further growth. With MLP the process is simpler. You can make architecture decisions more easily and plan for the future. All because technology is sufficiently stable.
MVP forces developers to work with lean effort because the market success is questionable. With many product alternatives, you can’t be sure what’s going to happen and if customers will choose your application. If you work with MLP, the effort is focused, targeted and dedicated to market opportunity.
MVP generates pivots that are almost embedded in the term definition itself. MLP, on the other hand, sticks with the plan. The product team focuses on the roadmap, both technological and functional alike.
And the most important difference of them all – MVP gets your customers to tolerate your product, MLP generates love for the product.
How to get the MLP to work?
Sound simple enough? It’s not. To succeed, you need to invest the time upfront. Invastigate the real, not imaginary problems of your potential user base. Build your engineering team around the problem or hire scalable agile teams that can strengthen your coding firepower.
Mainly, adopt an MLP mindset. A Minimum Loveable Product definition is not based on a bug-free, stable or a beautiful product. It’s not even build on a more predictable product development. These are core principles for the idea but in the center lies the user. Define the needs. Talk with Product Manager and Business Analysts about feasibility studies and a possible product roadmap. The one that stretches beyond MLP. Talk with architects about possible changes in the technology and what it would mean for the product in the years ahead. Develop timetable and then and only then, start to work on a app.
An important part of the whole process is a Discovery Phase. It’s how we call “a first date” between a client and a software development team. In that stage, we learn about your business, your needs and decide on the best approach to help you build the app or make it from scratch. In the pursuit of lovability, we can’t forget about the “why”. Why do you want to create the app in the first place? Why would be anyone interested in your offering? Why would users actually give it a change and stick with it, not the competition?
A MVP is simple but MLP is for the long-run game. The difference is obvious. You can force the solution or plan ahead. The choice is very easy. Innovation lies at the core of FinTech. And as our previous interlocutor, Zion Schum says:
one person knows very little, but a group of people knows a great deal.
On some level, an idea behind an MLP is an embodiment of that.