A Minimum Viable Product, commonly known as an MVP, is the initial and most basic iteration of a product created to test the solution against its target audience. A Minimal Viable Test, or MVT, is the test of a critical hypothesis defined by a startup to answer a key question about a product.
The assumption is that the MVP will possess a minimum feature set that can address customer pain points and provide feedback to the engineering team early in the development process. More recently, the process of building an MVP for validation has come under question as founders claim there are typically too many unanswered questions regarding what users want at the time of MVP release. This criticism and pushback have given way to an alternative ideology for hypothesis testing, the MVT, which focuses on creating isolated tests to address assumptions while avoiding the time and costs associated with product development.
An MVT is the test of a critical hypothesis defined by startups to answer a key question about their product. An excellent example of an MVT is the desirability experiment conducted by the founders of Airbnb in which they invited attendees of a local conference to stay with them, offering air mattresses, breakfast and wifi to see if their idea had merit. The success of this test provided the team with enough evidence and validation to move forward with their idea, leading to the creation of one of the most innovative technology companies in the world. The MVT framework diminishes the need for urgent development and technical debt, instead opting for a narrowly focused strategy addressing one critical assumption at a time.
“In an MVP, you try to simulate the entire car. For example, in an MVT, you are testing whether the drivetrain is more powerful with an electric engine or a gas one” – Gagan Bayani, Udemy.
Gagan Bayani, Co-founder of Udemy and major proponent of MVT, has broken down the process into three steps:
The initial step of the process is to determine what value you bring to users and why they would want to use your product. Next, you must brainstorm and list your primary risks and what could prevent you from succeeding. The final step in the process is to test and see if your idea works. To do this, isolate your focus on the primary function of the business and determine if the genesis of the idea is attractive to users. This can be the basis of your MVT(s).
The development of an MVP is inevitable to get your product out in the market, but following the MVT framework and testing the core ideas of your business can help the product start on the right foot and avoid significant time and resource wastage.