CommonLounge Archive

Types of MVPs: Part 2

December 30, 2017

The previous lesson focused on MVP strategies that advertised non-existent products.

The MVP types in this lesson feature a somewhat-functional product. These techniques require more investment, but are more professional and create better test conditions for your users.

Concierge MVPs

At a luxury hotel, the concierge is there to answer your every request, personally guiding you through your travel experience.

A Concierge MVP is very similar. Concierge MVPs experiments focus on providing a manual experience of the product without actually building it.

For example, RentTheRunway started at college campuses with an in-person concierge and a manual dress-renting service before building their online product.

The key is to start with a small group of users who are willing to go through the experience, then manually help them to achieve their goals.

You’ll quickly see if your product is helpful and/or necessary to the user.

Pros of Concierge MVPs:

  • No need to build a product
  • Customers understand that the product isn’t ready yet
  • No fake buttons
  • Can run it secretly
  • Can see customer’s reactions up close

Cons of Concierge MVPs:

  • Takes time and effort
  • You’ll want to do it yourself
  • It’s not quick and doesn’t scale

Think about the value of your time. If you can’t afford the time, you might want to choose another type of MVP. This technique doesn’t scale well and doesn’t provide scores of data. However, it’s great for smaller companies.

Piecemeal MVPs

Piecemeal MVPs string together pre-existing softwares to create an imitation of the product or idea.

Groupon originally created their site with Wordpress and used Apple Mail and Apple Scripts to generate coupons.

To create a Piecemeal MVP, write out all of the features your product should have, then search for tools that could be a stand-in for each feature.

Pros of Piecemeal MVPs:

  • Great when your product has a combination of common functions

Cons of Piecemeal MVPs:

  • Doesn’t work for complicated functionality

If you’d like to make a Piecemeal MVP, you can use tools like Zapier and IFTTT to connect softwares and apps. If you’re going for a professional look, choose softwares that allow you to insert your branding or integrate the app into your product.

The Wizard of Oz MVP

This epicly-named MVP experiment looks like a fully-working project, but in reality has someone pulling the strings behind the curtain.

You can do this with websites or online services—the design looks finished, but it doesn’t actually have functionality yet. Someone still has to manually complete the experience. did this. They didn’t stock any shoes for their original website, but bought them from a nearby store every time they got a purchase.

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