The minimum viable product, or MVP for short, is an important concept to grasp when creating a gaming YouTube channel, a gaming website, or any other product.
In this article, I’ll explain what an MVP is and why it’s so important.
Let’s get to it…
What is an MVP?
A minimum viable product is a product that has the least number of features possible but can be still sold in your intended market.
An MVP is often considered to be a bare-bones product with hardly any extraneous features. The MVP has just enough features to be deployable into the marketplace and to test the product.
The idea of the MVP is simple: create the core feature of your product as quickly as possible then release it to your target audience to test the product’s effectiveness and demand, gather feedback, and change the product and add new features in accordance with that feedback.
Let’s take a look at why that is so important to your gaming channel and blog.
Why is the MVP so important?
The MPV is vital to your gaming business for a number of reasons:
Creating a new product, whether it be something as small as a 500-word article, or as big as an AAA game takes a lot of time and money. And with that comes a lot of risk in the form of creating a product that doesn’t fit the market as intended, or wasting time/money on features that turned out to be undesirable.
Fortunately, the MVP can help avoid some of this risk by allowing you to create a much smaller version of the product, testing its effectiveness then deciding whether the product is worth moving forward with.
MVP aids in the learning of new skills
Making a Hollywood-level video, especially if you haven’t made a single video before, can be a daunting task.
You can very easily get caught up in the technicalities of lighting, or the details when editing.
The idea of the MVP is that you do the bare minimum required to get your product, in the case of a gaming YouTube video, out the door into the hands of your target market where it can start adding value to their lives.
You can then, after each video, choose one way to improve your videos and implement that improvement in your next video.
Promotes an iterative customer centric process
The MPV promotes an iterative customer-centric process. What do I mean by this?
Well, imagine you wanted to make a course. You might have a list of ten features that you’d like to add to the course but only one of the features is the course’s core feature: the videos that’ll teach the new skill. The other features are extras, such as bonus videos, PDF handouts, and so on.
Now, in traditional product development, you would create all 10 features of your course, say over a year, then launch your product.
However, things have now changed. In product development, we now choose a more iterative process. We create the MVP.
In the example of a course, we may just create the one core feature out of the 10 listed features. Then we’d launch the course.
The reason for this is simple: by launching the course with only one feature we get a lot of benefits. These include:
- You get feedback much earlier than if we launched all 10 features. You can then add early feedback into the product. You may find that after you’ve created the first core feature, feedback shows that 5 of the original 10 features are not needed by your target market. So you’ve saved on resources and time developing features that were not needed.
- You can quickly change direction with your products. Feedback may show you that a feature is desired by your target market that you never thought about. So you can swap the development of your product around to incorporate that feature sooner.
- You give value to your audience quicker. By releasing an MVP to your target audience, you are giving that target audience value much earlier than you would with a feature complete product.
- You get value sooner. Other than invaluable feedback on the MVP, you can charge money for the product. It might be less money than the feature complete product, but the fact that you have cash flowing into the business months even years earlier is massive for early startups.
- Create a customer centric business. By launching your MVP earlier and listening to your customer’s feedback, you are creating a customer centric product and following a customer centric business model.
Data driven decisions
We’ve talked about how an MVP allows you to get feedback on a product much earlier than a traditional product cycle. Well, that feedback is firsthand data of what your customers want or don’t want, from your product.
This Data is vital for the product’s progression as it allows for data-driven decision making. A key component of a successful online gaming business such as a youtube channel or a blog.
You avoid the pitfall of perfection
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to any gaming business is the need for perfection. Society has raised us on a diet of perfection. Perfect grades, perfect hair, perfect makeup and perfect body.
The reality is far different. Perfection kills productivity. Nothing you ever do will ever be 100% perfect.
You tend to find that as you come closer to perfection, as you inch your way up the quality ladder, the amount of effort, time and money it takes to rise up by just a single percent massively increases.
For example, it may cost you $10,000 to take a product from 50% quality to 60% quality. But it might take $100,000 to take the same product from 80% quality to 85% quality. For every unit of effort put into a product, you get diminishing returns.
The MVP forces you to avoid perfection, and to limit diminishing returns by making a product that falls in the 60% zone of quality. That way you can get the best bang for your buck feature wise, test your product, and then, as you add features and spend more and more money, you are adding only features that your customers really desire.
Now you know about the MVP it’s time to put it into action.
When you create your next video or article, write down all the features you want to include.
Next, order them in their order of what you think is important.
Now here comes the hard part: Remove the bottom 50% of the sections or ideas you want to include in your video or article.
So if you’ve listed 10 ideas you’d like to include in your next video, cut out the lower 5.
This may seem drastic, but it will get you in the mindset of cutting down products, even small ones like videos, down to the core features that create the most value in the video.
In fact, I bet if you list 10 features and cut out the bottom 5, the video or article will still offer 80% of the true value you originally set out to include. And you can always add those other features later.
The minimum viable product is a vital part of modern business that you’ll need to master to succeed. To that end I’ve included a few resources for you to further your understanding.
Reading these books will teach you more about the idea of the MVP, and how to incorporate the MVP into your game business than 99.9% of people in the world. So get reading!
The Lean Startup – Book – The bible of MVP enthusiasts. The book explores building entire businesses around the idea of the MVP, but taking the idea to the next logical level. Building an MVB – Minimum Viable Business. A must-read.
Testing Business Ideas: A Field Guide for Rapid Experimentation – Book – A wonderful book written by the people over at Strategizer.com. Testing Business Ideas is all about the MVP and how to build a business model around it.
The Lean Product Playbook – One of my favorite MVP books, The Lean Product Playbook acts as a process in a workbook that you can work through at your own speed to incorporate the MVP into your business and life.
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