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What is an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?

By Alex Walker

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A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to have Will Dayble in the office to take us through his ideas on app design and MVPs (Minimum Viable Products). Will is infamous for his User is Drunk video.

Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing, and when you’ve got a great core idea, it’s very tempting to over-spec your first version. You want this thing to totally rock, right?!?

The problem with that is, complicated things can fail in many different ways. If you’ve ever watched one of those harrowing ‘air crash investigation’ TV shows, you’ll have a good sense for how many seemingly insignificant things can potentially go wrong with a modern airplane.

The Wright Brothers' MVP 1

The Wright brothers working on their MVP.
Orville: Ok, ok, fine… Can we at least have cupholders?!

The Wright brothers first planes were perfect examples of building an MVP. It’s almost certain they would not have made their famous first flight, had they insisted on building folding tray-tables and a refreshment trolley into their earliest flyers. Thankfully they focussed on the most basic functionality for their MVP and the rest is aviation history.

So, follow Will as he shows the essential process for paring your project down to its barest of bones.

Enjoy.

Alex has been doing cruel and unusual things to CSS since 2001. He is the lead front-end design and dev for SitePoint and one-time SitePoint's Design and UX editor with over 150+ newsletter written. Now Alex is involved in the planning, development, production, and marketing of a huge range of printed and online products and references. He has designed over 40+ of SitePoint's book covers.

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