MVP basics: 6 steps for a successful Minimum Viable Product

MVP basics: 6 steps for a successful Minimum Viable Product

6 steps are all that takes to move your body from your bedroom to the kitchen or, better said, to create a successful prototype for your future business idea.

In the last article we talked about what’s an MVP and which are its main benefits and shapes (If you missed it click here). Now you will see how to create an MVP from zero to hero, as a real designer would do.

I decided to imagine how Steve Jobs (I’m sooooo original) and his friend Jony Ive, could have designed the MVP for the first iPhone. I took that Apple’s product as the example for every step in the MVP creation, just to make things more tangible.

Let’s begin, Ladies and Gentleman, it is my privilege to introduce you to the 6 steps for a successful MVP:

1.Define the real value

You have to think about which are the main functionalities and which customer’s needs they are able to fill or which problems are able to solve. We can consider this first step as the definition of the main Value Proposition.
iPhone’s point of view:
The main objective of an iPhone is letting consumers being able to install apps, both created by Apple or third party developers, whenever they would like to. (I know… in the first presentation, Steve Jobs presented the iPhone’s main value as the mix of three core functionalities: telephone, web surfing device and iPod. Still, I think the real value is in the possibility to install different Apps, but that was an idea too futuristic, that couldn’t have been fully understood by customers).

2.Define the main process to reach the value

In this second step you should determine which are the processes that the consumer has to perform in order to achieve the desired result. (a.k.a. being able to install an app)
iPhone’s point of view:

To install an app, a customer has to:

  • Turn on the iPhone→ Go to “app store” → Search for an app → Click on the install button

3.Create a list of main feature for every step of the process

For every step defined in the previous process, you have to create a list of sub-actions that define the process in a better way and that can enhance usability. Now you don’t have to pay attention to logical or chronological order.
iPhone’s point of view:

4.Define priorities for every feature

Order the features previously enlisted for theirs degree of importance. The higher the more essential they will be for the customer to complete the process.
iPhone’s point of view:

5.Create the MVP

On the first line you will now see the essential features. They represent your “walking skeleton” (term invented by Alistan Cockburn) and, without those, your product won’t be able to work at all. After this, you now need to divide the primary functions, the ones that will be embodied in the MVP, from the secondary ones that are considered unnecessary, at least for now. As you may see, the walking skeleton and the MVP are identical, but it’s only a coincidence.

iPhone’s point of view:


After having created your MVP and having launched it in the market (you can see how many successful companies did the launch on the market in my previous article), is it now the time to gain feedbacks and consumer’s thoughts. Those latest elements will give you enough information to validate your MVP or to change some features. Re-iterate what doesn’t work to create a real desirable and successful MVP, that will quickly become you real PRODUCT or SERVICE.




Understanding people means foresee the future.

Marco Carniel









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