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MVP: Is there any term more vague in the world of website development? The Commerce Collective explores where the problems lie with Minimum Viable Product and how to ensure brands get a website they love

We’re going to make a bold statement: we’re done creating MVPs for our clients.

Yeah, we get that an MVP (or minimum viable product) helps businesses and their websites get going. But truth be told, it tends to be an ever-moving target.

At The Commerce Collective we want to replace MVPs with MLPs, or Minimum Loveable Products.

Why?

Because it’s a more accurate description of what we want to achieve for our clients. We want them to love their websites and marketing collateral. We don’t want them to feel like their websites are almost but not quite. That it could be better.

But let’s start at the beginning.

What is an MVP?

Technopedia defines MVP as follows: “A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users.”

There’s plenty of room for future developments; for new features and elements to be added to add down the line.

However, in order to achieve that, the MVP might not quite marry up with what the client has in mind for the end product.

As Nathan Lomax, Director at web development agency Quickfire Digital, explains: “Often the client has a vision in their mind of what the end website looks like. And while, on paper, they will agree that the MVP will be different from this, their gut reaction to seeing a finished MVP is that it’s not quite right.

“There may be tweaking and amends, which often leads to scope creep. And because we want the client to be happy with the site, we’ll make those changes.”

As such, sites may take longer to get signed off and launched than anticipated, while the client might not be 100% satisfied.

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How do you solve a problem like MVP?

After much discussion amongst TCC members, we’ve come up with the concept of an MLP to solve this often-frustrating situation.

We define MLP as follows:

“A Minimum Loveable Product is a site that meets the brief, that the client loves and is finished both on time and on budget.”

What that means is a much stronger briefing and production process.

“Site development works best as a collaborative process,” says James Davey, Director at Digital Blueprints. “We work with our clients to get under the skin of their objectives and their future ambitions, with various members of The Commerce Collective involved.

“If the client can speak to experts in web development and design, as well as digital marketing, they can understand what’s likely to be successful. We’ll then provide input on the best platform to build on and what the functionality should look like.”

Lee Scarfe, Director at design agency The Creative Armoury, continues: “We’re often working on front-end designs for websites. We’ll use tools to ensure the client is happy with how the site looks, and tools that enable developers to translate those designs into code.

“For instance, we use InVision to share the site designs with our clients, to gather feedback, comments and sign off. It really helps to manage expectations.

“We then use Zeplin to hand those designs over to the site developers to build the functionality of the site. We’ve found these tools have helped to connect delivery points, from developers and designers to clients. It allows us to meet expectations and create a site that works in real life.”

Nathan adds: “We totally agree. It results in much happier clients and the designs can be translated into code effectively.”

To discuss creating an MLP for your brand, just get in touch.

 

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