Building An Effective MVP

by our Head of Story, Leah Sarich


You’ve got an idea. You see the opportunity in the market. You need an MVP.


Seems simple. But to build an MVP that will ensure you hit the outcomes you’re looking for, it’s not just a matter of hiring a developer to build what you have in your head. Instead, it’s essential to do the critical, upfront strategy work before you build anything. But what does that mean?


First, founders should have a good idea of:

  • The business model

  • The market opportunity

  • Their customer - who are they, what do they need, where are they?


“We usually start with a visibility and assessment sprint to really listen to the founder,” explains Thin Air Labs’ Software Development Lead Rosemary Sanchez, “hear their vision, understand their customers, understand how they acquire, activate and retain those customers. And if a founder needs some help better understanding their customer or product priorities, we work with them to fill in those gaps through workshops or project sprints.”


Once a founder has a good understanding of who their customer is, then it’s important to test value propositions to validate product demand.


“There’s no point in building an MVP if you can’t find an audience to test it,” says Product Leader Ehab Dahdouli. “But some founders haven’t had a conversation with a customer yet. So we can help them find their audience and determine how best to test the MVP with them.”


“We surround the founder with an entire product and marketing team, working together closely, making good decisions quickly." --- Ehab Dahdouli, Product Leader

This effort allows the Development Team to then build the right MVP with the right features quickly that can be used for product traction experiments in the market.


“We surround the founder with an entire product and marketing team, working together closely, making good decisions quickly. It’s not that we’re coding fast, we’re prioritizing the right things. We don’t overbuild,” says Ehab.



So, what do we mean by an MVP? Let’s start with the M, for Minimum. Rosemary explains we build a thin slice first, an initial product that doesn’t have all the features, but it will work well enough to allow the team to get useful feedback from their customers. We’re always mindful of a founder’s time, so we work efficiently to build an MVP that will yield essential customer insight.


V, for Viable. The team builds a product that real customers can engage with and use, and keep coming back for. But this product, says Rosemary, is still often “just the seed of something that will grow even bigger.”


P, for Product. At this point the team has received feedback from customers, and will build a product that customers are engaging with, that’s functional enough to allow the venture to grow and learn even more about their customer base.


“When a founder has a real opportunity in their hands, we recognize that’s very precious." --- Rosemary Sanchez, Software Development Lead

That’s how we define an MVP. It’s the minimum viable product that will allow founders to connect with their customers, test their idea, their business model and their product-market fit. Now that’s an effective MVP.


Ultimately, says Rosemary, “When a founder has a real opportunity in their hands, we recognize that’s very precious. We understand the founder doesn’t want to make a wrong move and have that opportunity disappear. That is why it’s helpful to work with a team that has a lot of experience combining business and customer strategy with software development.”


Need help building your MVP? Contact our Product Traction team.


Let’s #BuildWhats Next together.




Photo 1 courtesy Rosemary Sanchez

Photo 2 by UX Indonesia on Unsplash