Solution Development and MVP Testing

Harvard Business School strongly believes in the Double Diamond design process developed by the British Design Council. It emphasizes the need for divergent and convergent thinking in defining the problem and determining the solution. This is consistent with the Lean Startup methodology of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development and testing, where problems and solutions are tested continuously on a particular target audience.

Fail fast is a prime tenet in Lean Startup methodology, and at its core, is very straight-forward. To help you succeed, and when resources are limited, learn to quickly rule out certain problems and solutions. This allows you to arrive at the core of the challenge faster. Please note that this is not always feasible when designing hardware, physical prototypes, or where commercializing breakthrough science is being tested — those ventures have unique pathways and constraints.

Double Diamond Design Model

One of the most significant challenges that entrepreneurs have is that they believe, incorrectly so, that they must hire engineers or coders to build a fully functioning product to test how or if the customer will use their solution. MVP development is designed to test certain assumptions regarding the solution without using resources and coding.

Using tools such as landing pages, wireframes, videos, 3D prototypes, and even Google Docs or Excel spreadsheets will allow you to test your assumptions before making a major technology investment. In other words, you will do things (MVP design and tests) that you know will not scale effectively to answer specific questions. You use those learnings when you decide to commit resources to scalably designed solutions.

Appinventiv Low to High Fidelity MVP Tests Four Quadrant Graph
Over time, an entrepreneur moves from low fidelity testing (small resource requirements and weaker evidence) to higher fidelity prototype testing (greater resource requirement and stronger evidence). Image Courtesy of Appinventiv, Shrikant Srivastava

MVP tests take different forms and vary in their reliability, which is simply a part of the process. In early tests, you do not want to waste valuable resources (time, money, and human capital). An iterative process builds on what you have learned from previous tests. As you learn more about your true customer, the nuances of the problem or need, and the product you need to build that creates value, you build a greater level of confidence in your decisions to invest resources because you have validated your assumptions along your journey.

Types of MVP

Tools & Instructions

We have collected some of our startup’s favorite tools for when they were launching their company and exploring ideas.