Before talking about anything else, here’s a question for you. What do you know of MVP? Because if you do not know what an MVP is, then how will you know what is NOT an MVP?!
Well, you must be knowing how for launching a product in the market, a startup needs to go through many phases of experiments. Right from the ideation of a product to its creation up till its release in the market, it is only the several failures and constant improvements that helps build a successful product.
Your definition for an MVP lies in one of such phases of product creation.
What is an MVP?
An MVP or a Minimum Viable Product is a fully functioning version of a product with just enough features to be used by early customers. These customers are in a position to provide feedback for future development and improvement of the product. Companies release MVPs publicly to receive honest market feedback and to pivot in the right direction.
Now the problem that arises here is that people often confuse an MVP with a Prototype, which are quite similar, but definitely different.
What is it we hear? You too have a hard time differentiating the two of them? Don’t worry! This is why we’re here to help.
Now that we’ve seen the basic definition of MVP, let’s hop on and see what the definition of Prototype has to say.
What is a Prototype?
A prototype is an initial sample, model, or release of a product that is built to test a concept or process. Typically, the intention of companies in using prototypes is to internally explain a larger concept.
A Prototype is like the first draft of your idea! It can be as simple and as roughly made as you want it to.
To make the concepts clearer, let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about these two best friends.
“A minimum viable product is a version of a product with just enough features to be usable by early customers who can then provide feedback for future product development. A focus on releasing an MVP means that developers potentially avoid lengthy and unnecessary work.” - Wikipedia
“A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process. It is a term used in a variety of contexts, including semantics, design, electronics, and software programming. A prototype is generally used to evaluate a new design to enhance precision by system analysts and users.” - Wikipedia
An interesting point~
The most significant way of differentiating between a Prototype and an MVP is the stage in which it is made. Prototype comes before, MVP comes after.
You might design and create a prototype to visualize your idea and to put it forth to your teammates or colleagues. The product is unproven at this moment. You probably have no funding at this point and you don’t fully understand the risks involved. For these situations, prototypes are ideal.
At a later stage, when you understand the product more, have gotten some funding from the investors, and by mitigating any risks, that the MVP be created.
The difference is shown with the help of a table~
The table below shows the main points of difference between a Prototype and an MVP.
Everything is better comprehensible with the help of examples. So here, I present examples of a company that has used Prototype, and a company that used MVP.
Prototype: Apple Phone
Apple rocked the Prototype example by showing that it was ready to take the initiative in the touchscreen technology. One of the reasons why Apple stood out from its competitors was the design of its products.
Initially, Facebook was only available in universities as it was Mark Zuckerberg’s intention to connect everyone on campus. But after a year of testing with segmented audiences, Facebook was opened up for everyone.
The Final Word
We hope that this article has been able to fulfil its purpose and has been successful in presenting to you the difference between these two often misused words. However, if you still find some remnants of confusion lingering in your head, make sure to pass by our other blogs. We’ve written quite a lot of articles on the MVP topic.