Mastering the Art of the MVP in 2023 and Beyond: Navigating Startup Success

October 28, 2023

Mastering the Art of the MVP, 2023 and Beyond

Controversial Opinions and Essential Insights for Startup Triumph 

“Out of Scope” → An all too familiar phrase for those embarking upon building a new Minimum Viable Product. The crucial decisions around MVP scope at once inspire fear and hope. 

The approach to this decision making has long been dictated by Lean Startup ethos. 

The Lean Startup approach has given us beautiful pillars to live by: 

  • Experimentation > elaborate planning
  • Customer feedback > intuition
  • Iterative design > full-design upfront

But, what if we are right to be nervous that product testing methods have shifted over the last decade?

What if we can wade through the controversy to embrace improvements to the MVP building process?

Below we share Yolk Labs POV on where many MVP builds fall short, and how we might learn to do better. 

Controversial Opinions About Building a Minimum Viable Product in 2023 


It’s easy to “validate” a bad idea

If you like your startup idea a lot… you are highly likely to introduce bias in your early validation efforts. True UX practitioners know how to identify and mitigate risk, focusing on target customers’ needs, wants, tasks independent of your potential product. While this was true before, the plethora of quick research tools and feedback methods online make new founders particularly susceptible to following their own bias.


Numbers are only half of the game

That being said, engaging with users is an essential step that cannot be skipped. Relying solely on metrics can be deceptive, leading to misjudgments. This might explain the high failure rate of startups, ranging from 90% to 95%. It's imperative to gain insights directly from your customers – not just asking them what they desire, but understanding how they interact with your product and the reasons behind their choices.


Poor design execution matters more than in 2011

In the realm of B2C products, customer expectations have evolved significantly. The standard for good design continues to rise, and it's crucial to meet these higher design standards. Even a promising concept can stumble if its design discourages potential customers from trying it out.


Your Competitive Edge is Your Long-term Strategy

A successful MVP should validate a fundamental necessity and establish your initial presence in the market. However, as soon as you achieve success, be prepared for a surge in competitors, especially in rapidly evolving fields like LLM and computer vision. Even as you concentrate on the MVP, it's crucial not to lose sight of the subsequent iterations that will fortify your competitive advantage. 

Takeaways for Startups Building an Minimum Viable Product Today 

Work with outside research resources  

Your startup can feel like your baby, especially in the early days. 

To ensure you have an objective view of your startup idea, work with an outside resource. Ideally, this should be someone outside of your friends and family network, who’s curious and willing to find the right answer, not just the one that may make you feel good. 

Collaborating with an unbiased and experienced advisor can provide you with invaluable insights and help you make more informed decisions for your venture's success.

Don’t skimp on design excellence 

Investing in design excellence is not a luxury but a strategic necessity for any modern business. Customers have come to expect products and services that not only fulfill their needs but do so with elegance and user-friendliness. 

Neglecting design can be a costly mistake, as it's often the first impression a customer has of your brand. A well-crafted and visually appealing design not only attracts potential customers but also enhances user satisfaction, encourages loyalty, and distinguishes your offerings in a crowded market. 

Can’t do it yourself? Think about the long-term and look to a pro for help. 

Let your metrics guide you

What will it take to get to the next stage of your startup? 

It’s easy to get starry-eyed early on and put dev resources on feature bloat. Instead, determine what metrics you need to hit to get your next raise or hire your first employee – how can you expend time and effort, dev and design resources, to build a product which will meet that goal? 

By staying focused on the essential metrics and prioritizing design excellence, you not only pave the way for sustainable growth but also ensure that every resource is directed toward achieving your strategic milestones.

Tell us what you think. What common mistakes do you see in the MVP building process? 

Share your thoughts and experience in the comments. 

To connect with us further and for upcoming events with Yolk Labs, follow us on LinkedIn or Instagram

Yolk Labs offers free consultation as part of our office hours: sign up here. Share your vision or project over a digital coffee and we’ll be happy to ask the hard questions. 

Ready to take the next step?