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MVP and the Beach Head Strategy

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

Continuing from last week, today we will look at the role of the Minimum Viable Product in executing the beach head strategy. .

If you haven't seen last week's post, do watch/ read it before continuing. Because in today's post, we'll be building on the examples that we introduced last week.


If you would rather read than watch, a lightly edited transcript is below the video.




Strategic Context


Let's think of the first set of allied soldiers who were trying to land in Normandy on D-Day as part of World War II. These troops probably set off on a ship from the south coast of England. Closer to the Normandy coast they would have transferred to amphibian vessels and made a landing in Normandy. When they transferred to these amphibian vessels, chances are they took with them only what was absolutely essential in terms of food, supplies and equipment to be able to defeat the German presence there.


Once the German troops in Normandy were defeated more Allied troops and engineers would have landed who would have gone on to build better landing facilities in the shape of mulberry harbours, which are temporary harbours which could be set up very quickly. These mulberry harbours would have allowed ships to land directly in Normandy, making it easier to land more troops and equipment directly in Normandy.

Role of MVP


So how does all of this relate to building and launching products in markets? If you're launching a new product in a new market, or an existing product in a new market, or even releasing a new feature in a market, the biggest risk you face is demand risk. That is, customers don't think the problem that you are solving is valuable enough that they use your features or pay for it. So when you're launching something new you want to start with the bare minimum that is required to be able to launch in your selected beach head market and validate that the customers actually value your solution.


And this is your Minimum Viable Product. The Allies relied on aerial photographs and information from spy networks on the ground to understand the German presence in Normandy. Based on that, they would have determined how many troops and what sort of equipment to take with them when they were making the landing. In the case of launching a new product what you want to do is talk to customers to understand their problems really well before you even start scoping out what you want to build as part of your Minimum Viable Product. While developing the product or features for the first release, there will inevitably be discussions around adding more features and capabilities. But you must resist the temptation to add more. Because adding more features at that stage causes two problems.

  1. It delays your time to market, and

  2. It costs more to get to market


When building your minimum viable product think only about your beachhead market segment and their problems. If your product is a success there you can always add more features and take it to additional market segments. Another thing to keep in mind at this stage, is the trade-off between effectiveness and efficiency. Working with engineering teams there will always be a pull to try and make the product more efficient. But when you're launching your Minimum Viable Product, it is more important to be effective because you can always add in efficiency later once you establish the effectiveness of your solution. You must do everything you can to get your Minimum Viable Product out to your beachhead segment as soon as possible and as cheaply as possible. When in doubt think about the Allied soldiers going to land in Normandy "Would they have taken that feature with them?"

 

If you're developing a product or would like to chat about the Beach Head Strategy or Minimum Viable Product ...

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