What is a Minimum Usable Product?

A Minimum Usable Product (MUP) is the minimum feature that we need to build so that a user can use the product for the purpose it was intended. It is not nice to have features, just the minimum required. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is another popular term for this, but I don’t think that accurately describes what we’re trying to do.

For each release of the product, the user is able to use it to achieve the goals of the project.

I’ve often left out things like the “Forgot Password” feature until after launch. The chance that a user will forget their password the day they create the account, well it happens, but not very likely.

Typically that is the only feature in the MUP that needs to be able to send emails, so not only do you save time by not having to build the feature, but you also save time by not having to sign up for and set up an email delivery service.

Features like this usually get added pretty quickly after launch, don’t let that stop you from launching though.

On one project, I waited until someone emailed that they forgot their password, then I sat down, built and deployed the feature and emailed the user back with a link an hour later.

It takes a lot of discipline to define the MUP and then stick to it, you’ll get sucked into the “oh I really need this one more feature” before I launch. You don't trust your gut when you start the process.

Minimum Usable Product for Track Startup Expenses?

I’m not building a fully-fledged accounting system. Let me say that again, I’m not building a fully-fledged accounting system. We don’t have time for that, and I believe people getting going with a project don’t want to use something like that.

User stories come in really handy here.

“A user story is an informal, natural language description of one or more features of a software system.”

User stories became popular with the rise of Agile Development. You don’t have to get very technical or fill in the details right now, just simply and quickly document what the visitors and users will do when they use the website.

Identifying a Minimum Usable Product

A product is a minimum usable product if it:

  • Is the simplest product a customer will buy (For example, an artist frames some of her paintings instead of selling the canvas alone. It’s a simple way to make the painting a much more appealing product.)
  • Is a product the entrepreneur can make relatively easily (Another entrepreneur makes decorative pillows instead of, for example, sofa slipcovers)
  • Is a product that a large number of customers will buy (For example, a high-end, expensive perfume is a great product for a large company that can sell to a small number of wealthy customers. Soaps, on the other hand, are a great MUP for a self-employed craftsman – and one of our PowerUP entrepreneurs has been making soaps for a while and is now expanding into wholesale.)

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