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Tetiana MatviiokTania MatviiokContent Manager

MVP or EVP: What Is the Best Start for Your Tech Project?

A side-by-side comparison of MVP and EVP and a metaphor of a car — all for you to choose the most suitable approach


If you are familiar with our blog, you know that we pay a lot of attention to the concept of MVP. We have told the story of MVP using the example of a bicycle, we discussed the stories of successes and failures associated with MVP, and we explained the importance of MVP for startups. Here at KeenEthics, we preach the necessity to validate your idea before putting everything at stake and implementing it, so we talk a lot about a minimum viable product.

But today, I want to introduce you to a similar but different concept — EVP. Let’s see, which one is better, MVP or EVP, and how to choose the right approach towards the development of your idea.

I am sure that the term “MVP” does not surprise you. The reason you opened this article is “EVP”. So, we will begin with what an EVP is, and what benefits it can bring.

What Is EVP?

EVP stands for an exceptional viable product — a term quite similar to a minimum viable product, and at the same time, a completely opposite one.

The term was coined in 2013 by Rand Fishkin, a co-founder of Moz, an SEO platform. He claims that the Exceptional Viable Product is what will make users “get religious about their love for what you’ve built – so much so that they devote real time to evangelizing your company”. 

Basically, EVP is very close to the final product, it is almost the finest version of it. EVP development uses Agile methodology — it involves multiple iterations and extensive developer testing before this product is ready to shake up the market. An EVP app is a multifunctional, well-designed, performant, and secure. Once being tested and polished, this app is ready to see the world. 

The question remains: what is the difference between an EVP app and a final app? I will dare to say that the exceptional viable product equals the final product but before it is tested and refined.

In case you cannot give a certain answer to the question of “What is MVP?”, let’s review this point as well.

What Is MVP?

A product MVP is a concept, which has existed for much longer than the EVP. Standing for a minimum viable product, it is one of the major approaches to startup software development.

Coined in by Frank Robinson in 2001 and popularized by Steve Blank and Eric Ries, a minimum viable product stands for “a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort”.

Essentially, a startup MVP is a software product, which implements one or two major functions of a planned final product in order to test if the market is interested in such a solution. The design, code quality, functionality, performance, and security of this software are usually far from perfect — they are just enough for the user to get a feeling of the software product. 

Compared to a final product, an MVP is a very primitive version of it. Once the user testing confirms the demand for such a solution, the MVP code is either archived or reused for the final web or mobile app development, depending on the project plan.

If you would like to learn more about what is Minimum Viable Product or how to create a Minimum Viable Product...

Check my recent article where I explain this concept using the example of a bicycle. This explanation on why and how to develop MVP could not be any simpler!


The example of a car

To explain the meaning and the usage of MVP and EVP apps, I will use a metaphor of a car.

MVP is a very basic car with no air conditioning, no cruise control, and no airbags: four doors, four wheels, a steering wheel, and a manual transmission.

EVP is a luxurious car with all the standard features and a few advanced features, such as lane assist, adaptive autocruise, seat heating, and road sign recognition. It speeds up from o to 60 mph in under 3 seconds due to a powerful turbo engine under its hood and the last-generation automatic transmission.

Basically, if you launched an MVP car in 2020, you would not benefit from it at all. The modern-day market is the most likely to ignore your car as something irrelevant or to criticize it as something absurdly simple and inconvenient. Yet, if you launched the MVP car in 1920, you would instantly win the affection of the global audience because it would be a car nobody has ever seen. If you launched the EVP car in 2020, you would certainly be able to compete for being in the market’s spotlight. At the same time, if you launched the EVP car in 1920, you would either get the same outcome as the one from the MVP car or even worse — you will scare off the customers with excessive innovation.

So, what is the moral of this story? 

If you plan to test a usual product concept, which the customers are well-familiar with, you probably should develop an EVP app, but be prepared to spend a lot of resources on the development process. 

If your idea is innovative and never explored before, you should opt in favor of MVP software development. It will let you test your idea to the fullest without scaring off users, and if it fails, you will not lose much.

When do you need MVP?

1. If you question your idea

Not being a hundred percent sure that your idea will succeed is normal. It is a sign of looking at things soberly, not arrogantly. MVP will let you make sure that your idea is worth or not worth your time.

2. If your startup is new to the market, and your brand name is yet not recognized widely

If you are new to the industry, the target market does not know your name — users will not be ready to open their hearts at once. You better develop a startup MVP and make a gradual entrance, slowly testing waters before jumping in.

3. If the competition in your market niche is low

If there are not many competitors, you do not need to rush with a final solution. You can play around your idea, test different implementations of it — the customers will still be with you because they do not have many alternatives.

4. If you need to enter the market fast

MVP development is usually six times shorter than the web or mobile app development of a final product. If time is a sensitive matter, MVP is a way for you to get a foot into the market in the shortest terms.

5. If you are on a shoestring budget and need help attracting investors

In most cases, software development services are paid hourly. Thus, MVP is not only time-efficient but also cost-efficient. Not only it requires less money to be developed, but it can also help you persuade investors to support your idea.

6. If you want the real audience to test your solution

MVP for startups is tested by actual users. MVP development is a way to get an honest feedback from the people whom you will eventually target.

7. If you are focused on a short-term goal — idea testing

Testing your idea is only one of the stages of project development. It is a short-term goal, and MVP is a means of achieving it. To make the outcome last longer, you should agree with MVP developers that the code will be later reused for the final product development.

When do you need EVP?

1.  If you are certain that your idea will succeed

 If you opt in favor of EVP, it means that you do not question your idea — you are certain that it will work, but you want to refine some intricacies.

2.  If your business is popular, and your brand name is well-known

Can you imagine Starbucks releasing a very rough version of some software product? Me neither. If the customers know and love you, you have to give them all they want at once. 

3. If the competition in your market niche is high

If the market competition is intense, there is no point in entering it gradually. Either you dive headfirst and shake up the market, or you get lost among the endless names of your competitors.

4. If you can wait with putting your software out to the market

While MVP is a lot of work, EVP requires by a few times more. Your market entry will be late, but it will be impressive. After all, you can launch your EVP to the market only when it is exceptional.

5. If your resources are unlimited

EVP development takes almost as much time and costs as the development of a final product. You have to be ready and able to spend quite a lot because EVP is definitely not a way to save money.

6. If you want developers to test your solution

The EVP is tested by the development team, the client, and maybe, some loyal users, who are friends to the software developers or owners. EVP never makes it out to the broad audience before it is tested and refined.

7. If you are focused on a long goal — idea implementation and marketing

EVP development is long and costly, but it brings you very close to the final goal — having a perfect final product, which is ready to see the market.


To Wrap Up

Both MVP and EVP are worth your attention. Neither approach is better or worse — both depend on your project needs and possibilities. 

In this article, I offered you a side-by-side comparison of MVP and EVP by seven criteria and the example of a car — for you to better understand the essential difference between the two technologies. After all, the two of them use different means to achieve different purposes in web or mobile app development. They are here to help businesses succeed — MVP for startups and EVP for existing businesses. So, which approach will be yours?

Do you need help with MVP or EVP development?

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