“MVP” a great and greatly confused concept
I’ve written before about how words have different meanings to people. One word that seems to be particularly tricky is “MVP.” There seems to be a disconnect between the lean community and the larger market.
What the Lean Gurus Say
The idea of minimum viable product is useful because you can basically say: our vision is to build a product that solves this core problem for customers and we think that for the people who are early adopters for this kind of solution, they will be the most forgiving. And they will fill in their minds the features that aren’t quite there if we give them the core, tent-pole features that point the direction of where we’re trying to go.
So, the minimum viable product is that product which has just those features (and no more) that allows you to ship a product that resonates with early adopters; some of whom will pay you money or give you feedback.
Cindy Alvarez identifies a number of MVPs in her great book Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy
- Audience Building
- Wizard of Oz
- Single Use Case
- Other People’s Product
I’ve also encountered these types of MVPs
- Landing Page
What the Market Heard
When MVP comes up in my conversations and I ask people what it means to them what I hear most often is that they want to create a releasable product with a limited feature set. I saw definition of MVP used the same way in proposals I reviewed for a product management conference .
The good news is that there is a whole lot that you can do quickly and cheaply before you commit to developing a product so don’t skip over it.
Image: A illustration experiment