Considering The Minimum Viable Product

The purpose of my story is to talk about the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

More specifically, MVP within a complex environment with long, protracted product builds. The concept of the MVP doesn’t usually exist in such an environment. It evolved out of lean start ups. But it can be applied in big corporates.

We’re currently on a big consulting gig. This project involves numerous products going in and coming out of development. It also includes a complex set of very vocal stakeholders, multiple development teams and a strong Prince2 mantra embedded in the culture of the organisation. Needless to say, this project has been in the making for a few years.

With this in mind, we decided to introduced the concept of MVP to provide focus for developing and delivering the right products to market.

A MVP is not a minimal product, it is a strategy and process directed toward making and selling a product to customers‘. (Good old Wikipedia)

There are 3 layers to MVP:

  1. The core features of the product so that it can function as described.
  2. Features which are at least on par with any competing alternatives.
  3. A feature that differentiates the product from all other products servicing the same market.

More importantly, MVP forces teams to consider the market and the customer before anything else. It shifts the focus from a never ending laundry list of features that can be developed to a set of features that are most important to deliver – so that organisations can fulfill its promise to its customers.

Using MVP means that organisations have to:

  1. Know which market/s it serves.
  2. Intimately understand the users within that market.

Even if the organisation’s processes cannot support the incremental development of products, is unable to test and solicit market feedback on new products, there are significant merits in applying the concept of Minimum Viable Product.

So the benefits are:

  1. A greater propensity for the organisation to deliver a product that meets the customer’s needs.
  2. A reduction in waste. For example, development efforts are not expanded on features that are NOT fundamental for a sale.

MVP whilst a start up, lean idea can be applied in big businesses.