Abandon your preconceptions and learn why successful companies embrace the MVP as a key to making their customers happy.
Slalom loves Agile. We’re excited about the real, measurable benefits we’ve seen businesses gain from it, and we’re talking about some of its greatest advantages in a series of blog posts and a free Agile webinar—watch on-demand.
The MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, is basic to the practice of Agile. And it’s also something that generates resistance. We’ve heard our clients say things like, “Our execs don’t want the minimum—they want the best quality possible.” Indeed, why wouldn’t you want to do your best? It’s a great question, but one based on a misunderstanding of the MVP.
Coined by Frank Robinson in 2001, and popularized by Eric Ries through his book Lean Startup, the MVP has become a pillar of high-performing product teams all over the world. Why has Google been so dominant for so long? Why does Apple make some of the most popular products in the world? Why has Netflix not only survived, but thrived beyond their original business model? Many factors contributed, but one common thread is that they all use the MVP.
So what is the MVP? Here’s Eric Ries’s definition: That version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
As this definition makes clear, the MVP is not a product with the least possible functionality necessary for a public launch. It has nothing to do with publicly releasing a product at all. Rather, the MVP is the key to using the scientific method for building products. It is purely a mechanism for validated learning, used to test hypotheses and discover what will meet customers’ needs.