What is your definition of an "MVP"?

  • 27 December 2021
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Userlevel 6
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Minimum Viable Product ….

It’s a phrase we’ve heard a million times before; heck, most of us have said it that many times (and more) throughout our careers - but what does it mean to you

Does it mean:

  • That your scope is going to cut a lot of long-term goals to get it to the market?
  • That you are looking at the minimum a product should have before it’s marketable?
  • That your scope is isolated to penetrating the market as soon as possible and iteration will clear the way for the long-term? 
  • Or a combination of all of these and a few more? 

Feel free to add your own definition. Personally, I think it’s a combination of the above and “based on other factors.” Not all MVPs are equal - depending on their objective, their industry, and what’s going to be driven based on the results of your MVP. 

But I am curious to hear how you define your MVPs - what factors play into the scope the most? 


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Userlevel 7
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Such a great discussion topic @david.morgan!

In your experience, do product managers ever run the risk of taking away too many features to create an MVP? Is there a risk of going to market with a less effective or delightful product to create an MVP? It seems like this must be a difficult balance to strike. 

Userlevel 6
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Such a great discussion topic @david.morgan!

In your experience, do product managers ever run the risk of taking away too many features to create an MVP? Is there a risk of going to market with a less effective or delightful product to create an MVP? It seems like this must be a difficult balance to strike. 

Most definitely. It’s a very delicate balance that product managers are working with when it comes to scoping out an MVP. You need to deliver it in a timely fashion; yet, also ensure that your MVP isn’t limiting the potential output of the overall functionality in the product. It’s common for higher-ups or executives to want the MVP to deliver immediate benefits without having all of the “upfront” work of polishing it - which is the fundamental goal of doing an MVP. 

But it does circle back to the concept of OKR - what are your objectives for the MVP? Is it to give users quick access to what will one day be a polished product or suite of features? Is it just to see how the market responds to something that other qualitative points of data suggests will be positive (or negative)? So on and so on. This is also why it’s such an interesting topic to me - I often run into the issue of thinking “too far” into what needs to be done to make it fundamentally valuable to the product and our users (versus the “minimum” amount of value we need to provide them). 

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MVP, or the variations of it: minimum delightful product, minimum awesome product ---and concepts that are designed to answer a question “if we built it, will they come” - in a way, they answer they are validating if you are in fact solving a problem.

The MVP only needs to be successful in top of funnel metrics. If your MVP is converting, then you spent too much time on it (an exaggeration but the sentiment stands)

Userlevel 6
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MVP, or the variations of it: minimum delightful product, minimum awesome product ---and concepts that are designed to answer a question “if we built it, will they come” - in a way, they answer they are validating if you are in fact solving a problem.

The MVP only needs to be successful in top of funnel metrics. If your MVP is converting, then you spent too much time on it (an exaggeration but the sentiment stands)

This is very much true. It’s often difficult to convince stakeholders that an MVP only needs to be successful at the top of funnel metrics (fundamentally, proving interest by the market before investing too much energy into long-term development). 

Do you happen to struggle with engineers ever challenging the need for an MVP? In the sense that they want to deliver a “complete” product/feature, versus the bare minimum to achieve validation in the market. 

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