The Myth of the Minimally Viable Product

The author is a big believer in the usefulness of creating a Minimally Viable Product to learn in the real world, but his point is that the MVP should nail most important aspects of the customer experience – even if this means going to extraordinary effort behind the scenes. An MVP is not an excuse for creating shoddy or incomplete artifacts and experiences for your target customers.

Too many times today we see an MVP released to market that tries to do too much at once and does it all poorly…Customers can live with a product that doesn’t quite do everything they want. They will not accept a product that does the most important thing poorly or not at all.

The author uses Uber as an example (the example is made up – he doesn’t claim this is actually what happened). The initial MVP needed to nail the user experience. Behind the scenes, however, everything was done manually – dispatching the driver, directing the driver’s route, billing the credit card etc.

We need to make sure that no matter what the guts look like to make the ride happen, the customer gets to where they need to go quickly, safely, and inexpensively, with little headache for them, which means a lot of headache for us.

The important user experience was ‘simulated’ (at great expense) but it revealed the essence of what they needed to learn – will customers value the experience. This is what separates a good MVP from a bad one. Knowing what aspects to ‘nail’ and what aspects you can let slide.

Original Article »

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