This lecture focuses on the Minimal Viable Product.

Big Picture

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Minimal Viable Product - MVP

The MVP is a popular strategy within Agile - to produce a high quality product based on the minimum 'must have' requirements for customers. The approach to MVP is slightly different than the standard product development approach where the focus to market-test the product or validate a Proof of Concept.

Often MVP is more often used to reduce the uncertainty of product failure over the long term. MVP allows a feedback loop mechanism where users can give vital feedback on whether to make further investment or stop the project at the right time. It is important to emphasize that only the 'must have' features are created and nothing more, and that the product from an agile perspective is a high quality one.

  1. Proof of Concept
  2. Rush to market
  3. Build in tighter / smaller timescales
  4. Suited to starter / setup products
  5. Competitor advantage / bid

Beta versions of Microsoft software is probably the nearest example to an MVP (may be excuses the bugs that came with it), but when Microsoft launched their application it used a strategy to get ahead of the competition at the time, and take a big market share before anyone else did. What was even more unique was the feedback mechanism for users to let Microsoft aware of the bugs and fix them accordingly. This approach allowed Microsoft to solidify their position in the market and be the large corporation it is now. MVP would be the modern version approach for this.

Some of the key principles before an MVP can be agreed upon are:

  1. Market Research
  2. Workshops - Feature/Story Mapping
  3. Minimum 'must have' features
  4. Testing approach
  5. Feedback mechanism

The skillset of an Agile team would also be of important consideration. The Sprint Goal needs to be clear on the MVP - timescales short but realistic, and the mindset to deliver exactly what was asked for. Building a high quality product with minimum 'must have' features requires the level of experience and expertise to ensure the goal will be met. Once an MVP is released into market the expectation is quite clear that the product stands on a firm foundation.