MVP is all people talk about in development these days, like it’s the fix for every problem, unfortunately it creates a whole new set of problems and a certain amount of complacency that is often damaging the brands that deliver MVP’s.

Minimum Viable Product MVP

The minimum viable product (MVP) is a product which has just enough features to gather validated learning (often too slowly) about the product and its continued development.

A minimum viable product has just those core features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more.

MVP Features

A new feature in an application may be provided in an existing system or can be stand alone. The feature itself is not fully implemented instead, a mock-up, or marketing page is provided. Clicks of the link are recorded and provide an indication as to the demand for the feature in the customer base.

MVP Iteration to Viable Product

It is integral to an MVP that iteration is rapid and directly responsive to responses from customer, hence an MVP does not require a long backlog of features defined by the business and it is the customers who define what the features are and their priority.

MVP Summary and Issues

An MVP requires an engaged customer base who are happy to have limited features and capabilities provided there is a transparent, responsive and rapid development process.

Conversely a MVP is not suitable for a critical unengaged customer group as it will underwrite the sense that the service provision is not well considered, by delivering dead end experiences. Additionally if it is a customers first experience it can provide a negative brand experience, that is not given a chance to be fixed in latter developments as the customer gave the product one chance to impress.

Minimum Viable Experience MVE

The minimum viable experience (MVE) is a product which has complete customer journeys,  that can be built upon. It is task orientated and enables customers to start and complete a full process.

A minimum viable experience has just those core customer journeys that allow the product to be deployed, and no more.

MVE Customer Journeys

A new customer journeys in an application may be provided in an existing system or can be stand alone. The customer journeys itself is fully implemented offering an end-to-end experience. Clicks through the process are recorded and provide an indication success, issues and drop out points for the customer journeys. It is preferable that this interaction is within a logged in scenario to not rely on simplistic analytics but to have access to customer demographics also.

MVE Summary and Issues

An MVE will work with any customer group as it delivers real capability. An MVE will enhance the business brand equity by establishing the brand as having considered their customers overall experience as the highest priority.

Conversely an MVE takes longer to design and build than an MVP, but it dramatically reduces the risk of damage to the brand by delivering incomplete and memorably painful experiences.

Summary MVE vs. MVP

It comes down to cost/time over customer experience with a proviso of the level of positive engagement that a businesses customers already have.

If an MVP is being used as a market entry device it requires a large overhead to manage the transparency and customer engagement so that the brand is not damaged. This overhead can easily be turned in great PR, not only in new markets but by engaging with existing customers to show how the business is evolving it’s customer engagement. This will require a marketing strategy and a communications strategy also.

Alternatively instead an MVE will market itself, not create negative feedback and establish customer centric credentials on the first deployment.

So an MVP is not entirely stupid its only smart when everything else is in place to deal with the issues it creates.

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