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How the MVP has lost its meaning

Following up from yesterday’s post on Minimal Viable Product, I received some great feedback on just how the MVP has lost its way.

A couple of classic warning signs are the use of multiple MVPs in a project, or using it interchangeably with a Proof of Concept (PoC). Neither of these get to the heart of the purpose of an MVP which is to deliver minimal functionality to the customer as soon as possible.

A Proof of Concept is often just that – showing how something could work and often tied to a particular technology. Multiple, planned MVPs in delivery cadence makes no sense at all – either you have a product or you don’t. If you’re trying out multiple MVPs then you’re trying out different products.

Use of the MVP should be targeted on specific functionality and a specific product over a specific timeframe. Aim to deliver something that proves or disproves something for your customer.

Often the best way to achieve this is to focus on a particular end-to-end process for a customer. A vertical slice through the whole application.

Prove functionality throughout the whole functional and technical chain and you can easily determine if this adds value, while also proving the technology.