What is MVP (Minimum Viable Product), And How Does it Fit in a Scaled Agile Framework. This question came to my mind, and I thought, why not write a blog about it. Minimum Viable Product, this concept became popular since The lean startup book became popular.
Definition of MVP is a minimum development that we do to maximize learning. So let’ stake an example, suppose If I get an idea that I want to sell flowers online. I am excited to create a shopping cart and a complete e-commerce product to buy flowers online. One of my friends raised a question: do you think somebody will buy flowers online, and what if you invest all the money and realize this was a wrong idea? Where I denied that point in time, but after I started thinking.
What can we do to validate our hypothesis that people will buy flowers online before I invest this much time and money in creating the whole product?. Here are the minimum viable product needs that come up. If I make something that helps me know if people will buy the flowers online or not, that’s it. That’s the whole goal of a MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT. For example, an individual may create a small blog page, run a google ad, and say, okay, buy flowers online. People will visit/land up on the blog page where the rest of the functionalities are not ready. But have a click button where people can easily visit and click it, which will help me see all the analytics which will help me count how many visitors are clicking it. If I get x number of clicks on that particular button, it validates my hypothesis that there is a market for selling flowers online. If I don’t get x number of visitors on my specific page, I think this might be a wrong idea or not the appropriate time for launching this idea. I might have to change the direction.
The idea here is to validate learning, maximize learning, and validate that the hypothesis is not necessarily usable. I may not be able to sell the flowers online using that particular blog page. I need to create a new product that facilitates the whole checkout experience for selling the flowers online.
In the scaled agile framework, we talk about MVP when we look into epics, portfolio epics, and business epics. A lean business case supports business epics. We want to do something with a significant amount of money and time investment to achieve some desired goal, maybe solving an existing problem or exploiting an opportunity visible to an organization. When we are evaluating this epic many times, it may also make sense to identify what kind of an MVP can help us validate the hypothesis early in the development of that particular epic. If we find the positive signal, we may continue with our belief and add more features. If we find these hypotheses are not making any sense, we may change the direction.
In the scaled agile framework, it is appreciated, especially for the type of epics where we are exploiting new opportunities to even identify the MVP part inside the epic and schedule those MVPs early to learn and take it forward. Minimum viable products and minimum marketable features are times used interchangeably, but they are different. The minimum commercial feature is a set of functionalities that you want to build in the product so that your end customer can start using it. It’s like the minimum thing you need in your selling flowers application so that people can buy flowers. That’s a minimum marketable feature. “Whereas the minimum viable product is not necessarily using it. It is primarily we need to do the minimum time of investment to maximize your learning related to your hypothesis” and many times I would say the majority of the time you find MVP is you build. If you learn it, and then you throw it away.
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