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31 Comments

MVP DOES NOT EQUAL SHIT PRODUCT

  1. 25

    That is just your personal opinion, expressed as fact.

    Lean doesn't define anything concrete about MVP, but states: "The MVP is that version of the product that enables a full turn of the Build-Measure-Learn loop with a minimum amount of effort and the least amount of development time."

    The last part - "least amount of development time." - seems to indicate that in Lean methodology the first MVP should preferably be roughly opposite to what you say.

    Furthermore, MVP doesn't even need to be actual working software. Most famous example by Eric Ries is the Dropbox video that led to 75.000 signups and hence validated the demand.

    In Eric's words: "In this case, the video was the minimum viable product" (page 99).

    1. 7

      I agree with @HenriNext. An MVP is the whatever the quickest way is to validate whatever assumption you want to test (as Henri says, a full turn of the Build-Measure-Learn loop).

      That assumption may be technical (I can actually make it work), market-driven (people want it - like the dropbox example), even testing pricing or positioning. All the landing pages on IH are MVPs of sorts.

      It may be badly coded, badly architected, badly designed or incomplete – but if it gives you the data you need to have more confidence it's doing its job. If you got there in half the time, you win.

      Regardless, lots of fake equivalency here (just because some agency misunderstood what they were testing, doesn't mean an MVP has to be 'good').

      What I will say though is consumers of software have a higher bar than they used to. So a super crappy user experience or shonky UI might lead to a trust issue which may undermine your results. No excuses not to add a bit of polish with things like tailwind etc.

    2. 6

      Dude who cares about Lean? since when are they the dogmatic god telling us how to define MVP

      I think @Primer point is that most people are blatanly lazy about their "MVP" and post BS landing pages or completely nonfunctional "prototypes" and call it an MVP.

      If you insist on using a landing page as a definition of an "MVP", then I want us to start using a real acronym for projects that are not BS called MFP - "Minimal Functional Prototype".

      1. 2

        since when are they the dogmatic god telling us how to define MVP

        Since the moment they came up with the MVP term and defined it?

        Lean's definition may not be the only one, but Eric Ries was undisputedly the one who coined and defined the term, which does give him fair bit of authority. And the OP specifically referenced Eric "crying in his sleep" which set the context of the post to Lean's definition, not on redefining things.

    3. 1

      Agree 100%. I think it's quite clear @primer has misunderstood what an MVP is, or at least what Ries's interpretation of it was when coining the term.

    4. 1

      Yup, the sooner you have validation the better it is. For my next project I am going to be selling mockups in whimsical to business owners, most likely.

  2. 6

    This is more of a rant than useful guidance. Though I do think you have a point: An MVP has to be MINIMALLY VIABLE.

    We can debate all day what minimally viable means. The reality is that it’s situational and it should lead to a specific learning objective... thus it can take many forms ( pun intended ).

  3. 4

    I could not disagree more. No one wants to create a badly coded product. But if a badly coded product works and does the job, the customer does not give a shit about the code. That is the MVP for me. In fact, MVP is about demonstrating a proof of concept so that potential customer sees tremendous value.

    There is an image illustration somewhere which really made it clear to me. It shows that if you need to build a car, you can start with a bicycle as the MVP and not a car engine without body. This way, you can demonstrate that this thing can take you somewhere even if slow at this time. So if you build a bicycle, obviously you would not be using it once you are ready to build the actual car. So a well coded bicycle is of no use in this scenario. My 2 cents.

      1. 1

        Yep exactly. Are you the original creator ?

  4. 3

    I've purposefully not replied to this thread because the intention was to start a debate. And I seem to have been successful on that. Some people agree, some people don't. Awesome :-)

    As far as I'm concerned if one person thinks a little bit more about "MVP" the next time they set out to build something then I've helped.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  5. 2

    "Lean"/MVP, man, it's all a fallacy and imo, it was smart click-bait marketing for a subpar book. Just building a proper landing page with a fake CTA, running campaigns, so not building any actual product, takes at least 2 weeks, usually more. Everything below doesn't have any validation power. There's no way to quickly test stuff and create MVPs. I think a better advice is to build toys.

  6. 2

    I think the point here is that you should still consider quality. Obviously, having a better designed, better functioning MVP will increase your chances of validating (validation meaning someone will actually pay you money Today).

    Our MVP took 8 months to build because the basic functionality was still very complex. We validated via having 25+ people pay the day we launched. It was a risk, sure, but we wouldn't have validated anything with a single landing page showing what we planned on doing. It's what the tool could do that validated it.

    1. 1

      Bingo, I think you have hit the nail on the head here - You have to have the functionality working as the user will expect it to. I think that blows away the whole concept of people having just a landing page, or cobbled together wireframes in a fixed sequential storyline.

      If I was the person to build Instagram, I don't think presenting a landing page to people saying - "Hey, you can take photos and put funky filters on them and share them with your friends and the world in general". Neither is cobbling together a series of wireframes with the same stock photo with different filters on it that the user can switch between to compare.

      The real 'sell' happens when the user can take a photo of their own, then apply and adjust various filters in real time to see the outcomes and become enamoured over the app. But guess what, what you have done at that point is actually built the entire Instagram app, not just a mockup or storyboard.

  7. 2

    Does this hit the minimum in design for MVP?

    https://jobboard.voice-first.agency

    1. 2

      Yes, that is a MVP alright although I do think you can easily make it looks a lot nice with a bit of design.
      Other than that, I would suggest you changing your domain name as it looks pretty deceiving... my brain was wired to think domain name with a dash in the middle is a phishing website, especially when it is a long URL(long subdomain and domain extension).

  8. 2

    Good advice is that instead of building MVP, you should make MUP - Minimum Usable Product - a product that can be used and have a basic set of features required to present its base value to the user. But hey, if someone can get 10K signups with a shit landing page and no product - good for him. After all, the goal is just one - to succeed. No matter how you define success, you want to reach it. And as long as you don't scam people, it's up to you how you will achieve this.

  9. 2

    I totally agree.

    Used to work in a small startup (team of ~40) which had an unhealthy obsession with everything lean/agile/MVP. In order to find “product market fit” they would approve a single month (maybe one or two sprints) in order to build a product.

    Inevitably the test product was functional (barely) but ugly and awkward. No matter how much I insisted that it needed to look trustworthy and polished before we actually tested it against competitors, nope. We would run a half-assed paid ad campaign and after 500 visitors, someone up the chain would pull the plug and declare it a no-go.

    So often, startups claiming a “lean” approach are actually just afraid to commit to building a solid product. Even if we had spent 10x the time and taken a year to build a good product, we’d have been ahead of ourselves.

    No excuse for making crap products!

  10. 1

    I've blogged about this before https://medium.com/uclusion/product-direction-product-market-fit-is-harder-than-everyone-admits-fd0547ff7eac but what I didn't mention at the time is just how much harder it becomes to sell a new product after so many people launch "MVP" severely stripped down versions.

  11. 1

    Yes agreed,

    MVP basically means the most basic version that works and provides a solution to the basic problem it needs to solve, with or without design, but should be the actual product, a landing page with a mailing list signup is not an MVP.

    The only reason it might be bad is because it build on a budget by a bad or junior developer who didn't get the fundamentals right. This is one of the main reasons why a lot of startups have to re-build V1 (or because they need to scale ridiculously fast, but that s a nice problem to have) There is no reason for an MVP to not be the foundation of the product going forward, and my opinion it should be most of the time.

    Mark

  12. 1

    I think that you may be confused with this other industry standard term HQMVP, which stands for High Quality Minimum Viable Product 😂

  13. 1

    I agree so much with this 🙌
    While building our MVP I felt kinda pressured releasing something I was not happy with in terms of quality. We kept going forward and released a small version of our product just a few weeks later but with much better quality. Looking back I am happy that we did it this way and did not released something buggy/unfinished just a couple weeks earlier.

  14. 1

    MVP= The UX and Features "required to prove value or "viability""

    Love it... working on one now so this rings the bell for me.

    Disclaimer: I don't know shit.

    Thanks!

  15. 1

    Your product can be well designed, well-presented, functional and very interesting but if nobody wants to buy it this is just a pace of shit. MVP it is something which helps you to get an idea if there is any demand for it, no matter what it is- simple function, landing page, community, posts, etc.

  16. 1

    You can have a typeform from google as a start for an MVP ;) Have seen that many times.

  17. 1

    Whatever you can sell with minimum design, features to a one real customer is MVP for me. How you iterate and learn from it is completely up to you.

    Just be careful to minimize the waste. Even if you have the grand vision when starting (by luck) , wasting time to develop a *not-shitty product (for you) and having zero traction is much worse than shipping shit looking thing and start selling from day one.

    The whole concept is actually about *investing smart, not about having good tech, architecture, design etc. When you have the necessary sales mindset, and if you can sell, you can buy time and tech necessary for the next steps. Just focus selling the minimum sellable product asap, forget the rest.

    I wish I knew that many years ago.

  18. 1

    I am gonna use this thread to ask a related question, if I may.

    I have been building my MVP for a couple of weeks now; as it is very related to a job I've done for a client (but not a copycat), I've been able to pull off something that may resemble an MVP, but I still think it's not yet there as the big selling point that will make my product better than the current competitors is still missing.

    Competitors out there are simply better: it will take me anything from 6 months to 1 year to be able to build a real competitor.

    The selling point/key feature of my product requires a lot of work: it's not in my MVP plan as I do not want to wait months before releasing. Another reason is I have time off until January and I want to use this time as much as possible before returning to full-time work.

    What I'm afraid of:

    • If I do release, releasing something no one will give a damn about
    • If I don't, that full-time work will take all my energy and it will be the nth project unreleased

    Does anyone have any insight/suggestion or similar experience?

    1. 3

      The selling point/key feature of my product requires a lot of work: it's not in my MVP plan
      I would strongly recommend you work out how to build something else that tries to solve the same problem in a cheaper way. Testing around the fringes won't tell you whether to commit that time, so you're just delaying the same decision.

  19. 1

    I do tend to agree. Best definition I've heard is: “the smallest slice of your grand vision”. The slice should still be very good quality.

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