It’s constantly surprising to me that people seem to have such widely different ideas of what the term “MVP” or “Minimally Viable Product” really means. Perhaps it’s a result of the term becoming an industry buzzword, or perhaps it’s because it’s used in some very different contexts, but it always baffles me that people focus on the “minimal” part of the term and completely forget the “viable” and “product” side of things. To me, you don’t have an MVP unless you meet all three criteria:
- You have identified the minimum set of features necessary to engage your users and to solve their valuable problem;
- You have identified a way to ensure that your solution is scalable enough, stable enough, and valuable enough that you can confirm your product hypothesis; and
- You actually have something that you can sell, market, or test.
Whenever I think of what MVP means to me, I think of Dropbox, the cloud-based file-sharing system that pretty much encapsulates everything that an MVP should be.