MVP, the Agile Approach to the Scope of the Project

When you hear about MVP is often exists among analysts. MVP is a Minimum Viable Product, that’s means a minimally executable product.

For the first time the concept of MVP appeared in 2001. Its author is Frank Robinson. In 2011 Eric Ries wrote his book “Lean Startup method”, which popularized this concept. In his view, MPV is a product with only a basic set of functions released to test a new business idea and assess the response of people using this solution.

The idea of ​​MVP is to get feedback at the early stages of product or service preparation and iterative adaptation of the product to the actual and real expectations of users. Feedback from the first customers about MVP should enable, among others, the following decisions:

  • whether the product arouses their interest at all, and if so
  • what functionalities are sought by customers or users of the product.

MVP is more a process than a product. The more that MVP is not a product with a minimum number of elements, but has basic functions sufficient to implement the idea.

Why am I writing about MVP?

Well, I encounter a situation many times when we want to do something quickly. We have an idea for a change in software, a change in the business process. And suddenly the change that was supposed to be small increases. In that way, we’re adding more changes or we want the process to be 100% automated. The list of requirements, stakeholders and budget is growing. Everything from a small change turns into something big and complicated. Unfortunately, not everyone is satisfied at the end. The effects differ from the original expectations.

For this reason, applying the MVP principles helps to reach the right and right results. MVP is based on the lean philosophy and assumes an iterative process of building, then measuring and learning, until the product fully meets the needs of stakeholders. MVP aims to avoid building unnecessary products regardless of whether they are new application functions, integrations or a changed business process.

Depending on the context, the MVP form may be different. Sometimes it will be several functions of the application connected with a “protein interface”, sometimes it will change the business process without changes in the applications. MVP in the software development process is necessary because it allows you to share an idea about a product and test it on its recipients or participants.

Workshops, models, creating working fragments of the solution, iterative construction of the solution helps to understand the needs of stakeholders. MVP must be a product that due to its function will be desired by the target group of its recipients. It’s a “must have” function, a set of minimal features and functionalities that the solution must meet.

On the other hand, you can’t fall into the trap of iteration. I know that by doing a dozen of workshops, there may be a moment when you will reach the point of thinking “just a one more thing” or other unnecessary action. It’s like a packing for the holiday your bag, at some point we take things that we might put on, provided that … ?

Does this mean that by building iterative we “bypass” these aspects ? Absolutely not. There will be situations when our MVP will not work. Let’s describe such situations so that the user (stakeholder) knows what to do. If these situations start to appear more often, than … in the next iteration, we will develop our product with this aspect.

MVP has one more limitation. In strictly regulated industries such as banking or insurance, this approach cannot be applied everywhere. Reporting, control and other aspects regulated by law may hinder the application of MVP to banking and insurance products. However, MVP can be used as an approach in marketing, sales or process optimization within such organizations.

In my opinion, MVP is an essential part of creating applications. It is such a healthy minimalism in which we do not waste resources and do what is exactly needed and necessary. MVP is putting minimal effort and money into preparing the change. Feedback builds new versions that reflect the specific needs of stakeholders. Doing what is exactly needed and necessary not only saves time and money, but also gives satisfaction to both those who create and use the solution.

And this kind of work and product I wish you 🙂

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