Sunday, March 26, 2017

MVP Trap and RAT (Riskiest Assumption and Test)

Recently I had a conversation with our new product management VP.   It was a very interesting and enlightening talk.

A lot of time, the MVP is being misused or inappropriately applied.

The term has been used to refer the initial scope of a new product.

It is hard to define "Viable".  

It becomes "Minimum Valuable Products" or "Minimum Lovable Products".

The lovable product may not be usable as the assumption that people would pay for the value or for the lovable parts of the features may be incorrect.

The MVP may never grow and beyond the initial scope and original signed customers.

Actually it may be a small product that is satisfying unique needs of a small group of customers.  The return may never cover the cost.

Some people suggests that instead of defining the MVP, a startup should define "Riskiest Assumptions" and create a product or perform activities to test the assumptions.

Riskiest Assumption and Test

This method is trying to tell those who work on a startup or starting a new product, instead of building a MVP to test the market and the idea, the focus should be on testing the idea. They may not need to build any product POC or MVP.   The success of the product idea could be based on some assumptions.  These assumptions may have different degree of uncertainty.  Some assumptions are known and very close to be true.  Some assumptions are less riskier as even the assumption is wrong, there are ways out.  Some assumptions are critical and riskier as you do not know much and if it is not true, the whole idea is useless.

To work on a startup or starting a product, to maximize the return and minimize the risk, the activities should be to focus on learning the riskiest assumptions and update the assumptions, one after one, before putting a larger investment to build the MVP.

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