About the most pop term in the product glossary and why MVP is dead

This term has long been heard from every iron related to product development. After all, as the product mantra says – save resources, test hypotheses quickly, at minimal cost. And here an obvious solution comes to the rescue – to file an MVP in a quick way, show it to users and confirm or refute the hypothesis put forward about the needs of users. But I have a clear confidence that in most cases people use this term to cover up the dampness of their development or the irrelevance of the product.

The whole idea of ​​an MVP sounds really sensible. And perhaps this is how it works in the development of cool b2c products. Although, to be honest, I can’t remember a single really large-scale example, except for those who will be discussed in the last paragraph. But if there really are such cases in recent years, then welcome in the comments. At the same time, I remember a lot of examples of unsuccessful launches, pivots, a change in the course of a product, its transformation, and even cutting budgets, etc.

Yes, and I’m talking more about the development of b2b products here. Perhaps I have a professional deformation, but it seems that in this realm of enterprise development, the reality is a little different. Oddly enough, but the classic examples from Sutherland do not work here, where the client wants a car, and you first make him a bike to satisfy his need to move around the space and then iteratively tune it to the desired state.

Imagine a deliberately exaggerated situation: you are a product developer on a new product. Development stage, which is called “zero”. There is not even a clear understanding of how exactly it will work yet, but there is a visible need for customers in it, and there is a budget and a strong-willed decision of the management to cut this product first for internal use, and then for its further sale. Let’s say it’s an ERP system. And you even clearly understand its value to the client. And your task as an ambitious product is to make such a cool product that it will be used in the TOP-100 companies in the country.

And now let’s imagine how the dialogue with a potential client will be built. Even if it is an internal client. You say “we will first make an MVP for you with two or three main scenarios, and then we will increase the functionality.” What is the probability that this meeting will not end in your favor? It is impossible to immediately enter the market with a product that is dramatically inferior in functionality to conventional 1C or SAP. No one in their right mind would sign up for this.

Okay, let’s move away from the case a bit and move on to personal experience. How many times have you heard phrases like “we don’t have this functionality yet, but we are now at the MVP stage” or “we’ll find an investor and file all the functionality, but for now it’s only MVP”, well, the crown one – “now everything works crookedly or does not work at all . We’re still on the MVP.”

What is behind this:

  1. People confuse (or deliberately substitute concepts?) “prototype”, “first release” with “MVP”. When they tell me that the team will now file an MVP, I always ask “what kind of client/user pain does this MVP solve?” Often in response I hear something like “well, we are running out of development timelines, but we need to roll into production at least with something in order to close OKR \ KPI.”

  2. People cover up obvious flaws in their product with a bright “MVP” sign. Real case: a huge company is a TOP-3 bank with hundreds of product teams working on an incredible number of features. At the same time, excellent production processes have been built, planning for the year ahead has been established, and so on. But from time to time, apparently unfinished features come out, such as the ability to view your card details (account number, CVV code, etc.) in the application, but the user cannot copy or even just view his card number. They fixed it a few months later. And all this time the questions “why so?” was the answer – “because MVP”

Why is this happening? Again, this is purely my opinion, but in most cases it is easier for a product in large companies to “sell” the results of their work to management and report bravely at the next quarter / year summing up. That they say this is not his product does not solve the user’s problem and does not perform, but it’s just too early to draw conclusions. Now only MVP…

The second reason is that now the user is so spoiled with really high-quality products that he does not need to use something raw and unfinished. It looks like the term MVP itself is slowly losing relevance. The exception is the areas that are just penetrating into our consumer life. Like Midjorney like him.

What do I think will help in the situation? As always, you need to start with yourself and start calling a spade a spade. Let this be my wish for the new year – so that people stop replacing concepts and speak honestly – we are not yet ready to roll out full-fledged functionality, so here’s a usable beta of good quality for you 🙂

For discussion welcome to my channel Tg 🙂

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