MVPs did as good as bad for Product Management

I’ve been battling these demons for ages. Every time I hear ‘let’s build an MVP’, a bittersweet feeling surrounds my body. Why? Because I never know how it will come along.


MVP is a very powerful word, however, commonly misplaced and misunderstood in non-Product-led environments. Companies are considering this as an advantage to deliver stuff earlier cutting functionality, without questioning the aim of making an MVP. In business, people take estimations as deadlines, so MVPs are just the way to close the gap, as there is always a gap (remember that we have no crystal ball, it is impossible to predict the future with 100% certainty).


Everybody agrees on the approach to learn-and-iterate. This is a basic concept from the Lean Startup and I think the biz got it. MVPs should be the initial step as the minimum work required to learn something to move forward.


Unfortunately, what happens most times is you deliver half of the half-expected product and you call it MVP, the clients get frustrated because is not even usable, the company get frustrated as well because clients are frustrated, and Product gets frustrated because the company and clients are frustrated. When all is said and done, everybody thinks that this has been a waste of time and you have learnt nothing.


We recognised this within the Product Community. Initiatives like ‘Minimum Lovable Product’ tried to change the mental model of MVPs and more will come along the way. Although it won’t be easy, we will keep trying until one day we could call it MVPower. 


I’m thinking now how would be a world without MVP. Would be better or worse? And for who? I may need to approach these hypothetical scenarios at some point in the future. I may create a new category: Acid.

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