Michael Rihani
Minimum Lovable Product (MVP)

First: Minimum Viable Product (MVP); Second: Minimum Lovable Product (MLP)

With the recent push for the whole lean start-up movement (#leanstartup), I want to discuss a product development buzzword that I like: Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Eric Ries (@ericries) popularized the term MVP, and defines it as the, "version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort."

I've seen many startups and entrepreneurs follow the lean startup MVP technique but then they're disappointed or confused what to do next with their findings.

As a founder, product manager, SCRUM master, and/or developer... this is the typical flow of events:

  1. Wireframe out your MVP (I use, love, and recommend Balsamiq)
  2. Code out the MVP
  3. Throw a big "Launch Day", "flip the switch on" party, pop some champagne, and high five each other
  4. But then what...? Apply to a Y Combinator/TechStars type of incubator and hope you get in with your MVP? Hope for a TechCrunch article to show up about your MVP? Get on the fundraising road and hope to raise VC money with your MVP? Hope for Twitter-like, hockey stickin' traffic, traction, and inflection points to show up in your Google Analytics?

Sound familiar? Especially #4? I'm thinking we need to add a couple more steps to the lean startup playbook.

Here's what I'm proposing:

  1. Build the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and they will come.
  2. Build the Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) and they will stay.
  3. Build the Minimum Buyable Product (MBP) and you will stay, in business.

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