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The Minimum Marketable Viable Product Feature Set

27-Nov-2014 14:00:00 Consulting Lean Lean Startup
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There are a few TLA’s (three letter acronyms) used in agile projects to define the scope of a product increment.

So what are they, what do they mean, how do we use them?

The following TLA’s are the ones I have seen used recently, there are probably more around.

MVP - Minimum Viable Product

MMP - Minimum Marketable Product

MMF - Minimum Marketable Feature

MMR - Minimum Marketable Release

 I have experienced clients using these TLA’s without understanding the meaning of them and the differences between them, sometimes even using different TLA’s interchangeably.

So are they all the same?

There are obvious similarities, they all start with ‘Minimum’. This is saying that we are restricting the scope of something to the smallest possible or leanest amount of work to achieve a goal. Lets take a look at the different TLA’s.

MVP - Minimum Viable Product MVP has been popularised by Eric Ries and Lean Startup. Lean Startup advocates that when you have an idea for a new product, you first need to establish if there is a customer demand for the product. Establishing the customer demand is the goal of developing an MVP. A MVP should be designed only to get the needed feedback from the customer; it does not have to be a fully functional minimal product. Eric Ries clarifies that the idea of the MVP is not get to as much feedback as possible, but to get only the feedback we need to figure out if we are on the right track or not.

Build Learn Improve

MMP - Minimum Marketable Product A MMP describes the product with the smallest possible feature set that addresses the user needs, creates the desired user experience, and hence can be marketed successfully adding value to a business.

MMF - Minimum Marketable Features Minimal Marketable Features (MMF) is also sometimes referred to as a Minimum Marketable Feature Set (MMFs). Both are the smallest possible group of features that can be delivered as an increment which will add value to a business. If a MMF was split into anything smaller it would not be marketable and would not add value to the business. MMF does not mention a product so presumably the features could be across a set of products.

MMR - Minimum Marketable Release David J Anderson describes a MMR as ‘a set of features that are coherent as a set to the customer, and useful enough to justify the costs of delivery’. As with MMF, MMR does not specify a particular product.

Conclusion

MVP is different from MMP/MMF/MMR.

A MVP is used to establish if there is customer demand for a new product.

MMP, MMF and MMR all describe a set of features which together make a coherent increment that will be marketable and add value to the business. Which one of these you use possibly depends on the structure of your products.

Once a MMP has been delivered you cannot define another MMP for the same product, the first MMP has already delivered all the features for the minimal product. So subsequent to a MMP you must need to use an MMF or MMR to scope new features.

To simplify the amount of TLA’s being use you could just settle for a MVP followed by some MMRs or MMFs. However the first increment of a product would typically have more features to deliver than a future increment, and therefore take more time to deliver. So there could be a justification for keeping MMP to define a product's initial delivery, and then MMFs or MMRs for future increments.

Test your idea with a MVP

Initially use MVP to establish if there is a demand for a new product.

Here is a hypothesis.. Would my bad piggie like a vehicle to help him move around?

Lets test that hypothesis by building the minimum viable product, a wheel.

Wow, customer feedback is that he would love that, but he would like it to be a bit safer before he can use it. This means we should persevere with the product and build a working product.

Build a 1st product

Once the MVP has established that there is a demand for your new product, you could use MMP or MMR to deliver the first increment of a product.

Then incrementally improve

Once a working product is launched, you could use MMFs or MMRs to build incremental improvements.

Alex Gray

Agile Coach
Radtac Ltd

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Images source: Build learn Improve, Bad Piggies game screenshots

Author

Alex Gray

Alex Gray

Alex is a professional, versatile and enthusiastic Lean & Agile Trainer/Coach with 20 year’s experience in varied IT projects and roles. A member of the BCS Agile Expert Panel, and an author of the BCS Foundation in Agile Practices syllabus, examination and course materials. Read more