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MVP - Minimum Viable Product, MMP - Minimum Marketable Product

I had a 'Tweet' from a friend yesterday asking me what MVP stood for within the Agile arena....

I was going to forward her a link to my blog and the relevant post before realising I've not actually covered the subject... Which considering it's importance is somewhat shocking!

OK - So what is MVP or MinimumViable Product?

It's a term/concept often used in Lean startups... It could be a throw-away prototype, it's a first version that might be released to a small selected audience in order to gather feed back... It's a bare-bone, minimum functionality version of the product your aiming to build.

You Build it, Measure, Learn! which in-turns feeds back into it self!

The real key to making the MVP work is the Product Owner... Somebody with a clear product vision who can determine the bare minimum functionality and break it down to the smallest number of user stories possible.

Another very similar concept is the MMP - Minimum Marketable Product

The Product Owner with the help of the Scrum Master and team decides what user stories are absolute minimum in order to create a product which is 'Marketable'

One of the most famous examples used for MMP is the iPhone! When launched in 2007 instead of trying to please everyone, or copy every existing feature on the market, Apple instead selected a narrow number of 'customer needs', Its rumoured that Nokia mocked the original iPhone for it's lack of features and not having basic 'Copy and Paste' functionality!

However concentrating on a core number of 'customer needs' or 'user stories' enabled Apple to deliver within a tight timeframe and take the lead in a new emerging market.

Over time more user stories/features were added to the product.

A very wise Scrum Master who I trained under used to coin it 'The art of maximising what isn't done'! At first that might seem a little strange, but he was absolutely right... To bring a project in on time/budget - you need to decide what's the minimum product you can market  and develop only what you need!

I honestly find the concepts of MVP and MMP really exciting in Agile!! and to be honest the real differentiator between Agile and other project management styles.

For Agile to really work well, The product owner should understand the team's velocity, the backlog should be sized and estimated (well groomed) - The product owner with the Scrum Master should be responsible for determining the MVP/MMP and deciding on the sequence of stories to accomplish that.

Scrums, Kanban's,  velocity and stand-ups are all brilliant..... They build teams, improve communication and allow for progress to be monitored.... But when you see agile working at it's best.. delivering complex uncertain projects on time and budget it's usually down to a good Scrum Master and a fully engaged, informed, experienced Product Owner - who together understand how to maximise what isn't done!

Thanks for reading,



I was going to write a much in-depth blog on the subject, but time is tight so instead I've applied the MMP principle to blog writing!

Christian Miles