The MVP Onion

I've been in some workshops recently where confusion arose around what is MVP in practice.
Its seems like there are many different interpretations of MVP and often that interpretation is determined by :
1. Risk tolerance
2. Type of feedback required

Risk tolerance

The ruthless MVP of a fledgling startup company might be far too precarious for a traditional financial company. They may not be able to launch a streamline MVP that doesn't satisfy compliance or regulatory standards. When these requirements become part of your "minimum" then your delivery grows beyond basic VIABILITY.

Feedback Requirements

If you're launching a new product, you need feedback that tells you if customers need the product, do they want the product, will they use the product, will they like the product. 

Sometimes you might be using a new technology stack or trying to build something that hasn't been built before. In this case you need system feedback . Do the minimum you can that will prove you can build the product. It might be too rough and ready to launch but tackles your technical risks first. If you cant build it then there's no point in thinking about what will delight the end users.

Different Layers of MVP

This probably won't satisfy the purists but what i came up with was an MVP onion (nod to Simon Powers of Adventures with Agile - this onion is a homage to his Agile Onion!)

I found that this really helped people who were trying to reduce the scope of their initiatives to something that was more like an MVP but couldn't quite fit to a ruthless MVP due to organisational constraints.
I've also include the good old "Walking Skeleton", which is possibly even a subset of the leanest MVP. The minimum you can do to hang your product together functionally. 


At all times remember that you should build your product up from these principles, iteratively. 
You don't have to release your walking skeleton, but you should build it first. you don't have to release your MVP but you should build it, and then you have options around whether you should add more or not


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