There are different kinds of MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) with specific consequences. For me it is useful to think along two dimensions:
- Coverage: The number of reached customers. (An interview is done with few people, an Ad-Words campaign may reach thousands).
- Product Fidelity: How similar is the MVP to the end product? (A software prototype has a higher fidelity than a paper mockup).
Here are the MVPs I am aware of:
The size of the dots is the length of the feedback cycle. An interview is done in a few minutes. A software prototype needs hours or days to program and then days or weeks to gather the feedback.
How to use it
The classification is useful to find the appropriate MVP. When teams start learning Lean Startup they tend to use high fidelity, high coverage MVPs and pay the price: The need weeks to get feedback. But in the very beginning many of our assumptions are just plain wrong and we want to learn that as fast a possible. Therefore first MVPs should be as fast as possible. Using low fidelity, low coverage MVPs from the bottom left help to achieve that. When we validated some assumptions with low fidelity, low coverage MVPs we move up and to right: higher fidelity, higher coverage.
I am keen to discover other MVPs (the empty space in the middle of the diagram looks like there is something missing). What are the MVPs you know of?