MVP, MLVP, SLC (Simple Lovable Complete)

In “I Hate MVPs. So Do Your Customers. Make It SLC Instead.” by Jason Cohen there is the dynamic that separates waterfall and agile product development processes embedded in the starting letter C of his SLC acronym: Complete.

For something to be deemable as “complete” is a great idea. Because to Jason’s point, you don’t have all the money in the world available to you for iterating over and over.

This thinking points to work by Spotify using a “transportation model” that I love:

with Henrik’s three key tips:

  • Avoid Big Bang delivery for complex, innovative product development. Do it iteratively and incrementally. You knew that already. But are you actually doing it?

Start by identifying your skateboard – the earliest testable product. Aim for the clouds, but swallow your pride and start by delivering the skateboard.Avoid the term MVP. Be more explicit about what you’re actually talking about. Earliest testable/usable/lovable is just one example, use whatever terms are least confusing to your stakeholders..

What is nice about Henrik’s model is that he advocates for reasonable quantum leaps in product performance: skateboard, bicycle, motorcycle, car — which are good definitions of “complete” if we go back to Jason’s model. The only problem is that a “complete” state is often defined by a known norm — and therefore when inventing something new you won’t know what those quantum phases really are.

A third line of thinking to consider is by Scott Belsky — which counters Stuart and Henrik’s thinking with empathy for the brand new customer who just wants the skateboard. And who would never be able to drive a car from day one — but all s/he or they is offered is … a car.

Scott’s takeaways are:

  1. Users flock to simple product.

Product takes users for granted and adds features to satisfy power users.Users flock to simple product.

Or as Scott expresses more graphically:

So going back to the SLC idea, I love the idea but I see a need to avoid confusing “complete” in 21st century terms with 20th century terms. More on this later … —JM