Minimum Desirable Product

In one of Andrew Chen’s old decks I found this bit:

Slideshare seems busted these days so go here directly to click through his slides.

Chen’s reference post is over here, and it’s useful to compare this with the original statement of what MVP means (scroll down further in this post).

Thus, a Minimum Viable Product tends to center around the business perspective – what’s the minimum product I have to build in order to figure out whether or not I have a business? You might do that from testing signups on landing pages, try to sell products before they exist, etc. Putting up price points and collecting payment info is encouraged, because it helps assess the true viability of a product.

But what if you come from a human-centered perspective, and you want to build the Minimum Desirable Product? I think this is a subtle difference with big implications. A minimum desirable product (MDP) would focus primarily on whether or not you are providing an insanely great product experience and creating value for the end user.

And he gives his definition of an MDP as:

Minimum Desirable Product is the simplest experience necessary to prove out a high-value, satisfying product experience for users (independent of business viability).

Andrew Chen

There’s a gazillion points of debate around MVP vs M(anything)P terminology like this and this and this.

The origin of MVP is attributed to Frank Robinson, but it’s more common to hear it attributed to Eric Ries. This is a snapshot from Frank Robinson’s 2008 where he TM’d the term so that indicates that he needed to take ownership of it.


Minimum Viable Product™ (MVP)

PROBLEM: Teams often brag, “We added 800 new features.” Some even consider feature count a badge of honor. Unfortunately adding features doesn’t necessarily improve the business case. It may take longer, make the product less usable, and carry more risk.

SOLUTION: The MVP is the right-sized product for your company and your customer. It is big enough to cause adoption, satisfaction and sales, but not so big as to be bloated and risky. Technically, it is the product with maximum ROI divided by risk. The MVP is determined by revenue-weighting major features across your most relevant customers, not aggregating all requests for all features from all customers.

Frank Robinson (conceptualized in 2001)

Simply speaking, the MVP is the sweet spot in the upper left quadrant of ROI on the vertical axis and risk, which correlates directly to effort and time to market, on the horizontal axis.

This chart is great, from Frank Robinson’s site.

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