MVP – A Discussion at Chennai OCC

Eric Ries original definition

“the minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

Pay attention to these:

  1. the new product
  2. validating learning
  3. least effort

From Steve Blank:

Minimum feature set (“minimum viable product”) is a Customer Development tactic to reduce engineering waste and to get product in the hands of Earlyvangelists soonest.


  1. a customer development tactic
  2. reduce engineering waste
  3. something that you can get into the hands of early adopters (evangelists)

Let me amplify a bit on “customer development” by taking another quote from the same blog post by Steve Blank.

One of the principles of Customer Development is to get out of the building and understand the smallest feature-set customers will pay for in the first release

With that setting of context, let me now add what we heard at Chennai Open Coffee Club discussion on Oct 6th.

About MVP

  • Krishna – My idea of MVP keeps changing. It was a piece of software when I started. Now it is a PPT. So to me MVP is really MVPPT
  • Ashwin – Our MVP was really a survey using Survey Monkey to gather information and validate the concept
  • Ashwin – We could have done it with an Excel spreadsheet and phone call.
  • Me – MVP is a series of artifacts each validating one hypothesis. Hypotheses are initial assumptions we make about the customer, the product, the benefit, the market, the value etc. From the book on Early customer development it is an attempt to find a value path. You can have several intermediate MVPs and a final MVP each validating one assumption.

What an MVP is not

  • A question from the group – Is MVP = Market research? The answer is really NO. You can use market research to come up with some questions and assumptions. MVPs are steps to validate them.
  • Can MVP be done for incremental improvements? Probably. Since it is  a market risk mitigation strategy, its biggest benefit is for a new product business.
  • Is MVP a proof of concept? A POC  is typically used to check the feasibility of implementation.
  • Some times you want to go beyond the minimum. For example, building an initial web app or a website may give you more credibility.
  • Is it MVP or MVH (minimum value hypotheses)?
  • Can you ship an MVP?

A few observations

  • Sid – pay attention to the “viable” part as much as “minimum” part. ‘
  • The definition of MVP changes over the life of the product creation and customer development process.
  • Sid – In their case, the first version of Tour My App,  was built in a weekend and was shown to about 30-40 people. A few people showed interest in the product. That was their first MVP. They built incremental versions to validate different things (usability, value etc.)

Krishna’s description of their experience left me with one thought. How do you know whether you have all the right hypotheses? Is there another step before the MVP?

A few links:


5 thoughts on “MVP – A Discussion at Chennai OCC

  1. IMHO, you could (inline)link to Ashwin, Krishna and Sid or perhaps to their startup’s home page. This will help people to explore more about them, if they find their comment insightful.

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