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MVP
Dictionary Entry

MVP

The term and philosophy behind Minimum Viable Product (MVP) was coined in the lean startup movement of the early 2000s and elaborated in the formation of agile development practices. A MVP describes the basic feature set that is required to deliver an increment of value to the customer by solving a given task sufficiently and according to the customer’s requirements.

As these requirements are never 100% defined in the beginning - neither for the customer nor the solution supplier - a MVP is iterated from shipment to shipment, but always following the philosophy of unlocking 1 increment of customer value per iteration. This process is - in theory - eternal, as the thought model behind it treats products as “never fully done”. Current paradigm understands a MVP not necessarily as a piece of software or digital or physical product. Early stages can be replaced with a service rendered by humans (e.g. MVP of a document scanner can be a service in which human employees digitize the document manually), as long as customer value is unlocked by the service.

MVP is not interchangeable with “prototype” or “proof of concept”. The latter concepts are to proof feasibility in a tangible way, not to continuously deliver value to customers. MVP is also not to be confused with sh%tty development or making customers suffer. It is limitation of scope, not quality.

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