What is an MVP?

MVP. This term gets tossed around a lot in the software and product world. If you are in the software space or have been involved in building products - you are probably familiar with this term.


MVP stands for Minimal Viable Product. Minimal Viable Product can be defined in several ways. Often times what people think an MVP is, they think of something that is far beyond what it should be. The way I define an MVP is the one feature that your product could not function without.

An MVP at its core is the one feature that if you took away - your product wouldn't exist. That is it. All the additional features are nice to haves at that moment. If you cannot get users to adopt or use the core feature of your product, you are going to have a hard time convincing them to use it when you add other features.


Lets run through some examples of what an MVP looks like. The examples below are projects I am currently working on now.


Thyme is a time tracking and job management software for the construction industry. At its core the key functionality of Thyme is submitting a timesheet. There are other features that come along with the product: managing employees, approving time sheets, viewing per job stats. However - if you took away submitting a timesheet, the product would not exist. This is the core of Thyme, where all data comes in. Without the action of submitting a timesheet the data would not be there, and there would be nothing to analyze, organize or plan.

For Thyme - submitting a timesheet is the MVP.

Citizen Request

Citizen Request is a work order management software that enables citizens and municipal workers to submit work order tickets. At its core the key functionality of Citizen Request is submitting a work order - be it from the public side, or internally. Additional features: triaging request, assigning work orders to teams, and viewing stats on length of tickets opened are all add ons. Without a work order submission to begin with, the product would not exist. Similar to Thyme, this submission actions is where all data comes in.

For Citizen Request - submitting a work order is the MVP.

Put into Practice

If you have an idea for a product - see if you can cut the features in half, then in half again. Most times you can run several iterations of stripping out features until you come down to a true MVP. Take this MVP, build an iteration, and get feedback from customers. You are guaranteed to get feedback that you can take action on.

If you ran the above challenge - what results did you come up with? Were you able to narrow down what you thought you needed? Let me know - I would be interested to hear what you come up with.

If you need help putting together an MVP for a problem you are having in your industry, I have a proven process - a Map Session - that we can run through to help you identify exactly what you need to build. Schedule a quick intro meeting to find out if this would be a good fit for you.